Living a lighter life is a topic covered regularly in the newspapers and once again our fabulous Twitter followers came together to ask our health expert Dr Hilary Jones for his advice on their health matters.
This month we asked our Facebook community to vote for their favoured topic which was…
Do low calorie diets affect you health?
We were overwhelmed by the number of questions received by our lovely fans, before and during the Q&A and have put them together for you all to benefit from, enjoy!
Please bear in mind that some of the questions received relate to the LighterLife programme, and the answers Dr Hilary has given are his opinion as a GP and not necessarily reflective of the LighterLife programme.
Where relevant we have included additional advice applicable to when you are on the programme.
Does this diet affect the liver in any way?
The liver constantly balances your level of blood sugar. On a low-calorie diet, stores of glucose are broken down in the liver and muscles to form glucose. This is normal.
I get stomach cramps after I eat, I’m on LighterLife Lite and I have IBS, do you have any advice?
DHJ: You might like to increase the fibre in your diet by sprinkling oat bran on the contents of your Foodpacks. Ask your Doctor about liquid fibre in the supplement Lepicol – this contains insoluble fibre and pre and pro-biotics.
LL: When you’re doing one of the LighterLife programmes we advise you to speak to your doctor in situations such as these.
I have lost 5.5 stone and am now in week 4 of maintenance having reached my goal weight. I am diabetic and have managed to come off my medication. Obviously once food is fully introduced care has to be taken – are you ever cured or will I always be classed a diabetic?
Many congratulations on your weight loss and great news about being able to come off your medication! The tendency to have high blood sugar will always be there but if you maintain your weight loss it may never cause you problems, just keep an eye on it.
My son is 14 months and nurses overnight. Does ketosis affect him?
DHJ: Dieting must be approached carefully if breast-feeding. Ketosis won’t affect your son but might affect the quality of your milk. It sounds like your breast-feeding is now for comfort rather than for nutrition – be sure to check with your health visitor.
LL: If you’re babies sole source of nutrition is breast milk we do not recommend that you do the LighterLife programme. If however your baby is breast feeding only 1-2 times a daily, for comfort and is also eating other foods you should be fine on the programme.
Why do you get hair loss when you introduce food again?
This happens because your hair follicles have gone into a shedding phase after a resting phase brought about by the weight loss. This is predictable and normal behaviour, however it is only temporary.
What is the minimum amount of water I should be drinking whilst on Total?
The correct procedure is to drink according to your thirst level. Urine should be a pale straw colour, if darker drink more water.
I lost 7 stone the first time I was on LighterLife, I’ve now put it back on plus more! Why can’t I stay on Total every time I try to go back on it?
It’s not good to stay on a weight loss plan with so few calories long term – that’s why there is the maintenance programme. If you honestly stick to this and listen to your Counsellor, I promise you will keep the weight off.
Can the LighterLife programme affect your kidneys?
There’s no reason why it would, provided you follow instructions and drink enough water. There’s nothing unhealthy about a low calorie diet and in many ways it is improving your overall health for the future.
I have an under-active thyroid, am I okay doing the LighterLife programme?
Provided you’re on the normal medication to replace the thyroid hormone you’re missing, the LighterLife programme is perfectly healthy. It will help you lose the weight the under-active thyroid caused.
I have started phase one management and my hair has started thinning. I’m taking multi-vitamins and minerals. Do you have any other tips or advice?
It’s not a lack of minerals, vitamins or other nutrients as these are in the Foodpacks. It’s a temporary shedding of hair with many hair follicles in the shedding stage all at once. This is predictable and temporary.
I have Hashimotos Thyroditis and am having trouble with my hair falling out. Can I stop this?
Under-active thyroid can certainly cause thinning of the hair and your doctor can advise about your medication. On LighterLife there can sometimes be some temporary hair loss if you lose significant weight but it will regrow.
This is the third time I’ve tried LighterLife. I’ve come off it twice before because of coming down with a really bad chest. Please can you give me some advice.
These are unrelated. Don’t let a cold interrupt dieting. It might not be easy but persevere and your cold & weight will disappear!
Is LighterLife classed as a low resi-due diet? I have a barium enema, is the programme okay to follow?
The LighterLife programme is low residue, just like any other low-calorie programme. You simply aren’t eating much fibre, which provides the residue. The barium enema will be more revealing potentially as your bowel clearance should be more efficient.
I’m on week 6 of phase one management and I’m finding going to the toilet a big problem. I’m drinking lots too!
DHJ: Increase the amount of insoluble fibre in your food. Eat oats, fruit, veg, whole grain bread & pasta – all low calorie and high in fibre.
LL: When you’re doing one of the LighterLife programmes we advise you speak to your doctor in situations such as these.
Is LighterLife suitable for those with Hiatus Hernia and IBS?
There’s no medical reason why not. Hiatus Hernia benefits from eating little and often anyway so the LighterLife programme is fine. IBS may prove to be more troublesome unless you take on board sufficient fibre and cut stress from your life.
I’ve just had bilateral anthroscopy’s on both knees. Is it okay to start back on Total?
Wait a while post surgery. You need to rebuild muscle and tissue around your knees. Food helps offset stomach irritation caused by medication. My advice is to wait until you are walking and exercising normally, say in two months.
I haven’t had a period for two years since I had an implant. I’m on day 5 and now one has started! Is this normal and why?
Contraceptive implant can often stop periods and this may be a coincidence. Equally rapid weight loss can interfere with hormone levels resulting in unpredicted periods. This is certainly nothing to worry about but do keep a menstrual diary.