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Dec 02, 2013| Courtesy by : dailymail.co.uk
What if someone told you that you could drop a dress size by Christmas simply by eating a spoonful of honey before bed each night? It sounds far too good to be true, but it’s actually the keystone of a revolutionary new, scientifically backed way to slim.
The Honey Diet harnesses the proven powers of honey to trigger metabolic changes that ensure you won’t succumb to diet-busting sugar cravings, and mean you even burn fat while you sleep. There’s no calorie counting, no expensive diet foods, no draconian starvation plan – and you can easily lose up to 3lbs a week.
The programme is the result of a lifetime’s research by nutritionist Mike McInnes, who discovered that honey’s unique combination of natural sugars make it a near-perfect weight-loss food. On this plan you can enjoy delicious family meals, snacks and treats usually banned on diets – including puddings, bread, muffins and even biscuits – as long as they are made with honey rather than sugar.
Indeed, by substituting sugar for honey throughout the day, and taking a large spoonful of honey in a hot drink before going to bed, the mechanisms in the brain that spark ruinous sugar cravings can be shut down altogether.
So how does it work? Mr McInnes believes the main reason so many of us struggle to lose weight is because we eat too much sugar and processed food.
‘Even supposedly healthy low-fat foods are very often packed with hidden sugars or white flour [which the body swiftly converts to sugar],’ he says. ‘This means our blood-sugar levels bubble away on maximum all day long.’ The body deals with this sugar overload by releasing the hormone insulin, which filters it out of the blood and sends it off to be stored as fat.
But Mr McInnes has identified an additional mechanism that the body uses to protect delicate brain cells from possible sugar overload, which means the brain gets ‘hungry’.
This discovery is significant, he argues, because it is the ‘hungry brain’ that instigates impossible-to-resist sugar cravings, which make dieting even more difficult.
Every brain cell, he explains, is surrounded by ten or more special ‘feeder cells’ (called glial cells), which monitor and control the amount of blood sugar in the brain.
These cells have the important job of ensuring a precisely measured supply of sugar reaches the brain cells. Each one houses a microscopic pump, which measures the density of sugar in the blood, and then supplies the brain cell with exactly the right amount of fuel.
Through analysis of numerous studies, Mr McInnes discovered that if we eat too many biscuits, chocolate, fizzy drinks or pastries, these pumps are prone to sudden ’emergency shut-downs’ to protect the brain cells from sugar overload. This means only the tiniest trickle of fuel is allowed to reach brain cells until the potentially dangerous sugar-rush is over.
This mechanism would work well if the glut of sugar was only short-lived, but thanks to our modern diet most of us are likely to be nibbling and grazing on sugary foods all day.
The result, says Mr McInnes, is that the glial cells are switched off for long periods, leaving brain cells surviving on emergency fuel rations.
‘A hungry brain is a stressed brain,’ says Mr McInnes. ‘In desperation, it will send out a cocktail of chemical messages to try to drum up sugar from any other possible source.’
Some of these chemical messages trigger insatiable sugar cravings, leaving us feeling powerless to resist finishing the whole packet of biscuits, indulging in another slice of cake or grabbing a sweet cup of tea.
÷ Honey provides brilliant energy for exercise. Replenish your fuel reserves during your exercise session with one to two tablespoons of honey dissolved in water, and sip during your workout.
÷ There’s no need to pay Manuka honey prices. Just buy it from a retailer you trust (cheap honey can be adulterated with sugar syrup) and take your pick from hard, honeycombed or runny.
÷ Honey isn’t just for baking – use it as a salad dressing, with olive oil and vinegar, or melt it into cream cheese to make a tasty sauce.
÷ Don’t have more than four tablespoons of honey a day. The calorie intake (64 calories per tablespoon) may outweigh the slimming benefits.
÷ Honey is the perfect hangover remedy: take one tablespoon in water before you go out, one before bed, and two to three teaspoons first thing in the morning – either in water, on wholemeal toast, in yoghurt or neat on a spoon.
