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Archive for » August 12th, 2017«

Weight loss: Simple diet tip claims you should cut THIS food you eat daily from your plan

A weight loss study, published on July 17, from the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that one ingredient many Britons eat every day could be making them fat.

The report found artificial sweeteners may be associated with long-term weight gain and increased risk of obesity.

And not only will they scupper your weight loss aspirations, they can also increase your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, according to the new study.

Cutting foods high in these artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, neotame, saccharin and sucralose is one simply way to keep off the pounds.

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New Dementia Trials to Test Lifestyle Interventions

Hoping to stem the growing worldwide burden of dementia, scientists at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2017 held in London July 16–20 described new studies to test whether multidomain lifestyle interventions can slow cognitive decline. Laura Baker of Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, outlined Protect through a Lifestyle Intervention to Reduce Risk (U.S. POINTER), a two-year study that will test the combined effects of physical and mental exercises, a healthful diet, and careful management of heart health. The trial is part of a larger, international effort, aka Worldwide FINGERS, that comprises studies in the U.K., Singapore, and China. Those are in the early planning stages. A similar trial will enroll soon in Australia, as well.

Two years ago the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability, or FINGER study, reported that a multimodal lifestyle intervention improved cognitive scores in older adults at risk for Alzheimer’s disease (see July 2014 news; Nov 2015 news). While encouraging, the findings were limited to one study of a single population. Researchers have since called for replication, most recently in a report from the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) (Jun 2017 news), which noted that “multiple, independent studies testing the same combination of component elements will be necessary before strong conclusions can be drawn regarding the effectiveness of any specific multimodal intervention.” Ron Petersen of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who is a member of the NAS committee, told Alzforum that U.S. POINTER fulfills that recommendation and should provide confirmation, or not, of the FINGER results.

Baker will co-lead U.S. POINTER with FINGER lead investigator Miia Kivipelto of the National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, and Rachel Whitmer of the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research in Oakland. Like the other Worldwide FINGERS trials, POINTER will be tailored to fit the populations’ cultures and will build on lessons learned from FINGER and other recent lifestyle intervention studies, such as the French Multidomain Alzheimer’s Prevention Trial (MAPT) and the Dutch Prevention of Dementia by Intensive Vascular Care (PreDIVA). Diets will be adjusted to local tastes and cognitive and physical interventions adapted to suit common practices.

Funded by $20 million from the Alzheimer’s Association, POINTER will recruit 2,500 participants aged 60–79 years from five–seven healthcare networks across the United States, including Wake Forest’s large Accountable Care Organization for treatment of Medicare patients, which has more than 80 locations across North Carolina, and the Kaiser Permanente managed care consortium, which has more than 10 million members. Enrollment will start in 2018. In line with a trend in the dementia field to intervene early in disease progression, U.S. POINTER will recruit healthy people at risk for dementia, or people in early stages of mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Researchers suspect that a key to FINGER’s success was focusing on clinically asymptomatic people who performed at, or slightly below, average on neuropsychological tests.

Baker said U.S. POINTER is creating an algorithm to screen medical records for recruits. It will flag those with hypertension or elevated blood sugar, people who have siblings or a parent with memory impairment, and those who engage in less than 20 minutes of aerobic activity per week. It will exclude people with dementia and late-stage MCI or who perform above average on cognitive tests. By reaching out to these candidates, the researchers hope to avoid recruiting people who actively seek out studies, since they tend to be highly motivated and not representative of the population as a whole.

Baker hopes to include people with diverse backgrounds and ethnicities. A poster presented by Anna Rosenberg, a student of Kivipelto at the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio, reported that FINGER participants benefited regardless of sex, age, education, household income, baseline cognition (MMSE score), cardiovascular risk factors, and cardiovascular comorbidity, but Finland is a more homogeneous society than the United States, for example.

U.S. POINTER’s interventions will be similar but not identical to FINGER’s. Instead of following the Nordic diet used in Finland, recruits will follow the MIND diet, a hybrid of the Mediterranean and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diets, both of which reduce risk for hypertension, diabetes, heart attack, and stroke by limiting red meat, butter and margarine, cheese, pastries, and sweets, and fried or fast foods, and by incorporating vegetables, especially leafy greens, along with nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil, and wine. Scientists led by Martha Clare Morris at Rush University, Chicago, are already testing if the MIND diet can slow cognitive decline and neurodegeneration in a three-year, randomized controlled Phase 3 trial. As in FINGER, participants in U.S. POINTER will receive regular medical checks as well as advice and interventions to manage hypertension, metabolic problems, and weight. The control group will attend group meetings on health and aging topics, and receive annual feedback on laboratory tests.

