Throw away the fruit? ... dramatic approach to dieting.

Throw away the fruit? ... dramatic approach to dieting.

Dieters are often made to feel bad about their pursuit of skinniness, but why shouldn't we celebrate it, asks Venice A Fulton, author of the controversial e-book, Six Weeks to OMG.

"You can talk ethics all day, and constantly blame the media, but the truth is if you have a problem with others wanting to get skinny, you've got a problem with our body's design," he says. "The minute we carry extra chunk, we're adding to whole host of [health] problems, a list so long, it's too scary to look at ... people who look after themselves aren't vain, they're smart."

Fulton is certainly no shrinking violet. Nor is he afraid to go against the status quo.

Among the contentious claims in his book are that it's good to skip breakfast; certain fruits instantly block fat loss; small frequent meals are damaging; juices and smoothies cause overeating and that broccoli carbs can be worse than those from Coke.

Understandably, there has been a strong reaction. In an op-ed article titled Six weeks to OMG: the diet that will make you disappear, writer Marianne Kirby of The Guardian said: "With its exhortation to 'get skinnier than all your friends', has a self-help book ever been as direct in its appeal to base instincts?

"But beyond the ludicrous guidelines ... I'm not sure a diet book has ever been this 'honest' about the root of the motivation that a lot of women (and men, who seem to increasingly be falling prey to this) feel for dieting. This book is indeed using psychology – but it's using it against its readers."

Yet, despite its critics, the book is outselling The Dukan Diet on iTunes and Fulton is unrepentant.

"Of course, there are critics," he says.  "I remember telling a doctor, 'Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, to skip'.  He walked away angrily, and lit a cigarette. Science knows that the world isn't flat, and yet its so hesitant to set sail and reach new horizons."

Of the suggestion to skip breakfast, he says that it works because it gives us the chance to live off our supply of body fat.

"We've been listening to the same diet rules for years and they've become so ingrained in our culture that we won't listen to anything new,' The Daily Mail reports. "In 2000, French researchers reporting in the British Journal of Nutrition were among the first to show that a typical high-energy breakfast of toast, yoghurt and fruit actually blocked fat loss throughout the entire day." 

He also refutes the claim that breakfast kickstarts the metabolism. "Metabolism, or your metabolic rate, is simply the speed at which bodily processes are carried out," he says. "So our metabolism is always on, it's just slower when we're asleep. When we get up, light hits the eyes, melatonin (the sleep hormone) shuts down and the brain knows we're ready to go. All bodily processes rev up, including hormones that affect how we deal with food. In a nutshell, when we wake up, the metabolism wakes up."

Another way to give your metabolism a cold hard wake-up call is with an icy bath each morning.

"If you expose the body to cold temperatures, it will use stored body fat as fuel to keep you warm," he says. "In 2002, research in the Journal of Applied Physiology reported that cold water exposure could increase body fat burning by 376 per cent."

Cold showers will do the trick too, but not as effectively, he says. "Anything that makes you feel cold forces your body to ramp up heat production and lots of this energy comes from stored fat. But for the most powerful metabolic boost, a cold bath is best, as there's so much heat absorbing water in direct contact with the skin."

A tip that is likely to get a warmer response is to kickstart your morning with caffeine. "Coffee is a great fat loss tool, if used correctly," he says. "The caffeine urges fat cells to spill their contents into the bloodstream, where working muscles can then make use of it."

But, he warns against using a spoonful of sugar to help your morning medicine go down.

"If you add sugar or milk to your morning java, you raise insulin, a big no-no. Insulin tells the body that food is coming in, making it impossible for fat cells to let the naughty stuff out. Artificial sweeteners could cause problems too, although research is inconsistent. Stick to the pure black gold."

The mini-storm in a coffee cup, that the book has created, is exactly Fulton's intention.

He says he was frustrated "watching people pour their effort into old-fashioned diets destined to fail; and ... knowing that there were solutions that no-one had the guts to put forward.

"People are fed up with being told what to do, without being told why. I don't have recipes in the book, because I know by the time readers reach the last page, they'll know how to do things themselves."

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