Ditch fruit and eat lard...the new diet a Notts couple are advocating
If you were told that eating butter, sausage and cheese could help you lose weight, and that fruit should be avoided, you'd probably say that April Fools' Day has already been and gone.
But for a couple from Mansfield, and a growing number of followers, this is their recipe for healthy living.
John Mason (61) and his partner Zoe Melvin (41), are believers in the ketogenic way of life - a specialised diet and exercise regime far from the accepted norms.
Dating back to the 1920s as a form of treatment for epilepsy, and without delving deep into the science behind the theory, it simply boils down to cutting carbohydrates and sugar out of your diet.
Not only that, but perhaps more surprising is that eating fat and cholesterol can actually be beneficial.
So while many of us ditch the frying pan, gorge on fruit and run ourselves ragged in the gym in a bid to become healthy or shift some weight, it’s not the answer according John and Zoe.
For John, a fitness coach, he is striving to debunk the ‘myth’ surrounding cholesterol.
“The idea that cholesterol causes all the problems totally wrong, no tests have ever proved that,” he said.
“It’s like saying that because you find fire engines at the scene of a fire, they cause the fires.
“As a fitness coach I found that people would tell you they are eating less and exercising more but it didn’t work.
“I decided to research it 12 years ago and found if you eat less your body goes into starvation mode, stores fat and burns muscle.
“Inevitably, hunger will always win - you can’t outrun a bad diet.
“If you eat less, your body goes into starvation mode, you will store fat and burn muscle.”
This is the not the first time a low-carb, high-fat way of eating has attracted interest.
The Atkins Diet became the must-try fad among celebrities wanting to shed the pounds back in the early 2000s.
While a ketogenic diet contains similar principals - such as cutting out carb-heavy grub like pasta, rice, bread and potatoes - only moderate protein is permitted, replaced by foods packed with ‘healthy’ fats.
Following theses basic eating principals, John says he has lost 32lbs in the last two years without attempting to diet, but how does it work?
It uses the basic principal of burning fat to give us energy, rather than carbohydrates or sugar.
Surely adding fruit can’t do any harm?
Not according to John, who says sugar (or fructose in fruit) is the problem in everyday eating, not fat.
He claims sugar is the link to all manner of health issues like type-two diabetes, fatty liver disease and even cancer.
By avoiding carbs, which ultimately turn to sugar during digestion, he says the hunger hormone - leptin - learns to function better and keeps you full for longer.
Indeed, John says he can even go two days without eating, or even think about eating.
Of course exercise is also important, although it shouldn’t mean any gruelling spells on the treadmill.
In fact, it needs no cardiovascular exercise at all and involves what John and Zoe describe as ‘high-intensity strength training’ - geared more towards lifting weights - just twice a week for around 20 minutes.
While it flies in the face of conventional healthy living, there is no shortage of people signing up to learn about the ketogenic diet.
Around 2,000 people have already signed up to the couple’s Facebook page and website, with many waxing lyrical about the effects it’s had on their health.
But like every other lifestyle choice, it has its share of detractors.
“We have been called a cult, but all we are doing is not eating sugar or carbs,” said Zoe.
“It’s the sugar that makes you feel hungry, we can go a whole day without eating or even thinking about food.
“We eat when we are hungry, and we stop when we are full.
“It’s so much more than dieting, and we’re getting so much interest.”
Foods you can eat
Full fat milk
Foods you can’t eat
Biscuits and cakes