Not even our three nutritionists completely agree on the best ways to lose weight. But here are the common tips from all three.
Eat three full meals a day.
Eat small, frequent meals no more than three hours apart if you are a woman or five hours if you are a man (male metabolism is slower).
Always eat breakfast porridge oats are a particularly good choice.
Eat plenty of unrefined complex carbohydrates, including: wholewheat bread, wholemeal pasta, potatoes, brown rice, millet, oats, rye (but decrease amounts if you don't shed pounds or continue to gain).
Make greens the main staple of your diet. Eat plenty of fruit and drink diluted pure fruit juice.
Reduce, preferably avoid, stimulants, including tea, coffee, chocolate, tobacco and canned drinks that contain caffeine.
Substitute with herbal teas, grain coffee, spring water and diluted pure juices. Avoid decaffeinated, which still contains other stimulants.
Always eat so that you are satisfied, then stop. Eat slowly and savour your food. This will cut out your chances of overeating.
Graze in between meals. John Briffa recommends fruit as an ideal between meal snack.
If you have problems with blood sugar levels, take supplements of chromium, vitamin B3 and magnesium, which can help improve blood sugar stability and control symptoms of hypoglycaemia.
Develop the habit of reading labels carefully. Choose foods with the shortest ingredients, ideally all organic whole foods.
Avoid refined carbohydrates anything "white" in general refined sugar or the foods containing it, including chocolate, sweets, biscuits, pastries, soft drinks.
Also avoid convenience foods, as they are likely to contain refined carbohydrates, sugar and high levels of fat and salt.
Make sure that your thyroid is functioning normally, and take steps to improve its function (see WDDTY vol 7 no 7 and PROOF! vol 3 no 2).
Reduce your intake of dairy products and meat. Trim off all white fat.
Ensure that you are getting adequate amounts of essential fatty acids and cut down on your intake of saturated fats. According to Udo Erasmus, hemp oil contains the correct ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 essential fatty acids, even more than linseed oil.
Avoid foods that have been hydrogenated, which create trans fats that are stored as fat.
Use maple syrup, concentrated apple juice, barley malt and date syrup as substitutes for sweeteners. If you use honey, do so sparingly and avoid those which are blended or a product of more than one country, as they are often heated to high temperatures.
Reduce your intake of salt, which retains water.
Investigate whether you have allergies or candida albicans overgrowth, both of which can keep excess weight on (see WDDTY's Guide to Candida and ME).
Take supplements of B vitamins, vitamin C, choline and inositol, which help to turn food into energy or transport fat. For minerals, make sure you are taking supplements of zinc, which helps in control of appetite and cravings, chromium, which helps weight loss, and manganese, which helps to metabolise fats. Coenzyme Q10 also has been shown to aid in fast weight loss (Biomedical and Clinical Aspects of Coenzyme Q10, 1984: 4: 369).
The plant garcinia cambogia (malabar tamarind), whose active ingredient is marketed as Citrimax, has been shown to curb appetite, reduce food intake and inhibit fat formation.