Weight loss: Dr Michael Mosley on the best time to lose weight – and why most diets fail

Dr Michael Mosley is a doctor, journalist and author who is best known for his Trust Me, I’m a Doctor television series, as well as his many weight loss diet books. After overhauling his own diet to improve his health, the expert has been helping others to do the same ever since. With a new show out this week, Mosley has been sharing the latest science on how to lose weight – and why so many diets fail. 

For his latest show he is tackling obesity in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic in Channel 4’s Lose a Stone in 21 Days with Michael Mosley. 

The programme will be aired on Wednesday night, but the diet aficionado spoke about the show and his weight loss discoveries on Radio 2 on Monday afternoon.

Speaking to Steve Wright on his afternoon radio show, Mosley revealed that recent research showed two thirds of Britons have put on weight during the lockdown, something he’s hoping to fix with the new documentary. 

The weight gain is likely due to the stress of pandemic as well as having to be stuck at home in lockdown, meaning people are eating more, moving less, and delving into comfort food. 

But Mosley has worked with volunteers who admitted they’d put on some pounds during the last few months to help them change their diet. 

In fact, working with them right away could be the key to helping them slim down, according to the diet expert. 

“The best time to lose the weight is soon after you’ve put it on, that’s what all the science shows,” Mosley said on Radio 2. 

The volunteers had put on as much as 42 pounds during the last few months, but Mosley put them on a new diet to see if they could rapidly drop back to their ideal weight. 

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Mosley put them on an 800 calorie, low-carb diet plan, working with his wife Dr Clare Bailey, a GP who has helped reduce her patients’ blood sugars and even put their diabetes into remission at her surgery in Buckinghamshire. 

The plan is based on the bestselling The Fast 800 book that the couple wrote together, which tells dieters how to drop their weight by eating just 800 calories a day. 

Mosley also told of how Dr Bailey co-authored a new study in Oxford which found that those following the diet could lose over nine kilograms in just eight weeks – and keep it off. 

He said they therefore “knew it was safe and effective” as a diet plan, but didn’t know just how much the participants in the show would lose themselves. 

The expert also said that while he expects the volunteers may put a bit of weight back on after the eight weeks, it’s likely that they’ll be able to maintain their slimmer shape. 

The diet has been proven to have long-term benefits, with a Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT) study, co-led by researchers at the University of Newcastle and the University of Glasgow, finding that though dieters gained some weight afterwards it was “nothing like” those who went slow and steady, according to Mosley. 

He explained that with rapid weight loss plans such as the 800-calorie diet, “you’ll lose more, but you’re likely to keep it off too”. 

So why do so many crash diets fail? According to the journalist, it’s all down to the protein intake. 

Mosley said that anyone hoping to lose weight on the 800 calorie plan needs to eat around 60g of protein a day. 

“If you look at 800 calories, that’s basically a bag of crisps and a sandwich,” he laughed on the radio show. 

He said it’s key to make sure you’re eating the right foods and getting plenty of good quality protein for the diet to work. 

That way you can have three healthy meals a day within the calorie restriction, without feeling like you’re hungry all the time. 

Dr Clare Bailey has helped to create the menu for the plan, based on a healthy Mediterranean-style diet that incorporates foods such as olive oil, fish, nuts, fruit and vegetables, as well as full-fat yoghurts and eggs. 

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