The BBC website contains a section in which someone reviews the daily national papers. Three items caught my eye this morning.
The Daily Mail’s front page headlines the fury of the Markle family at not being invited to the Royal Wedding next month. (I commented on this recently.) In the BBC’s reviewer’s summary, I read:
But the paper understands the celebrity vet who treated her dog, the Beckhams, and a former Miss World-turned Bollywood star will be at the wedding in Windsor.
Why, and for what ailment, is a vet treating the Beckhams and a former Miss World? Maybe the Beckhams had worms (step forward Bob Martin), and the former Miss World suffered from depression ‘cos she didn’t achieve world peace?
The smiling picture of Dr Michael Mosley, no relation to Oswald or Max I hope, also caught my attention. The 5:2 diet plan was last year’s faddy diet. Basically, it recommends that, per week, you eat your required stay-the-same calorie intake for five days and restrict your calorie input to 25%/day of the stay-alive requirement for the remaining two days of the week. The claim is then made that you will lose 1 lb (0.45 kg) in that week.
When this diet plan was announced, I did some simple maths.
Fact: if you want to lose weight, the number of calories you consume per day must be fewer than the number of calories you burn per day.
Fact: if you consume fewer calories per day than that required, you will start to lose weight.
Fact: if you consume 3,500 calories per week fewer than that required, you will lose 1 lb during that week.
Now, consider the daily calorie requirements of a healthy adult male, like me (sort of). My daily no-weight-gain no-weight-loss stay-alive calorie input requirement is around 2,200 calories.
If I consume 2,200 calories for seven days, my total weekly calorie input will be 7 x 2,200 = 15,400 calories and I will neither lose nor gain weight during this period.
If I consume 2,200 calories for five days and 550 calories (25%) for two days (the 5:2 plan), my total calorie input over the week will be reduced to 5 x 2,200 plus 2 x 550 = 12,100 calories.
Hence, my calorie deficit over the seven days is 15,400 – 12,100 = 3,300 which EQUALS A 1 LB WEIGHT LOSS! (Okay, the pedant will recognise that 3,300 is not exactly 3,500 but it’s close enough!)
There’s a thing. Mosley must have done the maths before he “invented” his diet plan and now he’s famous insofar he’s on the front page of today’s Daily Mail.
I am now going to invent a more aggressive version of the 5:2 diet plan aimed at people who need to lose weight faster than the 1 lb/week rate. I will advocate an initial agressive two week 3:4 plan followed by a two week 4:3 plan followed by an eight week 5:2 plan. I will name it Ben’s 3:4/4:3/5:2 Diet Plan. A prize will be awarded to the first person who can tell me how much weight will be lost during this twelve week period.
Finally, the lower headline and photograph on the front of the Sunday People drew my attention. I am tempted to write to the editor, saying, “It’s difficult to answer your question. You’ve blanked out half his face, and the rest is pixelated. Please publish an original unedited picture and then I’ll get back to you.”
Today is Earth Day. Have a party but drink out of cardboard cups, not plastic, and don’t use straws. Oh, and don’t forget to turn off the lights when you leave.