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Cunningly low carb comfort food: Cutting back on carbohydrates isn’t so hard

Once you’ve made the commitment to lose weight, you know you will have to step away from sugary puddings, say ‘no’ to biscuits and chocolate, and eat much less food than you’re used to.

No one says dieting is easy. The good news is I have used the latest scientific thinking on appetite and fat metabolism to create a rapid weight-loss plan that will not only help you drop weight quickly but be less likely to be tormented by hunger and cravings.

My exciting new Fast 800 Keto formula, as I outlined in Saturday’s Daily Mail in the first part of this major series, is based around eating more protein and less carbs. The pounds you shed will be stubborn, difficult-to-shift fat, not muscle.

The science shows when you cut back on carbohydrates your body goes into a state called ‘ketosis’ where it actively burns fat.

Dr Michael Mosley and his wife Dr Clare Bailey, who is a GP. Dr Mosley has revealed his revolutionary Fast 800 Keto diet, and has offered low-carb comfort foods to keep you on track

To achieve ketosis, you have to stop feeding your body sugar or carbs that easily raise your blood sugar. So for the first phase of the diet, carb-rich bread, cereals, cakes, biscuits, pasta and potatoes are off the table and out of the house.

Even a biscuit or a small chocolate bar could be enough to tip your body out of ketosis.

We also recommend avoiding starchy vegetables and most fruit (except berries) in this initial rapid weight-loss stage. But that doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in meals which are just as satisfying as carbohydrate-rich dishes.

As I wrote my Fast 800 Keto book, my wife Dr Clare Bailey was working with health writer Kathryn Bruton and nutritional therapist Caroline Barton in the kitchen to create clever, calorie-counted, nutritious recipes to keep you feeling full and satisfied.

As their chief recipe tester, I might be biased, but some of their most clever creations are the cunningly no-carb comfort foods here.

I’m a convert to cauliflower rice, deliciously doughy pizza made from almond flour and no-carb cheesy biscuits — there’s no reason to miss classic carbs at all!

The good news is, when you reach stage two of the Fast 800 diet plan (see box below), you have more flexibility in your diet. You will be aiming for ketosis during the week, and the freedom to enjoy moderate amounts of healthy, complex carbohydrates such as pulses, brown rice and a slice of sourdough at weekends.

FAST 800 KETO IN A NUTSHELL

STAGE 1: RAPID WEIGHT LOSS

800-900 cals a day for two to 12 weeks with protein add-ons to take you to 1,000 cals if needed. Eat at least 50g protein and less than 50g carbs a day — and you should lose 1-2kg per week.

STAGE 2: INTERMITTENT FASTING

800-900 cals on four or five consecutive days a week and a more relaxed but portion-controlled approach on non-fast days (increasing protein to 60-80g). Try ‘time-restricted eating’ which sets your eating window at 12 hours each day (i.e. 8am-8pm)

STAGE 3: MAINTENANCE

No calorie counting but monitor your weight. Eat a Mediterranean-style diet with 1g protein per 1kg of body weight daily.

Your weight loss might slow slightly, but you will continue to head in the right direction, burning fat and optimising your health, while establishing sustainable eating patterns to help you maintain a healthy weight for life.

Key to success at this stage is keeping fasting days consecutive, so your body goes into ketosis and stays there. Your body will swiftly adapt to this new regime, allowing you to flick in and out of ketosis without difficulty or side-effects. You’ll also find your cravings for sugary foods and processed carbs have diminished.

If you stick to a keto diet in the week and add more protein and carbs at the weekend (even the occasional alcoholic drink), you will be ‘keto cycling’, regularly flipping the metabolic switch and going in and out of ketosis. This is what our bodies evolved to do naturally and the more you do it, the easier it gets. On these non-fasting days we recommend moving to a healthy, Mediterranean-style diet that includes slightly more carbs (somewhere between 50g and 120g a day) and more protein.

The carbs you add should be fibre-rich ‘complex carbohydrates’, including root vegetables (carrots, parsnips), wholegrains, lentils and beans. You can occasionally include a slice of brown seeded or sourdough bread, a healthy dessert, or fruit.

Flourless ham, cheese and spinach muffins

Per serving: 151kcals, 11g protein, 1g carbs

Makes 6 

55g cream cheese

4 medium free-range eggs

30g ground almonds

¾ tsp baking powder

50g Gruyere or Cheddar, grated

50g ham, roughly chopped

1 block frozen spinach, 50g approx, defrosted and excess liquid squeezed out

This recipe for flourless ham, cheese and spinach muffins, pictured, takes only 15 minutes and serves up six

This recipe for flourless ham, cheese and spinach muffins, pictured, takes only 15 minutes and serves up six

Preheat the oven to 200c/ 180c fan/gas 6. Line a muffin tray with six muffin cases (alternatively use a silicone muffin mould). Place the cream cheese, eggs, ground almonds and baking powder in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Stir in the remaining ingredients and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 15 minutes. 

