THE PIOPI DIET
Pioppi is one of those southern-Italian Villages where people live to a ripe old age, and it’s also the subject of a new book called The Pioppi Diet by Dr Aseem Malhotra and Donal O’Neill(Penguin, £8.99). The book promises to help you lose weight and drastically reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes so I’d expected it to be an eating regimen based around the Mediterranean diet – as advertised –but it’s actually a low-carb, high-fat (LCHF)diet that recommends lots of fish, veg and olive oil, while cutting out bread and pasta and avoiding all added sugars.As well as the un-Mediterranean lack of carbs, the use of coconut oil is also out of keeping with traditional Mediterranean-style eating, as is the recommended use of a weekly fast (this diet recommends going without food from dinnertime to dinnertime once a week).Would I recommend it? I can see that,with the low carbs and fasting, you’d lose weight and improve blood-sugar control in the short term, but this diet appears to be promoting the idea that people can eat as much saturated fat as they like. The true Mediterranean diet is low in saturated fat– typically around nine per cent of energy– and current UK intakes are 12.7 percent in adults, so already higher than desirable In fact, I’d say the Pioppi Diet is actually further away from Mediterranean-style principles than most international healthy-eating guidelines, including the Eatwell Guide in the UK…
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Depression is a terrible affliction but I Believe it can be helped with the right nutrition. However, many people lose interest in cooking decent food for themselves when they’re feeling low.That’s where supplements can be useful and why I was interested in a new study from the University of Vermont that shows a magnesium supplement taken by depressed people on top of their existing treatment was linked with an improvement in their symptoms.Unfortunately, the study wasn’t blinded(people knew what they were taking) sothe improvements could have been down to a placebo effect. But depression symptoms improved by an average six points on a scale of 0 to 27 after the people took magnesium for six weeks.We know magnesium plays a role in many of the biological processes involved in mood regulation, so taking a supplement could be useful – but do eat whole grains, Brazil nuts and greens too.
SHOULD I MAKE KEFIR?
Q Is it safe to make kefir yourself?
A Homemade kefir is made by combining fresh milk with Kefir ‘grains’(a culture made up of yeasts and lactic-acid bacteria) to make a fermented dairy drink product packed with good bugs. America’s National Center for Home Food Preservation says it’s unlikely that kefir would cause foodborne illness because the acidity of properly fermented kefir (pH less than 4.5)inhibits the growth of pathogens. E. coli, listeria and some salmonella species could still grow, though, so you need to be careful with hygiene. And Use only quality kefir grains from a reputable source – try symbiome.co.uk or the Mad Millie brand from Lakeland. Because of the small risk, avoid giving homemade kefir to the elderly, very young or the chronically ill, for example.
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