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Video: The Truth About Exercise (and How 3 Minutes a Week Really Could Change Your Life)

Published on March 1, 2013,

We’ve published several stories about High Intensity Interval Training and are very interested in the potential on health and wellbeing that short periods of exercise seem to offer. One of the pioneers of the approach is Dr Jamie Timmons, professor of systems biology at Loughborough University in the UK, whose work was covered in a BBC Horizon documentary last year which raised popular awareness of HIIT. This video is a lecture given by Professor Timmons looking in more detail about the realities of exercise and public health as well as giving much more insight into HIIT and how it can benefit you…

Yet again, the advice we are all being given is at best ineffective and at worst completely inappropriate. Thankfully, there do appear to be better ways, as Professor Timmons explains.

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For those who can’t spare a whole hour, here’s a trailer for the BBC’s “The Truth About Exercise”…

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And here’s a clip from the programme of Professor Timmons taking presenter Michael Moseley through a session if HIIT…

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River Cottage Celebrity Chef: Why I’m on the Fast Diet

Published on January 23, 2013,

Celebrity Chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of River Cottage fame has written in the UK press that he has started following the 5:2 intermittent fasting diet pioneered by BBC tv presenter Dr Michael Mosely. So far Fearnley-Wittingstall has lost 8 lbs in about three weeks and he thinks the simplicity of 5:2 could make it a good candidate for helping with our obesity epidemic. We believe intermittent fasting has much to offer, especially when combined with a low carb approach. This is from the Guardian…

The Fast Diet -

The Fast Diet –

At the turn of the year, like so many, I consumed way too much meat, cheese, cream, sugar and alcohol. And despite a garden bursting with brussels sprouts, kale and winter salads, and a weekly delivery of organic apples, oranges, clementines and bananas, I know I didn’t eat nearly enough fruit and veg to offset the gluttony. And so I’ve been patting a tummy I didn’t have a few weeks ago, and wondering what to do about it.

But now I find myself beguiled, for the first time ever, really, by a new diet. The Fast Diet, by Michael Mosely and Mimi Spencer, makes a compelling promise that with regular fasting (they propose two days out of every seven) you will quickly lose weight, while on non-fast days you can continue to eat (and, importantly, drink) whatever you like.

This isn’t the first time I’ve tried to shed a few pounds. Previous, successful attempts have not been guided by books, or any form of calorie-counting, but by a self-imposed period of abstinence from the two things I know put pounds on me – alcohol and dairy products. They are also two things I am not planning to abstain from in the longer term – so it isn’t really a sustainable approach to keeping trim.

But The Fast Diet says I can continue to butter my bread, cheese my butter, and raise my glass – at least for five days a week. It also promises much more than mere weight loss. It will reduce my bad cholestrol, protect me against cancer and even sharpen my mind. It pretty much promises that I will live longer, and healthier. As my half century approaches, that’s quite a punchy proposition. So let’s take it seriously for a moment.

The reason we’re in such a mess with food is evolution, progress. We no longer fight for our meals. We don’t even need to burn a few calories acquiring the next one. The high-energy foods that were once such a prize that we’d risk life and limb for them are now constantly within reach. We can mainline sugar and fat effortlessly. So any diet that claims to offer a solution to our crisis needs to make evolutionary sense. If I was going to write a diet book (I’m not), I would call it The Bonobo Diet, and it would recommend that we all sit in extended family groups, for a couple of hours every day, eating a large pile of something good: apples one day, nuts the next, perhaps roast chicken the day after that. It wouldn’t catch on, would it? But I think it would be sound.

Many of the problems we give ourselves through the modern diet stem from the fundamentally flawed habit of piling a lot of different, unrelated ingredients on to a plate and scoffing them at high speed. Meat, wheat and cheese (the burger) – clearly foolhardy. Chocolate, sugar, butter, flour (the brownie) – delicious, but insane. These compound meals, too often glued together with synthesised products our bodies don’t even recognise as food, curdle and rot in our stomachs, giving us varying degrees of nausea, acid reflux, gaseousness and cramp, and pushing our stressed digestive systems to the absolute limit. No wonder we’re bloating like dead whales and dropping like flies.

