I had put on a little weight in those years, so I began to change my eating habits.
I saw a TV documentary about what later became the 5:2 diet and tried this with some success. When I had a cortisone injection and was able to cycle again I found the 5:2 rather annoying as I had to eat when my cycle trips became longer.
This whole time I was looking at the latest research and studies on diet and health and was discovering something I did not at first believe. Eating fat might actually improve your health !
I have come a long way since then. I never stopped reading the latest developments and research and I reduced my carbohydrate intake in favor of fat. My weight dropped and then stabilized. It changes slightly depending on what type and volume of exercise I have been doing.
Most people, including the Nutrionists that advise the government seem to think that fats are bad for you, in particular saturated fat (SFA). They say they cause Cardiovascular Disease ( CVD ) and Coronary Heart Disease ( CHD ). So lets look at the latest evidence.
Since I started more and more research has been published supporting the fact that most fats are not harmful but actually healthy ! One of my favourite studies found that eating yoghurt regularly decreased your chances of heart disease.
The consumption of yogurt, and other dairy products, in observational studies is associated with a reduced risk of weight gain and obesity, as well as CVD, and these findings are, in part, supported by randomized trials. However, Replacing SFAs with carbohydrates of high glycemic index is also associated with a higher risk of CHD.
So beware of choosing Low Fat Yoghurt. They probably have taken out the healthy SFA's and replaced it with sugar !
What to Eat
This is going to depend a lot on how much exercise you do and you're age. Making it simple.
1. Please ignore the UK GDA ( Guidline Daily Amouint )
Here is what is recommended by the industry funded government advisers
I'm afraid it's complete nonsense and quite meaningless. For instance, performance athletes and anyone over 37 should be eating 2g per Kg lean mass of protein a day. So around 110g for me. Also that amount of carbs on a sedentary ( normal ) person is going to make them FATTER !
Also they are ripping you off, it only adds up to 1870cals.
If I go out for a cycle which I know will be at a decent pace and over 90 minutes I WILL consume carbohydrates. I adopt a before, during and after formula. That's all you need to know for now :)
I've learned that we can all drastically reduce our carbohydrate intake and replace the lost calories with good fat.
The thing about cholesterol is that people get excited if its high. Over five is meant to be high but most people in the UK are 5.5 It's split into HDL and LDL ( high density lipoprotein and low density lipoprotein ). It's in the body for a reason, it carries the necessary molecules around to make repairs in you're arteries. HDL is called good :) and LDL is bad ( more on this later ).
When you get a test at the doctor's they will tell you the Total cholesterol, the HDL count and the ratio.
Example Tot 5.8 HDL 1.7 Ratio 3.4, HDL should be over 1 and a good level is 1.5, if the percentage of HDL to Total is 20% then the risk of CHD is average if it's greater then the risk goes down. In this example the percentage is 1.7/5.8(*100/1) = 29% so very good !
The above example is me on a LCHF diet for 18 months !!
It is of course a wee bit more complicated. For years researchers have been finding out that LDL has two types or patterns larger more buoyant type A and a smaller denser type B. The Type A don't seem to pose a risk, however the Type B have been associated with a greater risk of CHD.
The vast majority (but not all) show a significant univariate association of small, dense LDL with increased coronary heart disease (CHD) risk. (Low-density lipoprotein size and cardiovascular risk assessment, M Rizzo, K Berneis 2005)
What's more frightening is that the Type B are linked to the consumption of carbohydrates.
More research is always needed but the majority of the latest research strengthens the theory ( scientific theory = fact backed up by evidence ) that carbohydrates and not fats are undoubtedly responsible not only for obesity and type 2 diabetes but also CVD and CHD.