Britons are warned to avoid diet meals and drinks that can make you fatter - here's everything you need to know

Britons are warned to avoid diet meals and drinks that can make you fatter – here’s everything you need to know

A British health expert has warned to be careful with diet foods and drinks – saying they could actually make you fatter.

Respected Professor Tim Spector said that “healthy” alternatives may do more harm than good.

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Brits warned about myths about diet drinks containing artificial sweeteners – and how they can make you fattercredit: scientific
Over-processed foods contain sugars that may make you overeat

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Over-processed foods contain sugars that may make you overeatcredit: Getty
Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King's College London, has issued a warning about the dangers of foods

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Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, has issued a warning about the dangers of ‘diet’ foodscredit: scientific

He said there were “several woefully outdated myths that have benefited the food industry” – which have led to record levels of obesity across the UK.

“I’m convinced diet drinks aren’t the answer either,” he wrote. daily Mail.

He said the artificial sweeteners used in diet drinks may be less healthy than Brits think.

“Although food companies are touting it as a healthy alternative,” he wrote, “it’s a far cry from it.”

He also objected to the claims that “all calories are equal, low-calorie foods are good, artificial sweeteners are healthy and high processing levels are harmless.”

The scientist, working to unravel the secrets of how food is metabolized, has warned Britons that “evidence is no longer accumulating” about the benefits of low-sugar drinks.

Studies have found that the artificial sweeteners used in diet drinks are much less healthy than previously thought.

While lower-calorie options may not directly add to your daily calories, one possible mechanism for how they may cause weight gain is the lack of energy they provide.

The sweetness of the drinks may trick your brain into thinking energy is on its way, causing the body to send signals to eat more to try to regain the energy it was expecting.

A study by the German National Cancer Center earlier this year found that adults who drank sweeteners had “very distinct changes in the composition and function of the gut microbiome” – where the beverage is more likely to lead to diabetes.

This microbial imbalance may be another explanation for the effect of obesity, as gut health plays an important role in our metabolism.

The King’s College London professor also targeted so-called “diet meals”, explaining how they can have the opposite effect by making you hungrier.

“We used to think that the only bad thing about ultra-processed foods like sweetened breakfast cereals, ice cream, packaged soups and sauces and tortilla chips was that they had a lot of fat, sugar and salt,” he said.

“But we ignored the fact that these foods completely lack the natural structure, also known as the food matrix, and are composed of many chemicals, which make us feel hungry, and are associated with an increased risk of disease and early death as shown in several published studies.”

The professor also said processed foods labeled “diet” could lead to overeating.

The metabolic expert added that the sugars that make up ultra-high-temperature processed foods (UPFs) may lead to overeating, even if they are advertised as “diet” foods.

“Another problem with UPFs is that the sugars in them are so readily available that they have been ‘striped’ from their natural food matrix and cause more sugar highs and lows that lead to hunger pangs and therefore overeating.”

Unfortunately for British vegetarians who believe their meat-free diet helps them avoid these risks, those who rely heavily on processed fake meat are at risk.

A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered that vegetarians who consume meat-free UPF are as much risk of early death as those who eat red meat.

Professor Spector’s tips for a healthy diet

Use real butter

While margarine is no longer full of trans fats due to its association with high cholesterol and heart disease risk, the jury is still out on its use.

Instead, Tim suggests opting for real butter or extra-virgin olive oil, which is rich in polyphenols.

Avoid ‘healthy’ potato chips

Despite their low sugar and salt content, many “healthy” potato chips remain under ultra-processing.

Avoid these products, which are often packed with more than 14 ingredients, emulsifiers, and flavorings, for simple crispy fries with just two or three being the best option—in moderation.

Stay away from iceberg lettuce

Although it is one of the most popular salad fillings, iceberg lettuce remains one of the least nutritious lettuce options.

Instead, opt for colored leaves, which have a much stronger nutritional powerhouse.

“If you’re counting on an iceberg to have one of your ‘five a day,’ you’d need 500 a day,” Tim said.

Nuts are underrated

Nuts have often received a bad reputation, but a nutritionist warned that we may have overestimated their calorie content by as much as a quarter.

Studies show that nuts can reduce your risk of obesity by 20 percent if you eat five servings a week.

Their high protein and fiber content can make you feel full faster, and can have all-important metabolism benefits.

Give peaches a chance

Plums may not be everyone’s favorite fruit, but they do offer a variety of health benefits.

Besides their reputation as a remedy for constipation, they are digestive aids, nutritious, and contain a healthy amount of fiber.


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