Of course, I realise that all my books and television shows are largely complicit with this disastrous approach to eating. I like to think I am at the healthier, more natural end of the spectrum – in fact, my professional self-respect is predicated on that. But I think it would be unwise not to acknowledge that even the “River Cottage diet” – rich as it ought to be in fresh vegetables and fruit – is open to abuse. And I should know; I abuse it often enough. The fact is that even those of us who know exactly what a sensible, restrained and healthy diet looks like still struggle to keep to one much of the time. Hardly anyone on the planet eats for optimal health. The industrialisation of food is now universal, and even the supposedly healthier culinary cultures are losing their way. Did you know that Italy now has the biggest obesity problem in Europe, or that China farms more pork intensively than the rest of the world put together? The bad eating habits we’ve acquired are species-wide, and they’re not about to go away.

This is what’s fascinating about fasting. It seems to offer a possible way out of this tragic culinary cul de sac – for human health, at least, if not for global food production. Starve yourself once in a while, as our antecedents did for millions of years, by force of circumstance, and your body and digestive system go into recover and repair mode, giving rise to a whole host of physical benefits.

Could this diet, and the knowledge that underpins it, be harnessed to make a genuine impact on global health and the obesity epidemic? In principle, the answer would seem to be yes. (Though it wouldn’t be popular with the supermarkets, would it? Imagine if we all started shopping for a five-day eating week. That’d be more than 25% of Tesco’s turnover down the pan.)

But it’s just one option. We know there are others. So what’s easier, ultimately? Persuading, educating or forcing our citizens to cut down on fatty, sugary, processed foods and to eat loads more fresh fruit and veg? Or getting them to eat nothing at all for a couple of days a week? The authors of The Fast Diet are betting on the latter, of course. And my initial hunch would be with them…

More at:  Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall: Why I’m on the Fast Diet

‘The Fast Diet’ by Dr Michael Mosley on Intermittent Fasting

Published on January 14, 2013,

We’ve published a number of posts on this site about intermittent fasting (IF) and believe it is a very interesting approach to health and weight loss – especially, it seems, in conjunction with a low carb approach. The BBC brought IF to the mainstream last year with a Horizon documentary (sadly not available online) featuring presenter Dr Michael Mosley who lost weight and improved his health markers significantly following his version of IF (also known as the 5:2 diet) which comprises two days per week of fasting with no restrictions the rest of the week. Now Dr Mosley has published a book on the approach called The Fast Diet. Here’s the blurb from Amazon…

The Fast Diet -

The Fast Diet –

This radical new approach to weight loss is the diet that everyone is talking about. It really is as simple as it sounds: you eat normally five days a week, then for just two days you cut your calories (500 for women, 600 for men).

Scientific trials of Intermittent Fasting have shown that it will not only help the pounds fly off but also lower your risk of a range of diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Dr Michael Mosley, the medical journalist whose BBC Horizon programme alerted the world to the Intermittent Fasting phenomenon, presents the fascinating science behind the 5:2 diet. Mimi Spencer, award-winning food and fashion writer, explains the practicalities of how to go about it.

The Fast Diet also includes a calorie counter, full colour section, and a whole section of Fast 500 and Fast 600 menu plans which will enable you to incorporate this groundbreaking weight-loss system into your daily life.

Our opinion?

We think intermittent fasting has real value and particularly like the approach of Dr Mosley with 2 days fasting per week. It is much more manageable than, for example, alternate day fasting yet seems to deliver substantial results.

We were, however, disappointed with the obligatory ‘recipe plan’ part of the book contributed by co-author Mimi Spencer as it is all about glycemic index and glycemic load. Whilst these might be helpful concepts for some, it is not, in our opinion, what IF or Dr Mosley’s approach is all about.

What’s more, if you combine IF with a low carb diet rather than worrying about GI we believe the results are likely to be much more impressive.

Indeed, there is even interesting research suggesting intermittent low carb dieting can be highly beneficial for those who cannot manage to do it all the time (low carb just two days a week beats calorie restriction all week).

You can read more at: the book’s website and follow Dr Mosley on Twitter @DrMichaelMosley

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