An indulgent final course of cheese and biscuits could actually promote weight loss, according to a leading Kings College professor whose new book suggests making small tweaks to how we eat could boost the metabolism and keep weight stable.
Professor Tim Spector, author of The Diet Myth, says indulging in the right combination of foods could sate the appetite and prevent over-indulgence later on.
What gives cheese and crackers brownie points, says Spector, is the marriage of foods from different groups; with healthy fats combining with sugars, which slows the process of breaking down the nutrients and releasing the sugar into the bloodstream.
His book also explores the idea that healthy gut bacteria is key to a trim waistline, with a fibre-rich diet slowing the absorption of food inside the gut.
In an article published in The Mail on Sunday, Spector advises eating ‘fibre-rich, green vegetables such as leeks, artichokes, onions and garlic, and berries’ and ensuring food cupboards are stocked with wholegrain rice, pasta, bread and oats to help reduce the release of sugar in the blood after eating.
Spector also heralds the use of microbes in the diet, with food and drinks including fresh cheese, sauerkraut, full-fat yogurt, kefir and kombucha helping to keep the gut healthy.
And when it comes to fruit, variety is the key, says the professor, because some are converted into sugar very quickly while others offer a much slower transition. Mixing fruits up, and adding nuts, can prevent blood sugar peaking consistently.
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Tim Spector’s The Diet Myth is out now (Orion, £8.99)