Pear and raspberry crumble

Per serving: 193.5kcals, 4g protein, 9g carbs

Serves 2 

100g fresh or frozen raspberries

2 pear halves from can, drained and sliced

25g dark chocolate, cut into small chunks

25g desiccated coconut

50g broken walnuts

2 tbsp Greek yoghurt

For a sweet treat, try this pear and raspberry crumble, which only has 193.5 calories per serving

For a sweet treat, try this pear and raspberry crumble, which only has 193.5 calories per serving

Preheat the oven 190c/fan 170c/gas 5. Divide the raspberries between two ramekins and top each pile with a half pear. Scatter the chocolate chunks, coconut and walnuts over the top and bake in the oven for 10 minutes until warmed through and the nuts are just toasted. Serve with the yoghurt.

Tomato, chorizo and mozzarella pizza with rocket dough

Per serving: 313kcals, 9.6g protein, 12g carbs

Topping per serving: 160kcals, 12g protein, 2g carbs

Makes 5 pizza bases

Topping for 1

140g ground almonds

60g psyllium husk 

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp fine sea salt

3 egg whites

200ml warm water

50ml olive oil

2 tsp cider vinegar

For the topping 

1 tsp tomato puree

15g chorizo diced

¼ ball mozzarella, torn 

½ tsp dried oregano

Small handful of rocket

As a takeaway alternative, Dr Mosley's low-carb pizza has a rocket base instead of heavy dough

As a takeaway alternative, Dr Mosley’s low-carb pizza has a rocket base instead of heavy dough

Preheat the oven to 200c/ fan 180c/gas 6. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add the egg whites, warm water, olive oil and cider vinegar and give it all a quick mix until well combined. It should form a dough-like ball.

With a few drops of olive oil on your hands to prevent sticking, divide the mixture into 5 balls. Place one ball on a piece of non-stick baking paper and put another piece of baking paper on top.

Press down with your hands, then use a rolling pin to roll out the base until it is 1-2mm thick. Repeat with the remaining balls or store them in fridge or freezer for another day. Transfer the non-stick baking paper to a baking sheet. Spread with the tomato puree, then scatter the chorizo and mozzarella over the top.

Sprinkle with the oregano and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the pizza is just crispy and golden brown around the edges. As soon as it is out of the oven, scatter with rocket. Fill half your plate with salad. 

WAIST-FRIENDLY NIBBLES 

Cheesy biscuits

Per serving: 100kcals, 6g protein, 1g carbs

Makes 10 biscuits

60g Cheddar, coarsely grated

60g Parmesan, finely grated

60g ground almonds

3 tbsp mixed seeds

1 medium egg white

Preheat the oven to 190c/fan 170c/gas 5 and line a large baking sheet with baking paper. Place all the ingredients in a bowl, season with freshly ground black pepper and mix together well.

Use a dessert spoon to scoop the mixture on to the prepared sheet, pressing each biscuit flat with the back of it. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Dr Mosley's low-carb recipe for these cheesy biscuits and three delicious dips, including smoked mackerel and lemon, beetroot and blue cheese and pea and mint pate

Dr Mosley’s low-carb recipe for these cheesy biscuits and three delicious dips, including smoked mackerel and lemon, beetroot and blue cheese and pea and mint pate

3 DIPS

Smoked mackerel and lemon

Per serving: 165kcals, 12g protein, 0.5g carbs

Fresh herbs, such as dill or parsley, or finely chopped rocket or spinach, would make a lovely addition.

Serves 2

100g cooked, smoked mackerel, skin removed

2 tbsp full-fat Greek yoghurt

Zest of 1 lemon

Mash the mackerel fillets in a bowl with a fork until broken down but still a bit chunky, then mix in the yoghurt and lemon zest, and season with freshly ground black pepper.

Beetroot and blue cheese

Per serving: 189kcals, 7g protein, 3g carbs

Serves 2

1 medium cooked beetroot

2 tbsp full-fat Greek yoghurt

25g blue cheese, such as Stilton

30g walnuts, chopped

Place all the ingredients in a bowl with a generous pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Blitz with a stick blender until the dip is smooth.

Pea and mint pate

Per serving: 119kcals, 6.5g protein, 13g carbs

Serves 4

150g cooked peas

1x400g can butter beans, drained

1 large handful parsley, leaves picked and roughly chopped (approx 5-7g)

1 large handful mint, leaves picked and roughly chopped (approx 5-7g)

1 tbsp olive oil

Juice of ½ lemon

 ¼-½ tsp chilli flakes

Using a food processor or stick blender, blitz all the ingredients to a fairly smooth paste. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.


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