U.S. POINTER’s cognitive training and physical exercise program, which will include mostly aerobic workouts four times a week, will be very similar to FINGER’s but will include more group sessions. Nicola Coley from Sandrine Andrieu’s lab at the University of Toulouse in France found that participants in FINGER struggled to adhere to unsupervised tasks. Less than a quarter carried out at least 66 percent of their at-home cognitive training, for example. Baker expects follow-through to be better in a group setting. Also, social isolation is common among elderly people, she noted, so these group activities are likely to improve participants’ mental health. Overall, U.S. POINTER will include more contact and communication with patients than FINGER. In fact, each participant will be assigned a “navigator” to help coordinate with exercise specialists, nutritionists, and health educators.

Baker emphasized the importance of meeting the psychological needs of the participants. U.S. POINTER will employ cognitive behavioral psychologists, who will try to facilitate participants’ transition to a healthier lifestyle by helping them realize the benefits for themselves and their families. POINTER will ramp up exercise programs slowly to give participants time to adjust, and is creating phone health apps to provide feedback on performance.

To make interventions accessible, standardized, and sustainable after the trial, U.S. POINTER will partner with national community-based organizations, including YMCAs and Alzheimer’s Association local offices. YMCAs have a nationwide network of gyms, and some of these are being used in the EXERT study run by the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study. This Phase 3 randomized, controlled trial tests whether aerobic exercise can slow cognitive decline in adults aged 65–89 who have memory complaints or mild MCI and who do not exercise regularly. Baker co-leads the study.

As in FINGER, POINTER’s primary outcome measure will be a composite score from the standard Neuropsychological Test Battery (NTB). The researchers also intend to track secondary outcomes, but it is unclear if it will track AD biomarkers, which could shed light on how these interventions work. FINGER tracked no biomarkers and no lifestyle intervention study has been shown to have a clear effect on AD-specific markers. As such, these studies cannot distinguish interventions that work for AD and non-AD causes of dementia.

The architecture of U.S. POINTER’s large database facilitates data sharing, said Baker, and complies with Kivipelto’s ongoing efforts to develop a platform for joint analysis of multidomain data from thousands of patients.

In Asia, Christopher Chen of the National University of Singapore and Edward Koo from the University of California, San Diego, co-lead the Singapore Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (SINGER). Chen, who presented SINGER at AAIC, noted that they will first develop pilot studies to test FINGER interventions modified to suit Singaporeans. For example, they may adapt computer-based cognitive tasks back to paper and pen because many older Singaporeans resist using electronics, and they are designing a diet matched to Asian tastes.

In Australia, Henry Brodaty of the University of New South Wales in Sydney will coordinate the Maintain Your Brain (MYB) study, a four-year randomized controlled trial that will give lifestyle advice via the internet to people at risk of dementia. Although not part of the Worldwide FINGERs consortium, this trial is modeled on the FINGER study, and Kivipelto is associate investigator. Brodaty hopes this trial will be cheaper and more easily deployed on a large scale than FINGER. MYB has started recruiting 16,000 participants aged 55–75 from the 45 and Up Study, an ongoing survey of roughly a quarter-million Australians who were 45 or older when recruited between 2006 and 2009 from lists held by Australian Medicare, a publicly funded health care system.

Participants must have a home computer with internet access, and at least two of these dementia risk factors: type 2 diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, depression, obesity, or low levels of physical or cognitive activity. In the first year, they will receive, two to four times a week, interactive programs tailored to their risk factors, including physical and mental exercise programs, diet plans, and guidelines for managing depression, stress, and sleep problems. They will get advice on managing high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, alcohol consumption, and smoking. After the first year, monthly booster programs will be sent out. The control group will receive less interactive, non-individualized information about exercise, diet, and depression, as well as National Geographic videos and questionnaires on health.

