Curb sugar cravings and reverse your risk of diabetes: Breakfast burritos, crispy fish fillet and Mediterranean salad with eggs... DR MICHAEL MOSLEY's mouth-watering plan to get you trim and healthy

When you are young it feels as if you can eat anything and not put on weight. But most of us gain about a pound a year from our mid-20s onwards.
That's what happened to me. From being a slim 11st at medical school my weight slowly crept up until, in my 50s, it had reached 13½st.
I didn't think of myself as being particularly overweight. It didn't occur to me that my love of chocolate was putting my health at risk.
But I am eternally grateful for the blood test I had in 2012 that revealed I had type 2 diabetes, and for the research that showed that I could get my blood sugar levels back to normal by losing weight. It gave me the jolt I needed.
When you are young it feels as if you can eat anything and not put on weight. But most of us gain about a pound a year from our mid-20s onwards [File photo]
When you are young it feels as if you can eat anything and not put on weight. But most of us gain about a pound a year from our mid-20s onwards [File photo]
These days, the science is even clearer. If you are very overweight, with a large stomach, then your risk of developing type 2 diabetes is 11 times greater than if you are slim.
That's because when we eat more than we need, fat gathers around the gut, clogging the liver and pancreas, stopping them from working properly. 
Research has shown that by losing weight rapidly you can clear that abdominal fat and the organs start working normally again. Even if you are just a bit overweight there is a higher risk.
By losing 20lb eight years ago, I did put my diabetes into remission, as have thousands of others. That's why the NHS recommends diets for diabetics.
Now, with a possible winter resurgence of Covid-19 the importance of losing weight is stark. Research shows being significantly overweight increases the risk of complications if you get the virus, and having high blood sugar multiplies your risk.
This week, I have been telling the inspirational stories of the 30 volunteers on our Shape Up Britain weight-loss challenge.
On my Fast800 online plan they ate delicious meals from recipes like those in today's paper, which are packed with Mediterranean-style ingredients rich in protein and healthy fats. Because they are low in carbohydrates they keep you feeling full, while blood sugar levels stay on track.
I am delighted volunteers, like Jackie Frith, 51, a life coach from Sheffield, saw blood sugar levels drop after eight weeks on the Fast800 online plan.
And Dominic Havercroft, 37, a truck dealership branch manager, also from Sheffield, found his blood sugar levels had switched from prediabetic (borderline type 2) to normal. 

Covid and obesity 

Losing weight is no longer about looking good or fitting into skinny jeans — it's about your health. Being overweight can mean raised blood sugar levels and type 2 diabetes, which make you more prone to infection. High blood sugar unleashes destructive molecules which affect the body's defences.
Those with raised blood sugar tend to have damaged blood vessels. Covid-19 attacks the vessels which, if already damaged, can mean a heart attack or stroke.
Covid-19 also causes blood to clot, particularly in those with elevated blood sugar levels, which means those with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes are in the biggest trouble.
If you are overweight, your immune system will be much less effective, initially, at dealing with the virus and stopping it spreading. Later on, your immune system is more likely to over-react and damage healthy tissue.
But thankfully, it's not all bad news. Research by Professor Roy Taylor in Newcastle upon Tyne has shown the best way to return blood sugar levels to normal is by losing a lot of weight fast — and that's why I was able to reverse my diabetes in a few months. 

The magic number  

Although sticking to 800 calories a day sounds hard, our recipes offer all the protein, fibre and essential nutrients you need to stay full and healthy.
You might think you will swiftly run out of energy but if you limit your daily intake to 800 calories, particularly if you avoid carbohydrates, it triggers beneficial metabolic changes.
Most of us have enough fuel (in the form of fat) to keep us going for months. Normally your body treats the fat like money in the bank which is only to be used when your blood sugar levels fall. But when you follow the Fast800 programme, your body starts looking for energy in the form of glucose stored in your muscles and liver, called glycogen.
As glycogen stores start to run low (ten-12 hours after your last meal), your body goes through a remarkable change, switching to fat-burning mode.
When this happens, fat is released from your stores and converted into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The process is called 'ketosis'. Your brain and body will use these for energy.
The longer you can avoid sugar and cut back on carbs the longer you should be able to preserve this fat-burning state. 

Cut down on carbs 

Avoiding potatoes, bread, pasta, rice and noodles on 800-calorie 'fasting' days will speed up weight loss. Instead, pack your plate with vegetables.
They supply key vitamins and minerals and fight inflammation, a cause of disease.
Although breakfast cereals, cakes, sweets, biscuits and soft drinks are out, you can enjoy full-fat Greek yoghurt and the occasional glass of red wine.
Many volunteers used to have a diet full of sugar and refined carbs.
But the Fast800 plan has given them a healthier way to eat, banishing their carb addiction and sweet tooth.
Anna Powell, 46, who runs a sweet shop in Chudleigh in Devon, with husband Lee, says: 'I've swapped sweet snacks for nuts but mostly I don't snack at all.'
Curb sugar cravings and reverse your risk of diabetes: Breakfast burritos, crispy fish fillet and Mediterranean salad with eggs... DR MICHAEL MOSLEY's mouth-watering plan to get you trim and healthy Curb sugar cravings and reverse your risk of diabetes: Breakfast burritos, crispy fish fillet and Mediterranean salad with eggs... DR MICHAEL MOSLEY's mouth-watering plan to get you trim and healthy Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 04:28 Rating: 5

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