And if you thought Coke Zero was the answer, you may need to think again.

Even taking the sugar out and replacing it with other super sweet chemicals may not help that much as this article about new research from Australia explains:
It seems that artificial sweeteners may also impair the body’s ability to control glucose. It’s only one study, but, given that the insulin response to food intake begins when you pick up a menu, it makes sense to me that eating any sweet things (and artificial sweeteners are really sweet) is going to mess around with your insulin.

If a sugar free sugar drink was ever an answer, what on earth was the question? 

(updated) Sugar – first corruption, then illness and now madness… and maybe an additive drug…

An interesting book from James Walvin on the history of sugar from its beginnings as a luxury item of the then super rich, to the creation of the slave trade and its mass marketing to Europe and North America, to the role it plays today in the human diet across the globe. The influence of sugar has been catastrophic for the people whose lives were destroyed first by slavery and then by indentured labour but also for the environment of the  tropical areas taken over by sugar cane production that were utterly changed forever by sugar plantations. Its effect on human health has also been catastrophic first on the teeth of the super rich followed by the teeth of everyone as this noxious substance became a staple food. Walvin makes the point that even after all the years of free dental health for children in the UK, their oral health has not improved. The number of teeth that are extracted from children because they are rotten is going up not down. That surely must make people stop and think. The link between sugar and rotten teeth isn’t theoretical, it’s real, and a point that has been made over and over and over again…

… this survey echoes the need to urgently reduce the amount of sugary snacks and drinks…


He ends by considering the role that sugar is playing in the global obesity/T2 diabetes crisis that is currently engulfing the world and whether human beings’ craving for sweetness can ever be constrained. He talks about the sugar taxes that have been tried around the world and their varying level of effectiveness. We are about to begin our own experiment in the UK with the so called “soft drinks levy” on sugary drinks. He marvels that Coca-cola is now proudly advertising itself for what it DOESN’T contain – sugar – than what it DOES contain (not much that you would want to put inside you in my view). However this morning I think I encountered true madness in a free handout at my train station this morning… sugar free Lucozade. My 150ml freebie can says it contains a feeble 6 kilocalories.

Wikipedia tells me that:

Lucozade is a soft drink marketed as a range of sports and energy drinks. Created in 1927 as “Glucozade” by a Newcastle pharmacist, William Owen, as an energy source for the sick, it was renamed Lucozade in 1929 and acquired by Beecham’s in 1938.

Hospital visitors in the UK would regularly arrive with a bottle of Lucozade. The product is a glucose–water solution; as of 2016 a 500 ml bottle contained 62 grams (15.5 cubes) of sugar, more than Coca-Cola. Beecham, known since 2000 as GlaxoSmithKline, rebranded it as a sports drink in 1983 to associate it with health rather than sickness, switched to a plastic bottle, and introduced a range of flavours.

So there you have it, the UK sugar tax’s first triumph, the creation of an almost completely energy free, energy drink!! I won’t be drinking my free sample.


And right on time, along comes a paper in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggesting that sugar acts in some ways like a drug of addiction:

“Consuming sugar produces effects similar to that of cocaine, altering mood, possibly through its ability to induce reward and pleasure, leading to the seeking out of sugar.”

And just for completeness, it may cause depression too but strangely only in men…

So there you have it. Corruption, illness, madness, addiction and (if you are a man) depression. One lump or two?




You can actually feel this doing you good as you eat it! 

Chilled beetroot soup with soured cream and garnished with fresh dill on a summer’s day.

And it’s so easy! 

For six generous servings you need about 1.5 pints of good chicken stock (bone broth), one medium red onion, 3 large-ish cooked and peeled beetroots, a couple of bay leafs, soured cream and fresh dill. 

I take the fat from the top of the stock (the layer of fat has sealed the stock and kept it fresh) and fry off the finely diced onion. If you have had to buy the stock you can fry off the onion in lard or butter. As the onion frys roughly dice the cooked and peeled beetroot. I roasted my beetroot the day before for about and hour wrapped in foil and just put the in the fridge still wrapped in the foil. The skin just falls off when you peel them.