Researchers at AAIC were excited about the new trials, but cautioned that questions remain about multidomain interventions, most notably whether their effects will last, and how to determine which of the multiple interventions is responsible for any positive outcome. Kivipelto hopes a seven-year extended follow-up of FINGER will answer the first question. The follow-up will also test whether booster interventions on cognition, dementia/AD incidence, and secondary outcomes help, she said. As for parsing cause and effect, Baker acknowledged this limitation, but defended the appeal of fast-tracking a package of preventive strategies that has the potential of being more effective than single interventions on their own.—Marina Chicurel

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  1. The results from FINGER show that its multidomain intervention, including cognitive training, leads to a small improvement of cognitive functioning in both the intervention and control condition over a 24-month period. The intervention group improved more than the control group. I think this can be seen as a proof of concept that cognitive functioning can be influenced by this type of intervention. Since both intervention and control group improved, I think it is premature to conclude that cognitive decline can be slowed down or that dementia may be prevented. From that perspective, I think it is a good idea to externally validate the FINGER findings and to do so in diverse populations. I think a major asset of the new U.S. FINGER trial would be if the follow-up period would be longer than 24 months, considering the results from FINGER. Longer intervention and follow-up could further deepen our understanding of the effects that were shown in FINGER and may give more information on whether the effect found in FINGER is sustainable, as well as whether in the longer term it indeed leads to slowing of cognitive decline.

    FINGER is the only one of three European multidomain interventions (preDIVA and MAPT are the other two) showing an effect on cognition. In that light, interpretation of the FINGER results should be with caution, and this is an additional reason to pursue external validation as is currently planned with similar studies in different countries. As said, a major strength of any of these new studies would be to extend the study duration.

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News Citations

  1. Healthy Lives, Healthy Minds: Is it Really True? 31 Jul 2014
  2. Health Interventions Boost Cognition—But Do They Delay Dementia? 27 Nov 2015
  3. Preventing Dementia: Getting Closer to Recommendations 23 Jun 2017

External Citations

  1. FINGER study
  2. MAPT
  3. PreDIVA
  4. Phase 3 trial
  5. EXERT study

No Available Further Reading

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How to lose weight in two easy and inexpensive ways – The Courier

Looking to lose weight? Kirby Adams has some quick and easy weight loss tips to share.
Video by Kirby Adams Jeff Faughender

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‘Healthy Living for Summer': Having a balanced diet – ABC News

Dieting can be a frustrating experience, at times leading to feelings of guilt or tempting cravings. In the seventh episode of ABC News’ “Healthy Living for Summer” series, we spoke with Shawn Stevenson, a nutritionist, author and host of the podcast “The Model Health Show,” who shared advice on how to have a balanced diet without necessarily having to diet.

Galia Sotomayor/ABC News
Dieting tips and advice from nutritionist Shawn Stevenson.

“The real cause of overeating, when it boils down to it, is that nutrient-deficiency leads to chronic overeating,” Stevenson said. “We need to be proactive with our nutrition, instead of reactive.”

Having a balanced lifestyle is preferable to sticking to a specific type of diet, Stevenson advises.

Below is more advice Stevenson gave ABC News. Watch the video above for more details.

Quick tips

  • Eat whole foods, or foods that are not as processed or refined
  • Have leafy green vegetables often
  • At the end of your day, make sure what you’re eating is not nutrient-deficient
  • Incorporate short and intense exercises into your routine to fight stress and cravings
  • Get plenty of sleep — try exercising in the morning and avoid too much technology (or blue light exposure) at night
  • Think positively and avoid looking at food in terms of limits — call it a “treat” meal, not a “cheat” meal
  • Galia Sotomayor/ABC News
    Dieting tips and advice from nutritionist Shawn Stevenson.

    Watch ABC News discuss balanced eating in the video above.
    This weekly health series will continue throughout the summer.

    Eat to beat diabetes: Delicious dinners that are just 500 calories …

    Research has shown that eating 800 calories a day for eight weeks is the best way to lose weight quickly, correct your blood sugar levels and dramatically reduce your risk of diabetes (File photo)

    Research has shown that eating 800 calories a day for eight weeks is the best way to lose weight quickly, correct your blood sugar levels and dramatically reduce your risk of diabetes (File photo)

    Gnawing hunger. Deprivation. For so many people, these are the images that dieting immediately conjures to mind — until now.

    The incredible success of my revolutionary 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet is changing the face of weight loss.

    Research has shown that eating 800 calories a day for eight weeks is the best way to lose weight quickly, correct your blood sugar levels and dramatically reduce your risk of diabetes.

    And my diet plan is backed by studies which show that if it is done properly, a rapid weight-loss diet can be a safe and effective way to cut dangerous belly fat and achieve your weight-loss goals.

    And it’s really not difficult. Where’s the hardship when you can tuck into 800 calories of deliciously comforting cauliflower cheese, quiche or coq au vin?

    As your blood sugar levels improve you simply won’t feel hungry any more.

    All this week, the Mail is featuring scrumptious low-calorie recipes from the 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet Recipe Book, created by my wife, GP Dr Clare Bailey, who has been using this approach very successfully with her patients.

