Tiramisu, Souffle, Ice cream, Chocolate
Yes, you can eat all these and more in the new diet regime that’s talking America by storm
“No thank you.” “No, I can’t eat that.” No. No. No. It’s all we seem to say; like some kind of twisted Diet Tourette’s, it’s our in-built, immediate response to anything remotely indulgent or sinful. But, according to new research, this martyred deprivation could be what sets us up for an inevitable bingeing fall. And weight gain. “If you look at cultures that maintain healthy weights, like the French or Italians, they have no guilt about eating desserts and full-fat cheeses”. “The difference is, they’re not eating bowlfuls at a time. They have a sense of enjoyment about their food, so a little nit is enough.” And who isn’t in awe of Nigella Lawson: the domestic Goddess indulges in the sights, smells and tastes of eating whatever she wants (even Twitpicing her meals to her 126,000 followers), yet she’s slimmed down apparently without deprivation. Now, you can have your cake and eat it with the Hedonist Diet — it’s what we’ve all been waiting for.
Eat a ‘fatty’ breakfast
Bacon and eggs for breakfast has come to represent a heart attack on a plate. But prepared correctly, that meal can be the smartest way to kick off your day. According to a study published in the International Journal Of Obesity, mice who eat a fat-rich meal when they first wake-up metabolise fat and carbohydrates more efficiently during the day than mice who eat a carb-rich breakfast and a high-fat meal at the end of the day. A three-egg-whites-and-one-yolk omelette is preferred by nutritionist for its lack of saturated fats. And with 42 calories and 3g of fat, “one strip of bacon at breakfast isn’t going to make anyone overweight”. Just avoid the toast, since crabs are converted to glucose, which gets used by the body first for fuel rather than the protein-rich eggs.
Power up with coffee
Opt for a skimmed latte with your breakfast omelet (see eat A ‘Fatty’ Breakfast, above) and before you exercise and it could help you to extend your workout time. “Caffeine enhances physical performance and endurance”. It not only mobilises fat to fuel you as you work up a sweat, but it also improves endurance, allowing you to work out longer. And there’s more good news: “Coffee is the number-one way people get antioxidant”. “It’s also not as dehydrating as previously thought, so it will count towards your daily fluid intake.”
Indulge, but keep it small
A slice of rich chocolate cake. Scottish lobster. Beef carpaccio. If that sounds tempting, so will this: upscale tastes may go with lower dress sizes. Choose conscious indulgences, such as tiramisu or soufflé. “Save your calories for a few bites of crème brulee at an amazing restaurant. Enjoy it, feel satisfied and move on to the next healthy meal”. You won’t be having Heston Blumenthal’s lemon tart every day, so your indulgence won’t become a habit-the way that a bar of Dairy Milk might.
Be a diary queen
Dairy consumption seems to go hand in hand with weight loss. A study in Obesity, the official journal of The Obesity Society, showed that obese adults who ate the same number of calories minus it. “Without enough calcium, your body releases hormone that causes fat storage. Leucine (milk protein) helps burn fat and protect lean muscle”, who complied part of the study. To keep fat levels to a minimum, replace cream with low-fat Greek yoghurt or creme fraiche in your cooking, and graze on crumbles of low-fat feta instead of cheddar or brie.
Eat what you actually like
Do you make your sandwiches with gluten-free spelt bread when what you really want is a crusty French baguette? Learn to relax: your dedication to healthy eating may make you feel like you need to ‘reward’ yourself with a treat or sugar binge. A recent study in the Journal Of Consumer Research found that people who ate a chocolate and raspberry protein bar described as “a new health bar” reported being hungrier afterwards than those who ate the same bar when it was described as “tasty and yummy.” The “health bar” eaters were also hungrier than a third group of subjects who didn’t eat the bar at all. It seems that when you are busy congratulating yourself on your virtuous eating, you may be neglecting your satisfaction-and end up elbow-deep in a bag of something that is ‘healthy’ but fattening-such as organic crisps, by bedtime. “Just because something says it’s organic, or low-fat, or anything else, doesn’t mean that you don’t have to account for it”. “Pick a food you like so that you will feel satisfied and won’t go looking for something more. If that happens to be peanuts, it’s obviously better to get a snack-size packet than a giant sharing pack, which contains much more than you need.”
Don’t count calories
Totting up your day’s calorie intake is pretty time-consuming, and it turns out this can actually decrease weight loss. Putting yourself under that pressure can release the stress hormone cortisol, which when elevated can affect weight. “Calorie counting is an old-fashioned concept that doesn’t take into account a food’s nutritional value,”. The secret: free your mind (of calories), and the number on the scale will follow. “Even if the calorie count is a little bit higher, eating nutritionally sound foods with ample protein, fat and fiber means you will feel satisfied for longer”
Savour every bite
How much pleasure can you really get from your lunch if you wolf it down while hunched over a keyboard? Hoovering up food without thinking can make you eat bigger portions, too. Ina recent study in The Journal Of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, scientists found subjects released more hormones that made them feel full when they ate the same portion of ice cream in 30 minutes instead of five. “The study has shown that even at McDonald’s the French eat less and more slowly than British or Americans”. “There’s something to be said for slowing down and being in the moment.”
The latest diet trick? Eight hundred-thread-count sheets. In a recent study published in the American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, subjects are more than 500 extra calories after getting four hours of sleep than they did with eight hours. “When you don’t sleep enough, your hunger hormones increase so you’re starving the next day”.
Drink (a little)
New research in the Achieves Of Internal Medicine found that women who had one or two alcoholic drinks a day were 30 per cent less likely to gain weight over a period of time than teetotalers. Epidemiologist Dr Lu Wang thinks that one explanation is the subjects’ self-control, because women who don’t drink tend to compensate with other ‘pleasurable’ (but more fattening) treats, such as a cakes and sweets. But as it say, ‘drink responsibly’: anything more than one or two glasses and inhibitions (and willpower) fly straight out the window.