1. We want you to eat your fruit and veg, not drink them in juices and smoothies.
This simple step avoids possible blood sugar surges, which may follow if you quickly glug large quantities of them back. Not only that, taking the time to eat your fruit and veg means you’ll likely feel fuller and trim your total sugars and calories. While you may be able to drink a banana, a punnet of strawberries, orange juice, yoghurt and milk in a 750ml smoothie with 400 calories in a few minutes, you are unlikely to be able to eat the equivalent calories in a similar time frame. Remember you’d need to eat a whole four 100g oranges, 100g of plain low fat yoghurt, a 100g banana, 200g of strawberries and a 150ml glass of skimmed milk to match that amount.
2. Don’t be fooled by the fake-carb craze.
Thinking you are doing your waist a favour by filling up on cauliflower steaks, mushroom buns and lettuce leaf wraps is a hiding to nutritional nothing – within the hour you will be ready to devour half a cow. Get straight down to business with a 200g lean sirloin steak. Not only does it come with 48g of your 55g target of protein for the day, which keeps you full and staves off hunger pangs, far from being bad for your arteries, it provides just 9g of fat, over half of which is unsaturated, the type that is positively good for your heart. Add to this the iron it gives you for pumping oxygen round your body (23 per cent RDA) and zinc (80 per cent RDA) for robust immunity. It’s a lean no-brainer.
3. Forget summer Sangria.
It is loaded with lemonade and therefore a good four teaspoons of sugar in a typical 300ml long glass. Instead switch to shandy using a zero-calorie lemonade. That’s one unit per long, cooling pint and fewer than 100 calories compared with at least 260 calories in a sticky, summer Sangria.
4. If it’s turmeric you’re after, first ask yourself why?
Yes, it’s the latest trend from South Asia, via Sydney and San Francisco, but do you really need it and will you actually benefit from more of the yellow stuff? Prized by Ayurvedic medics and lauded by nutritional therapists there’s just one catch: nobody can say for sure what it does or how much you may need to enjoy turmeric’s potential benefits. So shovelling it into a grande latte means just one thing: you are going to be gulping 200 calories, whether it’s stirred into soya milk, almond milk or real diary milk. The most important questions are, if need a drink… will water do and if you need caffeine, can’t you simply get an espresso? Both are zero calories. And if you love turmeric that much, put it in a lean, homemade curry where it belongs.
5. Feeling peckish?
Snack on blueberries and a 25g bar of dark chocolate. Bursting with, flavonoids, which research suggests appear to help widen your blood vessels and improve the oxygen flow, forget energy-sapping biscuits and office cake and create your own focus-enhancing snack box to get you through hectic days without the calorie dump.
6. Coconut oil is good for your heart, right?
Nope. Leave it for makers of tropical sun creams and bar tenders creating Piña Coladas. Like palm oil, however you try to spin it, coconut oil is dripping in saturated fats, and yes, in spite of its medium chain fats, many of these will still raise blood cholesterol. The British Dietetic Association bases its advice on science: coconut oil is a saturated fat, the kind we need to cut back on. And remember, all oils give us around 100 calories per tablespoon so whichever oil you opt for, use them judiciously. Getting frisky with olive oil, cold-pressed rapeseed oil, sesame oil, pumpkin oil or any other oil you can think of means just one thing, you’re adding loads of calories and if you want to get a six pack, keep a six pack or simply attempt to get your gut back inside your belt, you need to go very steady.
7. When it comes to your favourite tipple, remember that alcohol is alcohol.
We’re recommended to stick to no more than 14 units a week for men (and women) and a unit is 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol. The number of units in a drink is based on the size of the drink, as well as its alcohol strength, so while a pint of strong lager contains three units of alcohol, the same volume of low-strength lager has just over two units. Fourteen units is equivalent to six pints of average-strength beer, 13 small glasses of average-strength wine (that’s 125ml at around 9 per cent strength) or 14 single (25ml) measures of gin, rum or whisky over the course of a week. To enjoy a more balanced drinking experience and keep track of your units easily, you could try a one-unit cocktail such as a Gimlet. It’s worth knowing that it takes about one hour for the average person to metabolise one unit of alcohol, but this can be longer depending on your size and weight. Not drinking to excess also comes with the star seal of approval, as George Clooney allegedly tips bar staff to hand him non-alcoholic drinks regularly throughout an evening so that he carefully spreads his units while enjoying drinks when he’s out.