    Working with nutritionist, Dr Sarah Schenker, she has created meals which contain healthy fats and nutrients and are specially designed to banish cravings and keep you feeling fuller for longer.

    The real secret of the 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet is the effect it has on a hormone called insulin.

    Insulin is produced by your pancreas and one of its jobs is to keep your blood sugars under control. When you eat a sugary or starchy meal your blood sugar levels start to rise, rapidly.

    Because high blood sugar levels are bad for your body, your pancreas starts to pump out insulin, to bring your blood sugar levels down. At the same time insulin will also encourage your body to store excess calories as fat. If you keep on eating a lot of sugary, starchy foods then your pancreas will struggle to keep up, desperately pumping out ever more insulin.

    Type 2 diabetes is one of the greatest epidemics of modern times thanks largely to sedentary lifestyles and high-sugar diets adopted but many do not know they are at risk (File photo)

    This will not only make you fatter and hungrier, but will also raise the risk that your body will either become resistant to the effects of insulin or your pancreas will stop producing it.

    Either way, you will have joined the nearly four million people in the UK who have type 2 diabetes.

    The way to break this vicious cycle is to bring your insulin levels down. And that’s where the 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet comes in.

    If you can cut right back on sugars and starches — bread, white rice, pasta and potatoes as well as cakes, biscuits and fizzy drinks — you will be heading in the right direction. The recipes featured all this week show you just how deliciously easy it is to do so.

    AVOID FASTING DIETS

    Avoid a low-calorie/fasting diet if you are: under 18, underweight or have a history of an eating disorder; you are pregnant or breastfeeding; have a significant psychiatric disorder; are frail or you are recovering from surgery. 

    Check with your GP first if you have other medical conditions or you are taking medications such as warfarin, insulin or drugs for diabetes or blood pressure. 

    One way to boost this blood sugar reduction even further, is to go for slightly longer periods without eating food.

    Technically, this is ‘fasting’, of course, but you can achieve the blood sugar lowering benefits without any kind of suffering, simply by skipping the occasional meal, or subtly extending the period between dinner and breakfast (by cutting out any late-night snacks).

    Overnight, or if you skip breakfast, your body gets a break from digesting food and is able to get on with the essential tasks of internal spring cleaning and self-repair.

    The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet plan suggests days when you might skip breakfast and have a more substantial brunch instead, or after a big lunch one day, perhaps skip dinner or just have a bowl of miso soup instead.

    Doing this means you can be fasting for around 16 hours almost without noticing.

    It shouldn’t be tough — research shows people who eat two meals a day feel less hungry and more satisfied than people eating exactly the same number of calories but spread throughout the day.

    Each recipe featured in this week’s Daily Mail has been specifically crafted to control calories, maximise nutritional content and eliminate insulin-triggering sugars and refined carbohydrates.

    Stick this out for eight weeks and the impact on your weight — and your blood sugar levels — will be dramatic.

    TIPS TO KEEP YOU ON TRACK 

    Plan your meals in advance and aim for variety to maintain your interest and a nutritional balance. Assemble breakfast the night before, have a lunch ready to grab on the hop, and ensure you have all you need for your evening meal so it can be ready in minutes.

    Aim to drink 2-3 litres of fluid a day to reduce your risk of tiredness, light-headedness and headaches (which can be triggered by dehydration), hunger (this comes in waves and passes so try to ‘surf the wave’) and feeling colder.

    Drink more soup: it is great at keeping you feeling full and can be made very cheaply.

    Switch potatoes, pasta, rice and noodles for lower-carb nutrient-packed alternatives such as cauliflower rice (grated then steamed or sauted), spiralised vegetables or shredded cabbage.

    Avoid sugar and syrups even if they claim to be ‘natural’ and use whole fruit instead (its sugar impact is reduced when it is eaten with fats and fibre, which slow absorption).

    Drink hot drinks (teas, coffee, Bovril, miso soup) to suppress your appetite.

    Minimise alcohol, fruit juice, smoothies and cordials while on the diet — drinks can be packed with hidden calories.

    Ditch ‘diet’ products that are usually packed with sugar and/or sweeteners which can trigger sweet cravings.

    Build in strong flavours such as lemon, pepper, lime, chilli, garlic, gherkins, mustard and herbs to make the meals more satisfying.

    Follow the meal planner in yesterday’s paper, stick rigidly to the recipes, or use an online nutritional counter (such as My Fitness Pal) to keep track of calories/nutrients.

    Take a multivitamin every other day while fasting.

    Be sociable and share meals with others but serve yourself smaller portions and skip the carbohydrates.