When the onion is soft – don’t let it brown – add the stock, chopped beetroot and bay leaf and boil for 5-10 minutes. Fish the bay leafs out (don’t forget to do this!!) and blitz the soup until smooth. To get it really smooth I then push the soup through a fine mesh metal seive with the back of a spoon and discard the fibrous bits that won’t go through.

Take your soup to the fridge and chill until really cold. 

Serve garnished with soured cream and chopped fresh dill. Delicious.

Summer in a soup bowl. You’re welcome! 

Are you a carboholic?

As Re-Find Health are frequently reminding me, the journalist and author of among other things The Case Against Sugar , Gary Taubes will be in London in November speaking at a seminar held over two days. Should be interesting!

One question my clients frequently ask me about cutting out refined carbohydrates is whether it is possible to just have a bit… the odd piece of toast, a croissant, maybe some jam? To which the answer is “Yes, of course it is but once you have weaned yourself off processed carbohydrates you’ll pay for it if you eat them. Symptoms may include nausea, diarrhoea, bloating, headaches, water retention and unexpected and sudden spikes in your weight. Still want a slice of toast?” To which the answer is frequently “Yes I do.” And they eat what it is they crave and all my dire predictions as to what will happen to them come true. They then have a miserable few days feeling awful while they repair the damage and wean themselves off the carbs again. Why put yourself through such self-inflicted torture?

Here’s an interesting article from the New York Times written by Gary Taubes where he suggests that carbohydrates may actually be addictive and sugar particularly so.

He suggests that for most carbs it may be the insulin response that causes the addiction as insulin both stops fat burning and clears sugar from the blood stream, removing the body’s two main sources of energy and causing the desire to eat more carbs. I think it goes a bit deeper than that in the case of wheat. I think there is enough evidence out there that suggest that the gliadin protein in modern wheat acts on the brain in the same way as opiate drugs (such as heroin) do.

Supermarkets exploit this by taking the vapour from the in store “bakery” and injecting it into the ventilation system so that you can smell the bread all over the store. It’s particularly noticeable at Easter when the whole shop smells of hot cross buns. The shop is simply reminding you that you are addicted. 

So when my clients come to me complaining of feeling ill after eating bread after they have tried so hard to come off it, I don’t criticise, I sympathise. They have a real addiction that is terribly hard to conquer.

A real meal in 35 minutes… proper fast food

Some days you simply cannot get away from work when you would like to and that means you get home later than usual. The time you have and, to be frank, the inclination to spend time you do have cooking a real meal can be much less than usual. At times like that there can be a great temptation to reach for the fast food.

That happened to me today. I got home at 7:25pm and I like to eat no later than 8pm. This is especially true this week as I am intermittent fasting. More on this when I have some results but I am restricting my food intake to my evening meal only. So I was late home with 35 minutes before the latest I wanted to eat. Reaching for the fast food was inevtible so I reached for oven cooked salmon and sauted fennel with garden salad

I admit, I had an inkling I would be delayed today so I shopped for the main ingredients at the weekend but this is in no way a complex recipe. I had bought a 500g side of salmon and a single bulb of fennel. I had store cupboard lemons, olive and coconut oil, herb dill and salad from the garden.

First off I seared the salmon in coconut oil in the same pan that I was going to cook the fennel. 

I got the oven pan ready with foil ready prepared with a bed of olive oil, the fronds from the fennel bulb, some fresh dill from the garden and slices of lemon. You are not going to eat these so don’t worry if they are rough looking. When the salmon has a good colour lift it into the pan leaving the coconut oil behind and put the same lemon and herb on top. 10 minutes have gone so far.

Parcel up the salmon in the foil and place in a reasonably hot oven. While the fish is cooking wash your salad and dry it – that takes no more than 10 minutes tops. 15 minutes left until 8pm!

