Save Money Lose Weight Presenters Dr Ranj Singh and Sian Williams

Image from itv Press Centre

Save Money Lose Weight New Series (S3)

By Trudi Purdy, wlr team

In this brand new 8-part season of Save Money Lose Weight, Sian Williams and Dr Ranj Singh aim to uncover vital money saving tricks, the best £ for lb diets and help debunk some weight loss myths.

Episode 2 (First aired 16th April 2019)

This week, Sian and Dr Ranj took a look at low calorie ice cream (yum!) and the latest fat measuring scales. The diet under scrutiny was the Lisa Riley’s Honesty Diet.

The Honesty Diet

Lisa Riley lost an incredible 12 stone using her ‘honesty diet’. It promotes fresh food, cuts white carbs, alcohol, caffeine and snacking. Anyone doing the diet keeps an ‘honesty diary’ of everything they eat. Sound familiar?

The diet relies on simple recipes made with fresh, easily accessible ingredients.

The Guinea pig this week was Clare, a surgical matron with a very busy life. She is a serial snacker and weighed in at 18 stone 8lbs.

The shopping for the diet cost her £230. She said,

‘I can spend the next 20 years of my life moaning and groaning about being overweight and it stopping me doing things, or I can do something about it.’

Her life is very busy, and she cooks different meals for her family as they all prefer different things. Because she is cooking different things she is constantly grazing and snacking.

As a surgical matron, she works shifts and so meal times aren’t very regular. She’s always struggled with her weight. But in recent years, she has had to take medication that caused weight gain due to being diagnosed with breast cancer. She is getting married to her long-term partner and wants to look her best as she walks down the aisle.

During the first 8 days of the diet, Clare’s calorie allowance was between 700-800 calories to give her a kickstart. She struggled a little fitting meal prep into her busy week but seemed to manage okay. During the 2nd week, she started adding in a bit of exercise, although her busy work schedule meant that she had to improvise by dancing with her son and jigging around the living room.

Week 3 was a little more difficult for her. She said she felt hungry and was really missing her snacks.

By the end of the 28 days, Clare was finding it easier to get active. She’s been walking a mile every day.

When she weighed in, she had lost 1 stone 6lbs which works out at a cost of £11.78 per lb. Cheaper than Tom Kerridge’s diet and a good result for Clare. She said,

‘This weight loss is just the start of my journey. I’ve got my wedding year so, for me, it’s an ultimate goal to have that day. It gives me the motivation to carry on.’

Ice Cream! Ice Cream!

Ice cream is a definite favourite in the UK with the average person consuming at least 9 litres a year. Sian and dietitian, Linia Patel, decided to look for an alternative that offered all the pleasure but without the guilt.

Sian asked Linia how many calories was in a normal portion (100ml) of ice cream. Linia said, that depending on the flavour a normal portion could be anything from 250 to 400 calories. That could definitely scupper your weight loss plan!

They compared Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream with a version from Halo Top, Breyers and a Ben & Jerry’s lower calorie version.

Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream costs 90p a portion and has 230 calories.

Linia said that reducing calories in food generally means using bulking agents that can affect taste and texture.

The first ice cream tasted was Ben & Jerry’s Low Calorie Chocolate Cookie Dough. It’s 132 calories for 100ml portion and costs 96p a portion.

Sian said this wasn’t very creamy. Linia said that was due to the manufacturers using skimmed milk to lower the amount of fat in it – whole milk is creamier.

Breyers Cookies and Cream came in at 70 calories and £1 per portion. This was a reduced sugar version – the sugar had been reduced by a third. Sian really liked the taste and texture of this one but Linia said it had a bitter aftertaste due to the sweeteners used. Stevia is 300 times sweeter than sugar.

Next up was Halo Top Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough at £1.06 per portion and 76 calories. Sian said,

‘This tastes aerated to me.’

But she still enjoyed the ice cream. Linia said that this one contained dietary fibre to help bulk it out. When you consume dietary fibre, it doesn’t get digested, it just works its way through and straight out the other end. So maybe eating this one in moderation is still in order!

So, low cal ice cream doesn’t come cheap but does offer a satisfying alternative to a sweet treat.