    Indian-spiced prawns 

    Serves 2

    • 250g large prawns
    • ¼ tsp chilli powder (to taste)
    • ¼ tsp turmeric
    • 1 tsp tamarind paste (or ½ tbsp mirin or juice of half a lime)
    • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 1 large onion, finely chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
    • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in two
    • ½ 400g tin chopped tomatoes
    • 100g spinach (frozen or fresh)

    • CALORIES 190 • PROTEIN 24g • FAT 7g• FIBRE 2g • CARBS 10g

    Marinate the prawns in the chilli powder, turmeric and tamarind paste for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a non-stick saucepan and sauté the onions until softened then add the garlic and cinnamon stick. After 2-3 minutes, add the tomatoes and the marinade (not the prawns). 

    Check the seasoning and cook the sauce on a moderate heat until it thickens. Then turn the heat to low and stir in the prawns and spinach. Cook prawns until they change colour if using fresh or for 5 minutes if they are already cooked, stirring occasionally. Serve with cauliflower rice or stir-fried shredded cabbage.

    Coq au Vin

    A classic French dish made with braised chicken and a rich red wine and mushroom sauce. Serve with cauliflower mash to mop up the gravy.

    Serves 4

    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 4 chicken legs
    • 10 shallots
    • 50g pancetta, or smoked bacon lardons
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • 200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
    • 2 tsp dried thyme
    • 2-3 bay leaves
    • 1 tbsp cornflour
    • 400ml red wine
    • 300ml chicken stock
    • Bouquet garni
    • 1 carrot, cut into batons
    • Handful of parsley, chopped

    • CALORIES 500 • PROTEIN 40g • FAT 28g• FIBRE 2g • CARBS 10g

    Preheat the oven to 180c. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof pan and fry the chicken until golden all over. Add the shallots, pancetta, garlic, mushrooms and herbs and cook gently for 5 minutes, then scatter over the cornflour. Add the wine and stock, bouquet garni and carrot. Stir well. 

    Transfer to the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Scatter over the chopped parsley and serve with cauliflower mash (steam a whole chopped cauliflower for 8 minutes with a finely sliced leek, then drain and mash with 2 tbsp creme fraiche or 1 tbsp olive oil).

    Cauliflower cheese

    Serves 4

    • 2 medium cauliflowers, broken into florets
    • 200g ricotta cheese
    • 200ml creme fraiche
    • ½ tbsp Worcestershire sauce
    • 100g mature Cheddar, grated
    • 50g diced bacon or lardons, fried (optional)
    • 2-3 large jalapeno peppers from a jar, diced (optional)
    • 50g Parmesan, grated

    • CALORIES 450 • PROTEIN 20g • FAT 39g • FIBRE 2g • CARBS 5g

    Preheat the oven to 160c. Place the cauliflower florets in a baking dish in the oven (mix in broccoli florets, too, if you like). In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the ricotta, creme fraiche, Worcestershire sauce and Cheddar. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove the cauliflower from the oven after about five minutes, stir in the bacon and jalapeno peppers, if using, then pour over the cheese sauce. Scatter with Parmesan and return to the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbling and brown on top. Serve with fresh greens.

    Chicken wrapped in Parma ham

    The chicken absorbs the flavours from the Parma ham, which forms a delicious crust.

    Serves 2

    • 1 heaped tbsp full-fat cream cheese
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed or finely chopped
    • 2 small skinless chicken breasts
    • 6 slices of Parma ham (or prosciutto or serrano)
    • 1 tbsp olive oil

    • CALORIES 320 • PROTEIN 39g • FAT 18g • FIBRE 0g • CARBS 0g

    Preheat the oven to 180c. Mix together the cream cheese and garlic and season with black pepper and a pinch of salt. Spread the mixture over the surface of the chicken breasts and wrap 2-3 slices of ham around each. Drizzle with olive oil, place it in an oven dish and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the juices run clear (not pink) when pierced with a sharp knife.

    Serve with a salad or green vegetables.

    Salmon with lemon and dill

    Serves 4

    • 3 peppers (red and yellow) chopped into large pieces
    • 2 courgettes, roughly sliced
    • 2 red onions, chopped into wedges
    • Drizzle of olive oil
    • 1 small egg
    • Zest of 1 lemon
    • Handful of dill, finely chopped
    • 1 tbsp walnuts, crushed
    • 2 tbsp ground almonds
    • 4 salmon fillets

    • CALORIES 370 • PROTEIN 28G • FAT 23G • FIBRE 4G • CARBS 14G

    Preheat the oven to 180°c. Put the peppers, courgettes and onions in a baking dish or tray, season and drizzle the olive oil. Start baking them in the oven while you prepare the fish. Beat the egg in a bowl and mix in the lemon zest, dill, walnuts and almonds, then season with a pinch of salt and black pepper.