Mr McInnes believes that honey holds the key to breaking this vicious cycle – despite its dubious nutritional reputation. And he says that a night-time honey drink is enough to reverse the process and reduce nocturnal stress, allowing you to sleep better, so the body can get on with the essential process of recovery and repair – burning fat as it does so.
Most diet experts put honey in the same ‘bad food’ category as table sugar. Certainly, honey is similarly rich in fructose and sucrose and would therefore be expected to function in the body in exactly the same way – sending blood-sugar levels soaring.
But Mr McInnes is convinced it does the opposite. ‘Honey is created from plant nectar by bees, which act as a kind of natural processing plant, partially digesting the sugars and changing their composition – which affects the way our bodies metabolise them,’ he says.
Furthermore, the hundreds of micro-nutrients in every teaspoon of honey change the way the substance reacts in our digestive system.
Studies show when we drink a cup of tea sweetened with honey, or drizzle honey on yoghurt, the sugars behave in a completely different way to white sugar.
In fact, tests conducted by medical research laboratories in Dubai show a spoonful of honey appears to lower blood-sugar levels rather than raise them as a spoonful of white sugar would.
Crucially, this means honey doesn’t cause the glial cells to switch off, ensuring the brain gets the steady stream of fuel it needs to function at its optimal level.
Combined with some simple golden rules, it means you can eat well and watch excess weight effortlessly fall away, without cravings.
Here, we reveal how . . .
Don’t worry about calorie counting or starvation plans – just stick to the following simple rules. Pin them to your fridge to help you remember.
Although fat is often seen as the bad guy, in dietary terms, a growing amount of research shows that sugar is the real villain in the obesity epidemic, with every 1g of sugar you eat being converted into 2g of body fat. Cut out all sugar and artificial sweeteners, including the ‘stealth’ sugar that manufacturers add to both sweet and savoury foods (even ones you wouldn’t expect, such as pizzas and pasta sauces).
Instead, start your day with one or two teaspoons of honey in a cup of hot water. Then use honey in place of sugar in tea or coffee, on cereal and in cooking throughout the day (honey is roughly twice as sweet as sugar, so you’ll need half as much).
If you need a sweet snack, spread honey on wholemeal toast or a wholemeal cracker, or add a teaspoon to a small tub of natural yoghurt.
Central to this plan is ending the day with a honey drink (one or two tablespoons of honey in hot water) taken 30 minutes before going to bed at night, which is exactly what the body needs to allow it to function at its optimal level while you sleep – burning body fat as it does so.
Don’t go overboard, though – too much honey will still raise blood-sugar levels and, therefore, insulin levels, negating any benefits you might be hoping to achieve.
Honey can only help you slim if you avoid the empty calories that artificial and processed foods provide and commit to feeding your body the highest-octane fuel you can.
So, besides steering clear of sugary snacks, such as cakes and biscuits, you also need to cut out crisps, diet fizzy drinks, fried foods, processed foods (anything in a packet), takeaways and pastries.
HONEY BANANA MUFFINS (makes 12)
Beat the mashed bananas, honey, egg, melted butter and oil together for a few minutes in a bowl. Mix together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
Add the banana mixture into the flour mixture and fold in gently. Spoon the batter into 12 muffin cases. Place one banana slice on top of each muffin, and bake at 190c (gas mark 5) for 20 minutes.
APPLE AND WALNUT COOKIES (makes 12–15)
Preheat the oven to 180c (gas mark 4). Stir the flour, oats, baking powder and cinnamon together in a bowl.
Add the apple and nuts, then stir again.
In a separate bowl, mix together the honey, oil and orange zest. Combine wet and dry ingredients.
Place 12-15 heaped tablespoons of the mixture on to a baking tray and bake for ten minutes.
