"Food Unwrapped's Diet Special" - worth a watch? Dry January - Go You!

The programme’s typically a good watch

The programme’s typically a good watch

As last year, Channel 4’s “Food Unwrapped” team paid attention to the seasonal topics of weight-loss and alcohol at the start of the year.

It was found that meal replacement with healthy eating helped weight loss, as did intermittent fasting (such as in the 5:2 and 16:8 diets mentioned in my January 2018 blogs). Those who simply counted calories did less well. In a recent BBC.com article about intermittent fasting, however, they argued that missing breakfast/intermittent fasting was not the key factor in weight-loss, rather, changing the timing of meals. Frankly the size of the group in Channel 4’s study was small (9 people) so it is hard to be sure of the results and the BBC’s article discussion could have been stronger. Nonetheless, the Channel 4 Team’s weight-loss summary points are worth mentioning: distract yourself from eating - have a focus other than food; movement/exercise is helpful and find someone to support you, including friends/clubs.

Another topic of the programme was about Dry January. Perhaps you have taken the worth-while pledge to avoid alcohol for the month? The presenter (44) who had his liver checked for fat and skin for premature ageing got a fright! He was found to be in the obese weight range (despite looking fairly average) and had a fatty liver from imbibing in alcohol. His skin was judged by a dermatologist to be akin to a 50 year old’s - alcohol causes dehydration and impairs absorption of vitamins. As someone who admitted to enjoying his beer and wine, a month away from alcohol and the presenter’s weight had dropped over 2 kg, his liver had recovered and his skin looked younger. They said that the benefits should still be evident 6 months later. So if you are well on your way to a Dry January, Go You! For February, keep in mind that alcohol recommendations have changed in recent years - 14 units for both men and women with several days off each week. Wine and beer are higher in alcohol content than ever before too so check the label.

Isotonic drinks for sports were given the thumbs up to increase endurance but a budget recipe for of sugar-free cordial with 25 grams of sugar and 1 gram of salt was found to do the job.

And finally, they looked at “Veganuary” - the move to veganism. In particular they looked at the Australian jackfruit which can be prepared to look like pulled pork. In fact, as part of a burger with salad, its fibrous strands fooled people! The benefits were that it is high in potassium, antioxidants and low in calories. Its sugar/carbohydrate breaks down quickly so ideal for race day or endurance too. However, it lacks the protein found in pork so they recommended it be eaten with a portion of lentils. Whilst tempting, I can’t say I’ve seen it in my supermarket and there are the air miles too.

If you’re interested, the programme first aired on 3 January, can be viewed for a couple of weeks more on All 4 Catch-up. Its and other relevant links are listed below. Don’t forget that if you would like support by hypnotherapy or coaching for either weight or alcohol management, please email audrey@summitlifecoaching.co.uk and we can arrange an initial free phone consultation then clinic appointments and Mulberry House Complementary Health Clinic in the West End of Edinburgh. If you and a friend want to lose weight together then I would see what we could arrange. Here’s to a healthy 2019!


BBC.com’s article “Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day?”


Drinkaware/Government guidelines on alcohol: