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the fast diet

Issue 8

January 2015

An update from Michael

Dear All,

Happy New Year! Hope you had a lovely Christmas. I certainly did, and I am now struggling to get my brain and my body back in shape in time for a busy 2015.

I am beginning a new film for the BBC Science’s Horizon strand, looking at a wide range of health tests and trying to find out which ones are worth doing. Which tests give you useful information on which to act? Some will be quite basic, others the latest genetic tests. I’m going to be looking at tests which cover the biggest killers in the UK, which include heart disease, stroke, cancer and dementia. Not very cheerful but should be interesting.

I hope to discover a lot of new things about myself in the course of making the programme, some of which may turn out to be scary. We shall see.

Over the course of last year I have had lots of lovely emails and messages from people, including one yesterday that I thought I would share:

“I was over 130KG and after watching the program about 3 months ago I'm now down to 90KG. I also took up walking and more recently started running too and I'm so much lighter than I was at 18 (40 now) I now look and feel completely different and I'm still losing weight…  My Wife and children would also like to thank you for showing me the way to get more healthy and active and hopefully live longer”

There is a lot of research going on into the benefits of intermittent fasting, some of which I’ve included in the updated version of the Fast Diet book, which has just been published.

In the book I look at the research into potential benefits of intermittent fasting for allergic diseases, such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as the impact of intermittent fasting on cancer. Mimi has produced more delicious recipes and a really interesting section on motivation.

At the moment I am spending quite a bit of time talking to experts about the impact of intermittent fasting on type 2 diabetes. There is, for example, a big trial underway in Sweden at the moment where they are following a large group of people on the 5:2 – 40% of whom are type 2 diabetics – for a year. So far, I’m told, the results have been excellent.

I will try to be a bit more regular with my updates in 2015.

best, Michael

Baked butternut with courgette and tomatoes

This is a new recipe from the revised and updated version of The Fast Diet. You can serve with a sprinkle of feta (25g or just over 3/4 oz per portion; add 42 calories). Alternatively, this works well as a side dish with any roast or grilled meat.

248 calories per portion, 290 with feta
Serves 2

3-4 young/medium courgettes, sliced thinly on the diagonal
400g (14 oz) butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 vine of cherry tomatoes
6 black olives (optional)
One head of garlic, halved around the equator
Half a lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
Handful of fresh thyme leaves
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Place the prepared veggies in a small ovenproof dish, add olive oil and juice of half a lemon, along with the lemon husk. Season well. Bake for 25 mins until garlic is softened and the veggies are beginning to caramelise.

The Fast Diet, revised and updated

The Fast Diet revised covers

In this revised and updated edition of The Fast Diet, Michael introduces the science behind intermittent fasting, including new research into the wider benefits of the diet, such as the latest studies on asthma, eczema and diabetes. Mimi explains how to incorporate fasting into your life, and offers new detail on the psychology of successful dieting, a range of enticing recipes, and an easy 5:2 shopping list to help you sail through your Fast Days.

The Fast Diet Kitchen is now open

For those of you in the UK who need some help planning and preparing what you'll eat on a Fast Day, you can now get delicious low calorie meals delivered straight to your door. With a fantastic selection of soups and main dishes to choose from, including vegetarian and gluten-free options, there is something here for everybody. With a soup and main meal coming in at under 500 calories, it’s easy to create a menu plan that will work for you and help you sail through your Fast Days. Find out more at The Fast Diet Kitchen.

Avoiding sugar?

White sugar is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to foods that pump up your blood sugars. Check out the handy graphic for more information.

The first Fast Day...

How was your first Fast Day? Need some reassurance you can make it through? Read about our forum members' experiences.

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The Fast Diet, c/o Short Books, Unit 316, ScreenWorks, 22 Highbury Grove, London N5 2EF