What is The Harcombe Diet?
I don’t know anyone who wants to be fat and yet two thirds of the UK population is overweight and one quarter obese. Why?
To be slim, we are told that we just need to “eat less and/or do more.” Quite specifically, the advice is:
“To lose 1lb of fat you need to create a deficit of 3,500 calories.” (This is known as “the calorie theory”).
So, why don’t we just follow the advice? Why on earth do we have an obesity problem, let alone an epidemic, when we so desperately want to be slim?
The Harcombe Diet is the result of twenty years of research trying to answer this question. The journey has taken me through thermodynamics, peanuts under Bunsen burners and more obesity journals than hot dinners. The conclusions have been staggering and The Harcombe Diet has incorporated all the findings:
1) The calorie theory is wrong.
I blow apart every aspect of the calorie theory in my book The Obesity Epidemic: What caused it? How can we stop it? (2010). One pound does not even equal 3,500 calories – not even close. We will not lose a pound each and every time we create a deficit of any fixed number of calories and nor will we gain a pound for a repeated surplus.
Every obesity journal I have reviewed from the past 100 years proves this (although they don’t always conclude the same). I cannot find one single occasion when this 3,500 formula holds, let alone each and every time. I have also written to five government and two obesity organisations and none can provide evidence for this formula. Yet all continue to repeat it as a slogan in their literature and spoken advice and it has become folklore on the internet and in gyms world-wide.
2) The current diet advice is actually the cause of the obesity epidemic; never will it be the cure.
As recently as 1983, public health advice changed from “carbs are fattening” to “base your meals on carbs” and “avoid (saturated) fat”. This U-Turn in dietary advice has had catastrophic consequences. It is no coincidence that obesity has gone up ten fold since we changed our diet advice. Public health authorities need to reverse this advice as soon as possible. Until they do, we need to ignore it.
3) The only way to lose weight is to work with your body – never against it.
If you try to eat less, your body fights you every step of the way, as the introduction set out. You are going to discover the power of your body working with you, and not against you, as you lose weight.
4) Weight gain and loss depends on what we eat, what we eat with what and how often we eat. In no way is it as simplistic as just how much we eat. Weight gain and loss also depends far more on carbs consumed, than calories, or fat, consumed.
This doesn’t mean that we can’t eat carbs. It means that we need to use everything we know about carbs, insulin, how the body uses food for energy and how the body stores fat, so that we can eat the right carbs, in the right way, and still lose weight.
5) Overweight people are not greedy, weak-willed or in need of a psychiatrist. They are victims of the wrong advice.
Two thirds of the population is overweight. I do not believe that two thirds of the population has a psychological issue with food. I do believe that the majority of people have at least one physical reason (one of three common conditions) driving their food consumption. I also believe that the avoidance of hunger is such a fundamental human instinct that telling people to eat less will make them eat more.
How is it different to other diets?
1) It works. I set out to understand why we had an obesity epidemic and to design a diet that would eliminate hunger and food cravings. I did not set out to design a diet that would lose people 17lbs in five days and yet, at the time of going to print, this is the record for Phase 1. As a bonus, the most common themes in the endless testimonials are: “I’m not hungry”; “My cravings have disappeared”; “I feel great”; “I’ve got more energy than I’ve ever known” and “This is the last diet I will ever need”.
2) It fundamentally rejects the calorie theory, upon which 99% of diets are based.
The other 1% of diets are the very low carb Atkins and Co. These will work, if you can stick to them, but I don’t think that many people need to go to this extreme to lose weight. If you want to lose weight, gain health and enjoy a great variety of food, you may like this diet.
The 99% will not work, and we have a century’s worth of obesity journals to prove this. (You would also not be reading this book if calorie counting did work). One definition of madness is to do the same thing again and again and to expect a different result. To go on a calorie restricted diet, is therefore, mad.
The Harcombe Diet is so simple; for centuries it was accepted as the only way to eat. It is based on the principle that nature knows best. Not the Food Standards Agency, not food manufacturers – nature.
On this diet, we eat only real food – food in the form that nature intends us to eat it. We eat this natural food in sufficient quantities to nourish our body and at regular intervals to give the body no reason to store fat. We don’t eat processed food – food in the form that food manufacturers intend us to eat it.
3) The new and unique contribution of The Harcombe Diet is the discovery that there are three very common medical conditions that cause insatiable food cravings and that these conditions, in turn, are caused by eating less.
The Harcombe Diet has been carefully designed to be the perfect diet to overcome all three conditions. These conditions, by the way, come with a whole range of other, nasty, symptoms. So, if you just want to lose weight, this book will tell you how. If you want to get rid of things as wide ranging as dandruff or waking up at 4am – this book could help you with way more than your waistline.
So here’s a summary of what the diet means for you:
– Because it rejects the calorie theory, it does not try to get you to eat less, so quantities are unlimited;
– Because it rejects the calorie theory, it does not try to get you to do more, so exercise is optional;
– Because it is based on working with, not against, your body, you eat regular, healthy meals and your body stops storing food and fat (you also start to feel healthy and much better about yourself);
– Because it’s a lifestyle change, it gives you three simple rules, to lose weight and stay slim for life.
I’ve been asked by the media – if you don’t agree with the “Eat less, do more” advice – what do you agree with? My answer is “Eat better and do whatever you like”.
I’ve also been asked – is the diet low carb or low-fat and the answer is neither. It is real food – carbs and fats – in whatever quantities you want – just not at the same meal. All will be explained…