Something is going very wrong and Dr Michael Mosley has a good idea what it is. Despite vast sums being spent on healthy eating initiatives around the world more of us are overweight than ever before and many countries are facing a huge upsurge of numbers being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, most often linked to lifestyle and diet. In the UK in recent weeks we have seen a Sugar Tax introduced but whether this will have any positive long-lasting health implications or is a just a way to extract money from consumers remains to be seen.
For too long medical advice on diet has been misleading, Mosley argues, which has led us to pile on the pounds and it is hard not to agree with him. I am not diabetic but have fallen into the category known as “pre-diabetes” meaning I am at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the future (me together with probably a significant chunk of the population). I might wish to put this down to a side-effect of Statin medication that I was prescribed from my thirties but realistically it is also probably due to be a few pounds overweight and not as active as I could be. At the time the food advice I was given was to fill up on starchy foods- pasta, rice, wholegrain bread, which should be the basis of each meal and to switch to low-fat products wherever possible. The advice didn’t seem right at the time – I knew from my O Level Biology days that carbohydrates turn to sugar and it only takes a quick look at many low-fat food labels to find out that they are also often laden with sugar.
So, I did things my own way and followed the Harcombe Diet which emphasised a diet rich in fats with cheese, eggs and unprocessed meat all on the cards. I lost weight and felt good but wondered if I had done damage by pushing up cholesterol by eating protein and fat in favour of carbs. Test results gave me the lowest scores ever but still the medical advice I was given was to lose weight following a low-fat diet and by doing it gradually.
Mosley’s view is that an 8 week diet keeping to around 800 calories a day, limiting carbs and avoiding all refined sugars should in most cases actually reverse diabetes, which to this point has been seen as a life-long condition often barely managed by costly medication. This is radical and he has evidence to back it up (in fact more evidence than that which provided the recommendations for low-fat eating in the first place). His statistics on the potential health crisis world-wide if we continue to put on weight is chilling.
His science make sense to me all the way through. 800 calories does sound drastic and I don’t need the kind of weight loss (an average 14kg in 8 weeks) this promises but I do need to do something so I’m going to follow his principles of the Mediterranean diet if not the exact recipes, as these are not as appealing as I wanted them to be when reading the book nor as joyous as those in the Harcome Diet For Men book which I know works along similar principles. I’m also determined to get more active over the coming months (it’s been this endless winter to blame for a few of the pounds I’ve put on) to see how it goes. Today I did download a pedometer app onto my phone and walked a good couple of miles to discover it had only been registered as 500 steps, which was bloody useless and demotivating- I’ve already uninstalled it! But thank you, Dr Mosley for that little kick-start into summer that I think I need. In time, I might decide to embark on his programme to the letter but here is once again more evidence to say that low fat diets are ultimately doomed to fail.
The 8 Week Blood Sugar Diet was published by Short Books in 2015. A recipe book is also available which I will no doubt invest in if I decide to take this further.