Gymophobics recommends a low carbohydrate diet rather than cutting fats as saturated fat is an important part of a healthy diet, vital for immune function and the absorption of minerals, and it leads to satiation in a way that sugar does not.
A major contributor to this way of eating is the cardiologist Aseem Malhotra whose book ‘The Pioppi Diet’ sets out the health and weight loss benefits inspired by Pioppi, a small fishing village on the south-west coast of Italy, about 90 miles north of Naples, which has a population that frequently manages to live into its tenth decade!
The plan is to live more healthily without drastically cutting calories or exercising excessively. The Pioppi diet is based around avoiding added sugar and refined carbohydrates, and to eat more vegetables and fatty foods like oily fish and olive oil. The plan also recommends physical activity
The 21-day lifestyle plan is designed to help people break their sugar habit and, thereafter, to reintroduce sugar and carbohydrates as a treat. Processed food contains too little fibre, too few omega-3 and too many omega-6 fatty acids, too few micronutrients, too many trans fats and too many emulsifiers.
The plan is as follows: A dietary basis of vegetables, nuts and olive oil. The guide recommends five to seven portions of fibrous veg and low-sugar fruit per day, and at least five of these should be the former. Two to four tablespoons of olive oil and a small handful of nuts every day. Oily fish, such as salmon and sardines (three portions a week as a minimum), eggs (ten per week), full-fat dairy, coconut oil and dark chocolate (30 g a day).
Avoid all added sugars, including those in syrups, fruit juice and honey. Refined carbohydrates, especially those that are flour-based, are to be avoided. This includes pasta, bread and rice, which are to be used for occasional treats and eaten in small portions. Avoid cooking with industrial seed oils like sunflower, canola and corn. Limit red meat to 500 g per week and avoid processed meats.
Fast for 24 hours one day per week. The plan advises starting the fast after dinner one night and skipping breakfast and lunch the next day, consuming only fluids in between.
A small glass of wine can be enjoyed with dinner each day, but stick to ≤14 units per week. Aim for 30 minutes of brisk walking five times a week, avoid sitting still for longer than 45 minutes at a time and spend as much time as possible outside and enjoying nature. Sleep 7 hours a night