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Why our New Year's diets might fail

December 29, 2014
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We all start out with good intentions in the New Year when it comes to dieting, keen to shift the excess Christmas pounds. But not many of us manage to stay on track. And now, Oxbridge scientists have revealed the reasons that may be behind the failure of our diets. The researchers identified three categories of people: feasters, constant cravers and emotional eaters. And according to the team, which included Cambridge geneticist Dr Giles Yeo and Government nutritionist advisor Professor Susan Jebb, each type reacts differently to diets.


Professor Chris Dr van Tulleken said feasters don’t release enough of a hormone known as GLP1, which sends a signal to your brain to tell it that you are full. “If you are someone who goes to an all-you-can-eat buffet and never feel full, then chances are you are a feaster,” he told the Daily Mail. “Secondly, we know that some people have a genetic risk factor for being overweight. It isn’t one gene – there are many. Some of them are about personality, some are about appetite, and some about willpower. Those with lots of these ‘obesity genes’ are the constant cravers.” The final category is the emotional eaters. “Finally, we noticed some people self-medicate with food,” he said. “They eat when they are unhappy. We call them the emotional eaters.” After identifying the groups, the team created tailored diets for each. The feasters were given a diet designed to stimulate gut hormone levels with high-protein foods like meat, eggs, fish and pulses, eliminating high-GI carbohydrates such as white bread or potatoes.

Constant cravers were put on a diet similar to the 5:2, eating no more than 800 calories for two days every week. For the other five days, they could eat what they liked. The emotional eaters attended classes similar to Weight Watchers, in the hope that they will provide support to prevent them turning to food during emotional periods.

The research will be aired in a three-part series on Horizon on BBC2, starting on January 12. 

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