    Remove the vegetables from the oven after 10 minutes and place the salmon on top, leaving a gap between each fillet. Spoon the nut crumb mixture evenly over each fillet and return them to the oven for another 15- 20 minutes.

    Serve with the roasted vegetables.

    Chilli squid with lentils

    Serves 4

    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 small onion, diced
    • 250g pack ready-cooked Puy lentils
    • Juice of half a lemon
    • 4 medium-sized squid, cleaned
    • 4 generous tsp sweet chilli sauce or 3 large red chillies, diced and mixed with 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil and seasoned

    • CALORIES 160 • PROTEIN 18g • FAT 5g• FIBRE 3g • CARBS 13g

    Sweat the onion in olive oil until it starts to brown. Stir in the lentils and simmer for a few minutes to heat them through. Season with salt, black pepper and lemon juice.

    Cut each squid tube open, lay it flat and score the inner surface with a sharp knife in cross-hatch lines about 1cm apart.

    Season and cook on a very hot griddle with the cross-hatched side down for 1-2 minutes, then turn them over — they will curl up almost immediately, indicating that they are cooked.

    Serve the squid on top of a pile of lentils, each with a generous tsp of chilli sauce. This dish goes well with a rocket salad, drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice.

    Aubergine lasagna

    An excellent low-cal, low-carb Mediterranean-style vegetarian meal for anyone missing pasta (add Quorn or minced meat to the veg if desired).

    Serves 4

    • 50g spinach, chopped
    • 50g Parmesan, grated
    • 100g cottage cheese
    • ½ red pepper, deseeded and chopped
    • 200g mushrooms, chopped
    • 1 fat garlic clove, crushed
    • 2 tsp dried oregano
    • 1 tsp dried basil
    • 300ml passata
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 200g aubergine, sliced in ½cm strips
    • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 50g Cheddar, grated

    • CALORIES 200 • PROTEIN 14g • FAT 13g • FIBRE 3g • CARBS 7g

    Preheat the oven to 200c. Mix the spinach with the Parmesan and cottage cheese, and season to taste. Place the chopped red pepper and mushrooms in a separate bowl along with the garlic, herbs, passata and olive oil. Season well.

    Spread half of the tomato and veg mixture over the bottom of an ovenproof dish, followed by alternating layers of sliced aubergines and the cheese and spinach mix. The last layer should be aubergines. Spread the rest of the tomato mix over the top and dot with the cherry tomatoes. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until the aubergine is soft.

    Remove the foil and sprinkle grated cheese over the top then return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes. Serve with a crunchy green salad.

    Breakfasts  

    For so many inveterate dieters, breakfast is a high-sugar problem meal often grabbed on the hop.

    But instant cereals or toast and jam just can’t keep you feeling full until lunchtime, instead they’ll send your blood sugars soaring, only to crash a few hours later leaving you hungry and tormented by cravings.

    Alternatively, you can still diet and lose weight dramatically quickly when you start your day with a good healthy breakfast.

    Just ditch the morning cereal and toast and experiment with different energy-boosting combinations of protein and plants such as eggs, avocados, fish, tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach. Delicious!

    The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet is based on the principles of the Mediterranean diet, and that includes some full-fat dairy products.

    So we recommend dumping those thin, insipid low-fat diet yoghurts and indulge in deliciously thick and creamy Greek-style yoghurt instead.

    It might go against all your long-held dietary principles, but full-fat Greek yoghurt has been strained to retain a higher protein content, which along with a high fat content means a small amount (a few tablespoons) will keep you feeling full until lunchtime without significantly raising your blood sugar.

    There is now clear evidence that a diet containing dairy products does not cause diabetes or have a significant impact on cholesterol.

    Live unsweetened yoghurt will also help boost the healthy bacteria in your gut.

    Although it can be expensive, look out for full-fat coconut yoghurt as a delicious non-dairy alternative, too (unsweetened, naturally!).

    Eggs — however you cook them — make a nutrient-dense, vitamin-rich high-protein breakfast or lunch.

    They also keep you full for longer without pushing up your blood sugars or cholesterol.

    And even though you are cuttingback on starchy carbs, porridge doesn’t have to be off the menu.

    Just drop the instant oats (which can send blood sugar levels soaring) and look out for coarse oatmeal made of relatively unrefined steel-cut or Irish oats.

