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Sep 3

Why 80s slimming regimes are the future of dieting –

There is not yet solid evidence as to why that might be the case, but Professor Francesco Rubino, a consultant bariatric surgeon at London Bridge Hospital, has a theory: very-low calorie diets - as few as 800 kcals per day - whether in soups, shakes or whole food, have a similar effect on the body as a gastric bypass.

He explains that bariatric surgery is not just effective by reducing the size of the stomach, it also disrupts the bodys attempts to make you regain the weight by increasing hunger and decreasing fullness. This happens because the part of your gut responsible for creating these signals is bypassed surgically: it is no longer stimulated, and so stops telling your brain that you are hungry.

With very-low calorie diets, Rubino believes the same thing is happening: the gut is not being constantly stimulated by food passing through, and in its resting state does not create feelings of hunger.

It can happen either with surgery, or a diet that is so low in food intake that it brings that level of gut exposure to stimulus as close as possible to zero, he says.

However, he advises a note of caution, given there are not yet any studies into the potential long-term effects of these diets.

Dr Michael Mosley, the BBC broadcaster and creator of the 5:2 Diet, believes there might be another mechanism at work which explains how liquid diets reduce hunger: ketosis, or when the body uses fat, not sugar, for fuel. He thinks we have evolved to feel less hungry when this is happening: in times of food shortage, it would have been fatal for ancient humans to be too distracted by hunger, he says.

Dr Mosley himself sells an 800 calorie-a-day diet plan, where followers have up to two shakes a day and one light meal. He says that eating this way for eight to 10 weeks can be markedly effective for controlling diabetes and much more so than conventional steady dieting.

This is because rapid dieting encourages the body to first use stores of fat in the liver and pancreas crucial for type 2 diabetes patients where excess fat around the pancreas prevents it from working properly and producing insulin.

Most of these patients have 30 to 35 per cent liver fat - theyre like foie gras geese, he says. But in a few weeks [of rapid dieting], it drains out and is reduced to 3 per cent.

He points to a 2018 study, which compared the effects of a meal replacement programme of around 800 calories a day to those using traditional NHS weight loss programmes. Those who followed the low calorie diet were 10.7kg lighter a year later, three times more than in the other group. They also managed much better reductions in their risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

However, these diets need to be followed with caution. They are most suitable for those who have a lot to lose already, and would be a no-go for anyone with a history of eating disorders.

Different brands of soups and shakes on the market also differ widely in the nutrition they provide. One with high levels of carbohydrates and low fat and protein might be a disaster for your metabolism, says Pearson.

With a low-calorie, low-protein diet, you eat salad and fruit and dont have enough protein, so the body will lose muscle, she says. Since muscle uses more energy at rest than other tissues in the body, this could mean that your metabolism will slow down and you will put weight back on so fast. Instead, look for something with adequate protein and fats, as well as vitamins and minerals.

There may also be some short-term side effects which could be frustrating, like headaches and constipation. Dr Mosley recommends that drinking plenty of water may help with these effects.

There is also the great big elephant in the room: what happens when the 12-week programme is over, and you have to go back to eating normal, solid food?

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Why 80s slimming regimes are the future of dieting -

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