Losing weight is a tough call for anyone. With temptation available at every hour of the day and night, it’s so easy to put off good intentions until tomorrow.
But if you are one of the millions living with type 2 diabetes — or one of the untold billions at risk of developing the disease, which is spreading frighteningly fast around the world — this is a lifestyle plan which you simply cannot afford to ignore. It’s one based on life-changing science.
Throughout most of my 43 years as a diabetes doctor and research scientist, it was believed that once you were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes you were stuck with it. Your prognosis was never good.
But as I reveal in my new book Life Without Diabetes, which is being serialised in the Mail all this week, my team of scientists at Newcastle University have discovered that not only is this life-limiting disease reversible, if you follow our instructions to the letter, you could remain diabetes-free for life.
And the best news? This revolutionary plan could not be easier to follow — in fact, it’s as simple as one, two, three.
Stage one is the rapid weight-loss phase where you switch your normal meals for three calorie-controlled meal replacement soups or shakes, plus one low-starch vegetable meal per day.
The aim is to lose 15kg (2st 5lb) and put your diabetes into remission.
Stage two is a carefully monitored re-introduction of real food, one meal at a time, and stage three is your chance to start following a new long-term method of healthy eating, to help ensure you remain free from diabetes for life.
Burden of fat
It was long thought that too much sugar was the culprit when it came to type 2 diabetes.
But as I explained in Saturday’s paper, we have been able to prove that type 2 diabetes is caused by fat accumulation in your liver and pancreas when your body reaches its ‘personal fat threshold’ and can’t store fat elsewhere.
Those fat deposits stop your liver and pancreas from operating normally, restricting the supply of the hormone insulin (which works to control blood sugar levels), and limiting the ability of your cells to respond to it.
If you’ve got type 2 diabetes or you have been told you are ‘pre-diabetic’, we can confidently say that you will have tipped over your personal fat threshold, and your liver and pancreas are being strangled by fat deposits.
This is the case whether you still look slim, or you’re overweight or even obese according to official charts.
The only way of decreasing this burden of fat is to reduce the total amount of fat accumulated in your body — not just by a few kilos, but by a lot.
We’ve discovered that the key to reversing this toxic cycle, and to getting your organs functioning optimally again, is by getting your weight below your personal fat threshold.
This effectively drains fat from your liver and pancreas so they can start working normally again.
A magic number
In our experience, losing 15kg is the magic number that takes most people below the personal fat threshold that tipped them into diabetes in the first place.
It doesn’t really matter whether it takes you two months or one year to shift this weight. What is crucial is to lose enough to shift the fat in your liver and pancreas so they can start operating properly once more.
But losing weight slowly is the hard way to go about it.
Our studies show that by setting a short target of two or three months to achieve the 15kg weight loss, and making the process super simple, people really lose weight — a lot of weight — fast.
The key is the surge of motivation you get when you see the numbers on the scales tumbling. Most people in our studies lost a staggering 3.5kg (7lb) in the first week alone, and the majority shifted 15kg within two or three months.
First, we recommend that you set your target weight using the chart below — this is usually 15kg lower than your current weight.
Don’t be daunted by this figure. Hundreds of people like you have achieved similar weight loss. It can be done.
Why a liquid diet?
We have found that using commercial liquid meal replacements is the most effective way for people to lose enough weight to achieve lasting remission from type 2 diabetes.
A packet per meal, containing no more than 200 calories, frees you from having to make decisions about what and how much to eat. In our many studies, we found this makes weight loss genuinely easier.
On stage one of our plan, hunger is kept at bay. Not only is it a fact of life that such a low-calorie diet suppresses hunger, you can also enjoy your daily allowance of low-starch vegetables as a delicious extra meal.
Fruit juice is banned, but water (still or fizzy), herb tea or zero-calorie drinks are allowed.
You can also enjoy unlimited black coffee and tea, or have it with skimmed milk (but no more than 50ml of milk per day).
If you’re hankering for fresh ingredients and a bit of variety, you can switch a meal replacement shake for one of our delicious homemade shake recipes every few days.
But we recommend you base your three daily shakes or soups diet mostly on commercial liquid meal replacements.
Whichever brand you choose, look for those described as ‘complete nutrition’, because this indicates that it contains all the vitamins, minerals and trace elements you need for optimal health, in addition to protein, sugar and fat.
You will probably find the protein content is relatively high, at around 25 per cent — and certainly higher than you might usually eat in one meal — but this will help keep hunger at bay.
If you can’t bear the idea of sticking to liquid formula drinks for several weeks, you can opt for three small, protein-heavy meals containing 200 calories each.
Include your quota of 100 calories of non-starchy vegetables, and do not exceed a daily total of 800 calories.
It may take you a bit longer to cruise down to your target weight — about three to four months, as opposed to two to three months on the liquid formula — with this diet, and it is best supplemented with a multi- vitamin tablet.
Another option, if you prefer to avoid shakes and soups, is a milk-based diet where you drink two litres of semi-skimmed milk per day. This is both inexpensive and feasible. It is important to take a multivitamin tablet daily, and to eat some non-starchy vegetables to provide roughage and something to chew on.
Because you are suddenly eating considerably less than you’re used to on stage one of this plan, you will feel hungry for the first 36 hours.
But the good news is, you’ll hardly notice hunger after that.
Our studies show that many people do miss having something to chew during this stage. So we’ve added a meal made up of non-starchy vegetables to complement the shakes and soups, which you can enjoy in the evening or at lunchtime.
Our team of nutritionists have come up with inventive ways to make this into a tasty meal that will deliver a satisfying crunch.
The fibre contained in the salad or vegetable recipes shown here have the added bonus of helping to ward off constipation.
We don’t recommend you embark on an exercise programme during step one.
Contrary to what you might have been told many times in the past, too much activity at this stage could seriously impede weight loss, especially if you have a lot of weight to lose.
This may be the best-kept secret in the weight-loss field, and I came across it only from listening to participants in one of our exercise studies.
The problem is the common phenomenon of ‘compensatory eating’, which can make it more likely that you either consciously or subconsciously reach out for extra food to make up for the calories you think you’ve burned by being active.
So just maintain your normal exercise levels during stage one, by doing whatever activities you did before.
I’ll show you how to gradually boost your activity levels when you get to stage two — there will be more details of this in tomorrow’s paper — to enhance your health and help maintain your weight loss.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Roy Taylor