    These might be more chewy, and you might need to soak them overnight or cook your porridge for a little longer, but they retain the nutritious inner kernel, and because unrefined carbs are broken down and absorbed more slowly by your body, they will keep you fuller for longer.

    Oats contain lots of fibre, of both the soluble and insoluble kind, and this fibre contributes to keeping blood sugars down and supporting healthy gut bacteria.

    Mushroom omelette

    Serves 1

    • 80g mushrooms, sliced
    • 2 eggs
    • Small knob of butter (or a dash of oil)

    • CALORIES 210 • PROTEIN 14g • FAT 17g • FIBRE 1g • CARBS 0g

    Sauté the mushrooms in a drizzle of oil for 4-5 mins. Gently whisk the eggs and season. Heat the butter in a small nonstick frying pan then pour in the eggs. After a few seconds lower the heat, add the mushrooms and cook the omelette until the underside is golden brown. Fold it in two and serve it while it is still a bit runny on the surface (it will go on cooking on the plate).

    Avocados with pre-baked tomatoes  

    Serves 2

    • 200g tomatoes (about 3)
    • ½ tsp dried tarragon, oregano or rosemary
    • 2 ripe avocados
    • ½ tsp paprika
    • Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)

    • CALORIES 300 • PROTEIN 4g • FAT 29g • FIBRE 7g • CARBS 8g

    Cut tomatoes in half, scatter with herbs and bake for 30 minutes at 180c. Meanwhile, cut avocados in half, scoop out flesh and divide between two plates. Mash roughly, top with baked tomatoes and sprinkle with paprika, chilli and black pepper.

    Big mushrooms with feta

    Serves 1

    • 60g spinach, roughly chopped
    • 30g feta, crumbled
    • Pinch of ground nutmeg
    • 2-3 large flat mushrooms
    • 1 tbsp olive oil

    • CALORIES 130 • PROTEIN 7g • FAT 10g• FIBRE 2g • CARBS 2g

    Wilt the spinach in a pan, drain it and squeeze out excess water. Place in a bowl and stir in the feta with pepper and the nutmeg. Remove the stalks from the mushrooms. 

    Brush the caps with olive oil then place them on a baking tray flat side down and fill them with spinach mixture. Bake in an 180c oven for 15 minutes.

    Greek yoghurt with nuts, seeds and berries 

    Toasting nuts and seeds transforms their taste as the heat sets off a chemical reaction, enhancing the flavour.

    Serves 1

    • 2 large tbsp Greek yoghurt
    • 1 tbsp (15g) toasted seeds or nuts
    • Small handful of berries

    • CALORIES 200 • PROTEIN 9G • FAT 18G • FIBRE 2G • CARBS 5G

    Nicely uncomplicated. Just assemble it in a bowl and tuck in.

    Kipper and tomatoes

    Packet kippers take 2-3 minutes in a microwave to warm through. For extra oomph, sprinkle with chilli flakes and black pepper.

    Serves 1

    • 1 smoked kipper (or mackerel fillet)
    • Knob of butter
    • 100g tomatoes

    • CALORIES 230 • PROTEIN 10g • FAT 20g • FIBRE 1g • CARBS 3g

    Grill or microwave the smoked fish with a knob of butter, according to instructions. Serve on a bed of tomatoes, either cold or cooked.

    Apple cinnamon porridge

    Cinnamon has a natural sweetness, reduces the speed at which the stomach empties and has been shown to lower blood sugar.

    Serves 1

    • 25g rolled oats
    • 175ml semi-skimmed milk
    • 1 apple, grated
    • ½ tsp ground cinnamon

    • CALORIES 260 • PROTEIN 9g • FAT 9g • FIBRE 4g • CARBS 38g

    Put oats and milk in a saucepan, with grated apple and cinnamon. Add pinch of salt to enhance flavours. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently so it doesn’t stick to the pan.

    • Adapted by Louise Atkinson from The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet Recipe Book by Dr Clare Bailey with Dr Sarah Schenker, published by Short Books at £14.99. © Sarah Schenker and Clare Bailey 2016. To order a copy for £11.24 (offer valid to October 13), call 0844 571 0640 or visit mailbookshop.co.uk. PP free on orders over £15. 

    Juicing saved my life: Sick and obese Joe Cross lost six stone on the juice diet… here he reveals how it can …

    • Joe Cross once weighed 22st and was in ill-health
    • He ‘rebooted’ his life by following juice diet for 60 days
    • He now weighs 16st and has never felt better

    Lucy Waterlow for MailOnline

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    In Joe Cross’s own words, six years a go he ‘looked like I’d swallowed a sheep.’

