New Year dieters should ditch the celery and salads and tuck in to shepherd’s pie and steak instead – and even indulge in cream on their dessert – according to a leading academic.
Most diets are ‘destined to fail’ because they are too strict and don’t have enough fat in them, says Harvard University nutritionist Dr David Ludwig.
Traditional low-fat diets, in which fats are replaced by carbohydrates and sugars, fuel a vicious circle of hunger by throwing the body into ‘starvation mode’, he says.
Speaking to The Mail on Sunday Dr Ludwig, a practising medic, said low-fat diets popularised since the 1970s had ‘not only fuelled the obesity epidemic but also contributed to cardiovascular disease’.
The theory that high-calorie fat should be eliminated because all calories were created equal was ‘profoundly misguided’, he said, adding: ‘With low-fat diets, you are destined to fail.’
He said his book, based on 20 years of research, was an attempt to counter the low-fat dogma.
This was because the body had evolved to become super-efficient when food was scarce and humans had to forage for survival.
The secret was instead to eat ‘luscious’ and ‘hearty’ meals which fed the body properly and kept hunger at bay for longer, he said.
Examples of meals that he and his chef wife Dawn have come up with include Melt-In-Your-Mouth Lamb Shanks; Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower Topping; and Steak Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing.
Desserts can be slathered in home-made chocolate sauce, using dark chocolate, or cream – as long as no sugar was added.
But it was essential to cut out sugars and refined carbohydrates which lead to fat cells ‘hoarding’ calories, he said.
Dr Aseem Malhotra, a London cardiologist and adviser to the National Obesity Forum, welcomed Dr Ludwig’s approach.
He said: ‘The low-fat diet has been one of the biggest disasters in modern medicine, and in my view has fuelled the obesity epidemic. It’s time we stopped counting calories and ate real food.’