Monday 18 December 2017

My skinny days on the OMG diet

Who needs to eat broccoli when you can sip Coke? Emily Jupp gives her verdict on the regime designed to make you thinner than all your friends

You've heard of Dukan, scoffed fat on Atkins, fainted from drinking only honey and lemon water and lost friends from the noxious side-effects of the cabbage diet. Now there's a new one, this time designed to inspire jealousy and help you to "get skinnier than all your friends".

Six Weeks to OMG by British sports scientist and personal trainer Paul Khanna, offers controversial tips, such as skip breakfast, take cold baths and drink black coffee. But for short-term weight loss, can the OMG diet really help you shed pounds?

Consultant Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Linia Patel, Dr Christian Jessen, the presenter of the Bafta award-winning 'Embarrassing Bodies' series, and the celebrity fitness trainer Jay Darrell Ingleton explain the science behind Fulton's unconventional theories. I've also given Fulton's tips a try, in a (highly unscientific) experiment, to see how tough they are to stick to.

• Skip breakfast

Fulton says skipping breakfast will help to stop you becoming a "fadult" (that's a fat adult to you and me). "Breakfast is for wimps!" he writes. He recommends exercising first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and then only eating once three hours have passed, so that your body is forced to burn stored fat rather than food.

The expert view: "Skipping breakfast is a weight-loss disaster," says Patel. "When you wake up your body produces cortisol, a hormone that helps store fat. If you don't eat, you are more likely to gain weight around the middle. Also, you will want sugary and fatty things when you're really hungry."

My experience: I skipped breakfast and still had enough energy to run up the stairs to my office (my daily "workout"). It didn't affect my concentration and I ate breakfast at 10am. It was easy, but I consumed exactly the same amount that I usually eat.

• Drink black coffee before exercise

Fulton says the caffeine in a cup of black coffee will help to boost your exercise routine: "It's nature's cheap and secret potion," he writes.

The expert view:

Dr Christian Jessen says coffee can help, but there's no secret trick to it. "It's a stimulant and that's what I use it for, but it doesn't make your workout more efficient." He also warns that liquids contain calories too.

My experience:

It made me feel more energetic, which probably helped to psyche myself up for the gym.

• Take cold baths

Fulton recommends taking baths of between 15C and 20C to "help you lose calories fast". He says the cold boosts adrenaline, which he reckons is particularly good for burning the fat stored in women's thighs.

The expert view: Ingleton says: "When athletes do it after a workout, it gets blood to the muscles quicker. It has to be freezing otherwise it won't work, but the author is not saying go to that extent. For normal people, it probably won't make much difference to weight-loss."

My experience:

I opt for a cold shower, which is horrible. It feels like my body is in shock and makes my heart race. Afterwards, my skin looks bright and glowing and my clothes feel really warm, but the results don't outweigh the awfulness. I couldn't stick to it every day for six weeks.

• Eat less fruit

Fulton says you should eat as little as one piece of fruit a day during the diet period.

"Fruit can be a cheeky devil," he says, because it contains fructose, which can turn to fat if it isn't burnt off.

The expert view:

"We recommend you eat five pieces of fruit and veg a day, but if you want to lose weight have more vegetables than fruit, as fruit is more calorific. But you're losing out on essential vitamins and minerals," says Patel.

My experience:

I replaced fruit with colourful salads and felt fine, but I missed having a late afternoon snack and bought a coffee loaded with honey instead of fruit - Fulton wouldn't approve.

• Swap broccoli for Coke

Fulton says eating unhealthily in the short-term is OK if it makes you thin. "(For some people) to get skinny", he writes,"it makes no difference whether they get their daily carbs from cans of Coke or from broccoli."

The expert view: Patel says: "If you lay off fibrous carbs like bread, pasta and vegetables then you will be constipated with no energy."

My experience: I am far too fond of my vegetables and regular bowel movements to even attempt this one.

Irish Independent

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