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diet fads

I WAS leafing through some newspapers yesterday over a lunchtime sandwich at my keyboard – and yes, I know that's a disgusting habit, in the words of Health minister Anna Soubry, but I honestly couldn't be bothered going out into all that late-January wind and rain on Sauchiehall Street – when I came across an article about diets.

Normally, I give such articles the bodyswerve, if only because every week seems to cough up a faddish new diet. This article was about the alkaline diet plan: vegetable and soyabean hotpot for dinner, beetroot and walnut dip with raw flax seed crackers as a snack, that sort of thing. Under "lunch" it suggested sweetcorn and broad bean fritters with a feta, cucumber and spinach salad, and I idly wondered what sort of mess that would leave my keyboard in. For good measure, an adjacent article dwelt on a diet that involves fasting for a couple of days a week. It goes without saying that both this approach, and the alkaline diet, have lots of celebs amongst their adherents.

Anyway, I digress. It seems that when it comes to reducing hunger pangs in the first place the pomegranate might have a role to play. A study carried out by Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, reported in The Herald, found that regular consumption of pomegranate extract may reduce feelings of hunger and increase the sensation of being full. Volunteers who took a pomegranate supplement every day for three weeks felt significantly less hungry during the experiment than those who were on a placebo. I've flirted with pomegranates, as it were, ever since reading, almost a decade ago, that it was a superfood that could protect the heart; also, that it was said to contain three times as many cancer-fighting antioxidants as green tea. But I also seem to remember a juice company being chastised by advertising watchdogs for ever so slightly exaggerating the health benefits of its pomegranate juice. Apparently the posters showed a severed noose around the bottle neck with the words "Cheat death".

Dr Emad Al-Dujaili, who led the QM study, thinks the results might possibly help in the challenge to lessen the risk factors for obesity. One theory to be investigated is that the extract contains appetite-suppressing polyphenols. The supplements sound like a good idea. Excuse me now while I nip out into the rain and wind to find some.

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