RHUBARB AND BANANA CRUNCHY CRUMBLE (serves 2)
Heat the rhubarb, orange juice and one tablespoon of the honey slowly in a pan and simmer for five minutes until soft.
For the crumble, mix the oil and honey, then add the almonds, oats, orange zest and cinnamon. Spoon the rhubarb into a small ovenproof dish, top with slices of banana, and scatter over the crumble mixture. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes at 180c (gas 4).
(AND NOT TOO MANY)
Highly refined white flour (found in white pasta and white rice) is cheap and has a longer shelf life, but it contains very few nutrients and is swiftly absorbed by the body. This causes blood sugar spikes (and a rush of fat-storing insulin).
Wholemeal bread, pasta and brown rice are fibre-rich, so they are good for your digestion, take longer for your body to process and keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Switching from white to brown is a big step towards balancing your insulin levels – the next is to ensure that wholegrain carbohydrates make up less than a quarter of your meal.
Protein and vegetables should become the new-found heroes on your plate – so keep overall carbohydrate levels down by keeping any servings no bigger than fist-sized, trying to stick to no more than two slices of wholemeal bread a day and no more than five to six oatcakes, rice cakes or Ryvita a day.
Fill up more healthily on starchy vegetables like sweet potato (no more than one a day), butternut squash, parsnips and carrots.
Try using beans (aduki beans, cannellini beans, butter beans or kidney beans) or lentils to bulk out a meal instead of potatoes or bread and, as frequently as possible, as a healthier source of protein in place of meat or eggs.
It’s just a question of changing the emphasis from ‘carbs with everything’ to ‘carbs on the side’.
Start your week with one day steering clear of all forms of bread, pasta, flour, potatoes, rice and cereal, and you will reduce your insulin levels dramatically.
This means you are less likely to store fat, and numerous studies are now pointing at insulin as the cause of not only diabetes, but also heart disease and many cancers.
Cutting out carbohydrates just one day each week should be enough to reset your glial cells if they have become accustomed to being suppressed and, studies show, should ensure your insulin levels stay lower for the rest of the week – as long as you stick to the other Honey Diet rules.
One swift route to weight loss is a complete ban on potatoes.
Whether it’s crisps or chips, mashed or baked, potatoes burn quickly in the body’s furnace and are notorious for sending insulin levels soaring.
Psychologists have found a blanket rule like this is easier to adhere to than a more nebulous ruling such as no chips, crisps or roast potatoes and mashed or boiled ones in moderation.
Ensuring you have at least some protein in every meal will keep you feeling fuller for longer and prevent dangerous blood sugar spikes, which further protects you from cravings.
Protein tends to be filling – research shows our body will keep telling us we are hungry until we’ve eaten enough protein – and helps maintain muscle strength. Opt for lean protein to keep calorie intake down and choose from fish (not breaded or battered), chicken (no skin), pork (fat trimmed), beef (steak or 5 per cent fat mince) or eggs.
Also, don’t forget vegetable sources of protein such as hummus, peanut butter, lentils, beans and pulses.
Don’t hold back on the number and variety of vegetables and salads in your diet. Vegetables are high in fibre as well as vitamins, so aim for six to nine portions a day if you can.
Fruit is packed with antioxidants, but it can also be high in sugars, so choose low-carbohydrate fruit such as berries or rhubarb. These are relatively high in fibre and nutrients in relation to sugars, so they are less likely to cause a blood sugar spike.
Fruit is always better eaten whole, rather than drunk as juice or blended into a smoothie, as the fibre in whole fruit forms a protective layer that acts as a barrier to the intestine, slowing the absorption of the natural sugars.
Stripping the fat out of dairy products invariably means adding gelling agents, bulking agents, sweeteners or sugars to make the resulting concoction palatable.
Studies have shown that full-fat yoghurt is far more satisfying than reduced-fat (it keeps you feeling fuller for longer) and the best you could choose is natural bio-yoghurt – delicious with a little added honey.
