July 26, 2008

Lose Half a Stone in Three Weeks WITHOUT FAD DIETS ; Health


SO it's summer and you've just realised last year's bikini or shorts aren't going to fit you this time round. But turning to a gimmicky diet - be it Atkins, Southbeach, cabbage soup or celeb detox - to shed weight in just a few weeks isn't going to work.

Nor is gnawing on a celery stick or skipping breakfast when really you're dreaming of a decent meal with meat and two veg - let alone fantasising over a bar of chocolate or a glass of wine.

Instead help is at hand from Bangor university, where researchers reckon you can lose almost half a stone in three weeks, shedding inches off waist, bum and tums.

A group of volunteers at the university - from professors through to students and non academics, all aged 18-55 and with a higherthan- average BMI - managed to shed the combined weight of a small pot- bellied pig under the guidance of Francesco Sartor.

And it comes down to looking carefully at what you eat and when... then getting on your bike.

The most success came from cutting carb levels down from two- thirds of the daily intake of calories to around 40%, and especially avoiding those with a high glycaemic index - foods which make blood sugars rise rapidly.

Italian Francesco, 27, who is studying for his doctorate at Bangor, is leading a group of sports, health and exercise researchers to study the best ways to safely shed weight.

The volunteers were split into three groups: one was given a low carbohydrate diet, one bike exercises and another both the diet and bike exercises.

Researchers wanted to see if the combination of diet and bike exercises cuts the chances of developing diabetes among the obese. And it was the group who combined low-carb diets with increased activity who saw most success.

Francesco said: "It is important to understand how to prevent diabetes. It has become one of the most common diseases in the Western world.

"We hope to draw conclusions from the association between diet and physical inactivity associated with a Western lifestyle, and chronic diseases, and how a simple combination of physical exercise and diet can improve people's health in a short period."

Women, as they get older and post-menopause, tend to deposit fat around the hips. Men also store fat around their middles.

The British Nutrition Foundation warns this can lead to poor heart health. Its experts recommend the best way to beat the bulge is to try and match calorie intake to calorie needs, and to hit the gym, working on stomach toning.

Francesco added: "Early findings show participants who have taken part so far have lost on average two pounds of fat per week, and seen an increased fitness. But it is still too early to see whether blood glucose balance is improved."

Claire King DVDs go to M Edwards, Wrexham; A Jones, St Asaph; S Edwards, Ruthin; B Williams, Pwllheli, and L Moores, Llandudno Junction. An aromatherapy kit goes to E Jones, Llangefni

Francesco's top tips to beat the flab

Use common sense: avoid fast food or sugary soft drinks

Keep an accurate diary of what you eat at least for a week - you'll be surprised at how the calories add up

Work out (or ask a specialist - eg at the gym) what your daily energy expenditure should be

Don't go over this calorie limit, but don't make your diet too restrictive as you won't keep it up

Reduce carbohydrate to 40-45% of your daily calories, and avoid high glycaemic food

Substitute the energy coming from carbs with unsaturated fat - more veg and fish but less chips

Step up the amount of exercise you take. Exercise at least three times a week - but make sure it's safe

Keep at it - it's a lifestyle change not a one-off

(c) 2008 Daily Post; Liverpool. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.