    The Australian was ‘fat, sick and nearly dead’ – he weighed 22 stone and was suffering from a debilitating autoimmune disease that meant he was constantly dosed up on drugs.

    His daily diet consisted of pizza, pies and doughnuts – leaving him low on energy and on a fast track to an early grave.

    Scroll down for video

    Juice convert: Joe Cross overhauled his diet and only drank juice for 60 days to get healthy

    But when Joe entered his forties he decided it was time to turn his life around. He set himself the challenge of only consuming juice for 60 days to see if the healing power of fruit and veg could make him a new man.

    He told the MailOnline: ‘I was sick and on medication that wasn’t fixing me. I just wanted to get well and be healthy. I decided to see if I could change my life by completely by changing my diet and plying my system with nutrients.

    Then and now: Joe used to weigh 22st, left, and was in poor health before he 'rebooted' his diet and lost six stone

    Then and now: Joe used to weigh 22st, left, and was in poor health before he 'rebooted' his diet and lost six stone

    Then and now: Joe used to weigh 22st, left, and was in poor health before he ‘rebooted’ and lost six stone

    ‘For 60 days I would only drink
    juice. Then for the next two years after that, I’d only eat foods
    derived from plants (seeds, beans, fruits, veg and nuts) and no
    animal-based or processed food.’

    The plan worked and Joe lost six
    stone. Six years on, aged 47, he is now medication-free and has never felt
    better. His daily diet continues to include a litre of juice a day along
    with plant-based foods during the day and an evening meal that will
    include animal and processed foods.

    He filmed his journey to create the award-winning documentary, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, that will air on Channel 5 on 10th July.

    The film has been a worldwide hit and has inspired many to follow Joe’s lead with juicing now becoming a way of life for many. 

    Celebrities including Rosie Huntington Whitely and Jessica Alba have accredited their physiques to a juice diet and John Lewis has seen a 130 per cent rise in sales of juicers in the past year.

    Celeb followers: Actresses Jessica Alba, left, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley are fans of the juice diet

    Celeb followers: Actresses Jessica Alba, left, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley are fans of the juice diet

    Celeb followers: Actresses Jessica Alba, left, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley are fans of the juice diet

    Recipe: How to make Joe’s Mean Green juice

    joe cross

    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Total Time: 10 minutes
    Serving Size: 16oz. (500 mls)

    Ingredients

    • 1 cucumber
    • 4 celery stalks
    • 2 apples
    • 6-8 leaves kale (Australian tuscan cabbage)
    • 1/2 lemon
    • 1 tbsp ginger

    Directions

    1. Wash all produce well
    2. Peel the lemon, optional
    3. Juice
    4. Pour over ice
    5. Enjoy!

    Johnathan Marsh, head of buying for electricals at John Lewis, said: ‘The juicing phenomenon is spreading fast across the UK.

    ‘Juicing
    is a huge trend for us this year and in response to high levels of
    customer demand for juicers we have increased our stock holding by 10
    times compared to last year, and expanded our range.’  

    However, Joe prefers to call his juicing plan a ‘reboot’ rather than a diet – and anyone can do it to improve their health.

    He said: ‘During a reboot, you’ll commit to consuming only fruit and vegetable juices for a period of time. Three days, five days, or 30 days, it’s your choice!

    ‘The goal is to help you break a cycle of an unhealthy lifestyle and simply enhance the quality of your diet by increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables.’

    He added: ‘If you’re overweight and have tried everything then I would recommend consulting your doctor and then following the juice diet for ten days.

    ‘You’ll find you’ll fall in love with fruit and veg and the way it makes you feel.’

    But Joe said a ‘reboot’ doesn’t have to be ‘all or nothing’.

    ‘If you don’t want to only have juice for a certain number of days then just try adding it into your diet instead.

    ‘Having a litre a day of fruit and veg every morning will make you feel better and lose pounds. It will also fill you up so you feel satisfied and won’t want to eat as much during the day,’ he explained.

    Joe believes juicing is the easiest way to stock your body up on vitamins and the juices are easy to make – just wash, cut and blend.

    For those short on time, he recommends juicing in bulk at the weekend and then storing the juice in the fridge in an air-tight container so it’s ready for you to drink every morning during the week.

    For more information and juice recipes visit www.rebootwithjoe.com

    Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead will be broadcast on Channel 5 on 10th July at 8pm, watch the trailer below…

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