Dairy products are a really important source of calcium, but don’t go crazy, or the calories will start to add up. This means no more than one small pot of yoghurt or cottage cheese, one matchbox-size piece of cheese (buy mature cheese, which packs more flavour for fewer calories) and up to 500ml, around a pint, of milk per day.
Extracted from THE HONEY DIET by Mike McInnes, published by Hodder & Stoughton on January 2 at £13.99. © Mike McInnes 2014. To pre-order a copy at £12.49 (p&p free), call 0844 472 4157.
Start each day with a honey drink – one or two teaspoons of honey in hot water with a squeeze of lemon. And end the day with a honey drink 30 minutes before bed – one to two tablespoons of honey in hot water or herbal tea.
BREAKFAST: Two grilled rashers of lean bacon and a grilled tomato
SNACK: A handful of olives
LUNCH: A three-egg omelette with onion, peppers, mushrooms or large salad with cold chicken
SNACK: Celery sticks dipped into a mini-pot of cream cheese
DINNER: Pan-grilled salmon steak with steamed broccoli and French beans
DESSERT: Plain yoghurt with honey and a sprinkling of toasted seeds
BREAKFAST: Two poached eggs on a slice of wholemeal toast
SNACK: Small handful of nuts and seeds
LUNCH: Hearty soup with lentils/beans and two oatcakes
SNACK: Crudites of cucumber, celery and carrot with mini pot of hummus
DINNER: Lean mince (5 per cent fat) with onions, peppers, courgettes and tomatoes, topped with a layer of mashed sweet potato and a grating of strongly flavoured cheese
DESSERT: Small pot natural yoghurt with honey and berries
BREAKFAST: Bowl of no-added-sugar muesli with natural yoghurt and chopped dried apricots
LUNCH: Large mixed salad with hard boiled eggs, tinned tuna, and honey dressing – plus a pear and a small piece of blue cheese
SNACK: Slice of honey cake
DINNER: Pork casserole with beans and a tomato sauce, served with steamed cabbage
DESSERT: Small pot of fruit salad (in fruit juice)
BREAKFAST: Two sausages (meat or vegetarian) with a large grilled tomato
LUNCH: Open sandwich with a slice of ham, cheese and salad on one slice of wholemeal bread
SNACK: Curls of smoked salmon spread with a dab of cream cheese
DINNER: ‘One pan chicken’ (a skinless chicken leg roasted in a drizzle of olive oil with a roughly chopped red onion, red pepper, chunks of butternut squash, garlic cloves and sliced courgette)
DESSERT: Small pot of natural yoghurt with honey and berries
BREAKFAST: Bowl of home-made granola with milk and a spoon of natural yoghurt
SNACK: Apple and walnut cookie (see recipe, above)
LUNCH: Frittata (eggs and left-over cold vegetables) served with salad
SNACK: Small pot of cottage cheese with cucumber sticks
DINNER: Stir-fry of steak strips with mixed veg, served with a small portion of wholewheat noodles
DESSERT: Berries scattered with shredded coconut and topped with a dollop of creme fraiche
BREAKFAST: Two scrambled eggs with smoked salmon pieces on one slice of wholemeal toast
SNACK: Handful of nuts
LUNCH: Cream of chicken soup with wholemeal croutons, handful of grapes and piece of cheese
SNACK: Honey banana muffin (see recipe, above)
DINNER: Curry (chicken or tofu) with apples, apricots, sultanas, tomatoes and coconut milk, served with a small portion of brown rice
DESSERT: Grilled peaches drizzled with honey
BREAKFAST: Two rice cakes sandwiched together with a slice of brie and ham.
SNACK: Carrot sticks dipped in hummus
LUNCH: Mushroom omelette and a clementine
SNACK: Olives with feta cheese
DINNER: Meatballs in tomato sauce with a small portion of wholewheat pasta and a large side salad (with honey dressing)
DESSERT: Rhubarb and banana crunchy crumble (see recipe, above)