Wash your fennel bulb and thinly slice and saute in the coconut oil left in the pans from searing the salmon. That’s going to take almost all the remaining 15 minutes for a single fennel bulb. When the fennel is soft and lightly brown it’s ready. Take the salmon from the oven and carefully unwrap – watch out for scalding hot steam! 

It’s 8pm the fish and fennel are perfectly cooked, the salad is waiting, all you have to do is put it on a plate, add some Celtic salt if you want and eat it.

A proper primal meal, made with real food in 35 minutes? No bother! Enjoy. 🙂 

Two more reasons…

… to ditch the carbs (as if you needed them):

Amy Berger (she of the Tuit Nutrition blog)

Insulin, insulin, insulin.

undertakes a forensic examination of why poorly managed insulin and excessive carbohydrate intake damages the ability of brain cells to respire and may lead to Alzheimer’s and other lesser cognitive problems. Alzheimer’s is increasingly being referred to as “type 3 diabetes” and is becoming more prevalent as a disease.

Radio 4’s The Food Programme bravely explored the links between diet and Alzheimer’s here

Travis Christofferson considers the role of metabolism in the development of cancer. A surprisingly old idea that we seem to have forgotten about as we searched for cancer’s genetic secret… which doesn’t seem to exist. A book Cancer Research UK should read. Obesity doesn’t cause cancer… obesity and cancer are both consequence of poor insulin control and general metabolic damage caused by the over consumption of carbohydrates.

I’ll say it again, these are not new diseases and the answers are not new – Amy Berger cites TL Cleve from the 1950s – as I do. Travis refers to the Warbugh effect*, again described in the 1950s

… this survey echoes the need to urgently reduce the amount of sugary snacks and drinks…

We simply forgot the truth. Its time we remembered it. The healthy human condition relies on fat metabolism not carbohydrate metabolism. Thats why are genes are programmed to store many many many times more calories as saturated fat rather than glucose. Listen to the background music.

Given the choice of Alzheimer’s or cancer or something else, my advice would be die of something else.

*In oncology, the Warburg effect is the observation that most cancer cells predominantly produce energy by a high rate of glycolysis followed by lactic acid fermentation in the cytosol,rather than by a comparatively low rate of glycolysis followed by oxidation of pyruvate in mitochondria as in most normal cells. The latter process is aerobic (uses oxygen).


Weeknight fast (real) food 

I don’t get home until about 8pm on a Thursday as I run a high intensity interval class in the evening. I’ve run the class for quite a few years now and I have a lovely group of super enthusiastic regulars who seem to enjoy the buzz from the intense work out. I don’t believe that high intensity interval training (HIIT) by itself is sufficient – “fitness” is a combination of respiratory efficiency, strength and flexibility- but it is a useful component of cardiovascular training.

If you are doing it right, an HIIT work out should take you close to your maximum heart rate for brief intervals – no more than 30 seconds – followed by a recovery period at least as long as the work interval the objective being to get your heart rate back down before you send it back up in the next interval. There are loads of protocols available online using all sorts of equipment and none. Sprinting uphill and jogging back down is highly effective.

Anyway back to my point, I get in late and I want something quick and easy and no fuss. Rough and ready burgers and salad fit the bill perfectly.  I take 500g of organic beef mince and roughly form it by hand into 4 patties and throw it on a griddle for about 15 minutes, turning every couple of minutes.

While they are cooking I fish around in the refrigerator for whatever salad is available. This time of year it has mostly come from the garden. If there’s an avocado in there I will add that too as I think it goes great with burgers, it acts like lubricant as pure beef burgers can be a little dry.

By the time I have got the salad on the plate with a spoon of real mayonnaise, the burgers are ready and my perfectly primal dinner is ready. The little flowers are watercress. All it needs now is a sprinkle of celtic salt and you’re good to go.

Celtic Salt

Only 20 minutes start to sitting down to eat. Rough and ready Thursday night burgers. Perfect.