Follow these tips from Mens Health cover model Daniel Martin
Daniel Martin has appeared in Men’s Health more than any other cover model. Daniel tells us, it’s not all about training. In fact a large part of his success is down to what and how he eats. Here’s his four-point plan:
Count carbs not calories
“I aim to eat carbs high in fibre and low in starch,” says Daniel. “Vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts and peppers are low in calories so I can eat as much as I like. For refined carbs, I go for minimally processed, raw rather than roasted nuts, and whole grains such as barley, quinoa, and oats.”
Keith and Valerie Berkowitz, authors of The Stubborn Fat Fix, agree. “Fibre doesn’t raise your blood sugar, and helps you feel full. Starchy foods do the opposite. Fast-rising blood sugar triggers the release of insulin, a hormone that lowers blood sugar but also tells your body to store fat. Pick foods with the greatest ratio of fibre to total carbs and you’ll regulate your insulin levels and reduce hunger.” The end result: eating fewer calories becomes easier.
Keep it clean
“I try to stick to foods that are produced naturally and are free of synthetic components,” says Daniel. “If it doesn’t grow, walk, swim or fly, I tend to avoid it.” The Berkowitzs agree: “Processed foods are loaded with trans fats, added sweeteners, artificial colouring and flavouring which we know affect your health. So it stands to reason they’ll mess with your metabolism and your weight, too.” How can you tell whether a food has been processed? Well if it has, it’ll often come in some form of packaging, so it should have a label. Visit eatwell.co.uk for their guide on how to decipher the information manufacturers put on their food.
Eat fat to burn fat
Not all fats are created equal. “While I avoid foods with trans fats, I add natural fats to my meals,” says Daniel. Such natural fats are good for your body and include olive oil, coconut oil, organic meat, oily fish and poultry, fatty fruits such as avocados and olives, nuts and seeds. “Have eggs,” say the Berkowitzes, “put avocado in your salad, eat the dark meat on chicken and use real oil (not “light”) on your salads. Eat fat and enjoy it without guilt.” In fact, a University of Connecticut study found eating these foods while cutting carbs reduces key risk factors for heart disease. And it does that more effectively than eating a low fat diet does.
Cheat and indulge
Treat yourself once in a while. “I don’t drink but I am partial to the odd serving of ice cream,” says Daniel. “Not feeling bad about an occasional indulgence is an important factor in sticking to any eating plan.” So whether your poison comes in a bowl or a bottle, consume it wisely and it won’t be a problem. “With ice cream we advise eating it after dinner,” say the Berkowitzes, “when you have fewer hours to allow one bowl to turn into three or four. Choose any natural variety that contains only cream, eggs, sugar, and milk (Yeo Valley Organic Vanilla Dairy Ice Cream, £3.04 for 900ml from goodnessdirect.co.uk). Half a cup, topped with fruit or nuts, once or twice a week is fine – any more may slow weight loss.”