A message from Michael
I hope your new year Fast Diet plans are going well. For those of you looking for a little more encouragement, here are a couple of positive messages from some fellow Fast Dieters:
“I am a 44 year-old fitness instructor who has always been fit but really struggled weight wise. I was sick of seeing people being vilified for being overweight when they have tried everything – I was doing 15hrs of exercise a week and still couldn’t lose weight! I’d also become very frustrated with the diet industry as I knew that diets don’t work and in the end make you fatter. Then I discovered the 5:2 way of life. I immediately understood the concept of fasting and started on my journey. I have lost three stone. I truly believe fasting is a massive breakthrough and the answer.” – Tracy Griffiths (been on the Fast Diet for 2 years)
“I would definitely recommend the Fast Diet to others. I still can't believe how much weight I've lost. Once you’ve chosen what you are going to eat on a Fast Day, be meticulous by weighing the foods & controlling portion sizes. For me it has rewired my mind on how to eat and what to eat, and to eat when genuinely hungry not just because food is so readily available.” – Julie Garbutt (been on the Fast Diet for 1 year)
Don't forget to keep your tracker up to date with your latest weight – it's a great way to keep motivated on the diet, and we'll be updating you all on how the community as a whole is doing. Click here to access your tracker, and be sure to take a look at our last tracker update from January.
Last year I covered a number of food and health stories for the BBC. One of the most interesting was Should I Eat Meat. I mention this because recently there was yet another story about how red meat gives you cancer, and yet there is very little evidence that this is true. You can get a flavour of it from this article I wrote for BBC News online.
What the research points to is that eating chicken is fine; red meat (beef, pork) is OK if it is grass fed; eating processed meat (bacon, sausages etc) puts you at slightly greater risk of cancer and heart disease.
I think the biggest surprise for me is that eating moderate amounts of red meat (i.e. up to 4oz a day; 120 gms) is bad for you if you are American but not if you are European or Japanese (they are the groups on which most of the research has been done). It is likely that this is because American cattle tend to spend at least part of their lives in feed lots, where they are fed on corn, antibiotics and growth promoters. European and Japanese beef is almost all grass fed.
Sadly, for European carnivores, eating processed meat (bacon, sausages, salami etc) seems to increase your overall risk of death by about 20%. Or as one professor told me, every bacon sandwich you eat knocks about 30 minutes off your life. On the other hand drinking two cups of coffee or doing 20 minutes of exercise will add 30 minutes to life, so put it in perspective. I still eat processed meat, but try to do so mindfully.