Doctors dish out diet advice every day, but what exactly do they eat? Alice Whitehead finds out...
They explain treatment plans, prescribe medicines and soothe our concerns about illnesses. But in an era of obesity and weight problems, many doctors have also become dietitians; suggesting nutritional changes that can help us slim down and reduce our chances of contracting serious conditions such as heart disease and stroke, diabetes and cancer.
But do they practice what they preach when it comes to what they put in their own mouths? We go behind the scenes to find out how doctors stick to a healthy eating plan, find out what habits they swear by and what helps them stay on track when treats beckon.
“I often cook at home”
TV doctor Dr Xand van Tulleken, an ambassador for blood testing company werlabs.co.uk says:
“Junk food is designed to make manufacturers rich and not to make us feel well. If you want to eat chips every day, try making chips from scratch – and see how much harder it is. It’s such a faff to make homemade ice cream; you’ll think ‘I’ll have an apple instead’! I avoid processed food and cook as much as possible.”
“I try to eat more mindfully”
Dr Peter Foley, a GP based in Somerset and contributor to the diabetes.co.uk advisory panel says:
“I avoid eating when I’m preparing food. Before you know it, you’ve eaten half your meal while standing up. I also try to not eat while I’m on my smartphone, laptop or watching TV. By making your meal one of the focal points of the day you can be more mindful of what you are eating and feel more satisfied when finished.”
“I concentrate on colour”
TV doctor and obesity expert Dr Ian W Campbell MBE says:
“A plate full of beige food is rarely healthy. But a plate of reds, greens and everything in between is invariably full of nutrient-providing and calorie-controlling fruit and vegetables. I still enjoy meat and carbs, but my plate is more than half full of salad leaves, tomatoes, cruciferous veg and legumes. It takes a little extra time to prepare but it tastes so much nicer.”
“I gave up on fad diets”
Dr Terrina Dickson, a GP at private hospital The Edinburgh Clinic says:
“Like a lot of people I have fallen off the diet wagon – it’s only natural. I’m happy to admit I have tried fad diets but they just don’t work. Fad/crash dieting will help you lose weight in the short term but is difficult to maintain. Our body has a basal metabolic rate, which is the minimum amount of energy required for 24 hours, so to lose weight you still need to have at least your minimum calorie intake. Slow and steady wins the race!”
“I always eat protein with every meal”
Dr. Emil Hodzovic, doctor with online blood testing company medichecks.com says:
“Upping my protein automatically excludes most high-calorie snacks and means my choices in restaurants tend to be slightly better. The body takes extra effort to digest protein so it produces more heat in the process and therefore burns more calories, helps maintain and build muscle, and keeps you feeling fuller for longer.”
“Instead of snacking, I drink”
Dr Gill Jenkins, from the tea advisory panel (teaadvisorypanel.com) says:
“I slowly drink a glass of water then wait 15 minutes while I do a chore before I can consider a snack. Often that means my stomach is full of water and I’ve got past the ‘urge’ to eat. I also drink four mugs of tea a day as this fills me up with no real calories, hydrates me and also has heart and bone benefits thanks to its polyphenol properties.”