Looking Back

In 2017, Ashraf weighed in at 17 stone 1lb. He was a big binge eater and enjoyed lots of takeaways. He said,

‘If I reach my ideal weight I’ll feel like superman.’

The diet he was paired with was 5:2 Veggie and Vegan Diet. This combines the regular 5:2 diet while cutting meat, fish and dairy.

Back in 2017, Ashraf lost 15lbs in the 28 days and the diet cost him £246.66. That works out at £16.44 per lb.

Two years on, Ashraf stuck with the 5:2 Veggie and Vegan diet for a while after the first 28 days but then stopped it because he was missing meat. Two years on, he is still making healthier choices and has lost a total of 2 stone 11lbs. His weekly shop now costs him £40, £20 less than it did before the diet.

Body Fat Monitors

When most of talk about losing weight, we actually mean losing fat. We don’t just carry fat under the skin. We also carry fat around our internal organs – visceral fat. Too much of this can cause some serious health issues. A waist measurement of 34” or more in women can be a sign of visceral fat, in men it’s 40” or more.

But how much is too much and how can we measure it?

Dr Ranj decided to take a look at body fat monitors to see how accurate they are and whether they are worth having. A body fat monitor sends a small current through your body when you step on them and the scales use the current to work out your body fat percentage. Current travels more slowly through fat and bone than it does through muscle and water.

To work out if the body fat scales were value for money, Dr Ranj needed to know his actual body fat percentage, so he could compare the results. He visited Dr Gary Brickley and entered the Bod Pod. This space age capsule is a pressurised cubicle that measures your body volume and calculates your body composition. It’s the gold standard for measuring body fat, used by athletes.

Dr Ranj’s body fat percentage was 25.7%, at least 3.7% more than it should be.

The three scales that were out to the test were the One by One Bathroom Scale Digital, The Omron Body Composition Monitor and the Tanita Body Composition Monitor. Here’s the results:

Name

Cost

Accuracy

One by One Bathroom Scale Digital

£18.99

Out by 0.1%

Omron Body Composition Monitor

£69.90

Out by 1.2%

Tanita Body Composition Monitor

£169

Out by 0.5%

So, the cheapest of the bunch was the most accurate. Just goes to show that you don’t have to spend a fortune on all the bells and whistles to get the most accurate reading.

Next time Chloe Madeley’s Fat Loss Blitz diet is road tested, Sian takes a look at diet bread and Dr Ranj trials home gadgets designed to help you tone up and fight the flab.

Episode 1 (First aired 9th April 2019)

In this week's episode:

Guinea Pig #1

Steve, 49 was the first guinea pig. He’s an accountant from Wales and weighed in at 15 stone 13lbs.

Tom Kerridge’s diet is a lower carb plan – no white pasta, bread and rice. But it does come with a bit of a hefty price tag when it comes to the food shopping with it. All the lean meat, fish and fresh veg meant Steve’s food bill was a little higher than normal.

The shopping bill came to £503.22 for 28 days’ worth of food – more than twice the average family spend and a whopping £17.97 per day!

Tom has created a cookbook to go alongside his plan that has 100 low calorie recipes that are high in taste. We covered his Lose Weight for Good TV program last year.

Steve was looking forward to getting rid of his belly but was a little apprehensive about giving up alcohol and takeaways at the weekends. He said:

‘My life revolves around football. Football and drinking go hand in hand. On a Saturday it’s a case of as many beers as we can really. I just eat and drink rubbish all weekend.’

When he had his food delivered from the supermarket, the delivery driver said he thought he had the wrong house because there was no beer or snacks in the delivery!

Tom’s recipes are meant to be low in calorie without compromising on taste and Steve seemed to be enjoying getting stuck in with the cooking. He didn’t seem to struggle with the foods he was eating or the fact that he was only drinking water or squash.

Steve’s calorie intake was set at 2000-2100 per day.

Week two soon came round and Steve said he was enjoying the cooking. He said:

‘Fingers crossed, I’ll be able to do most of the recipes in the book before too long.’

Halfway through the 28 days and Steve was definitely enjoying the confidence boost he was getting from shedding some weight. He was getting more active on the football pitch with his son.

Steve’s wife said:

‘We’ve been together 16 years and he’s never done any exercise!’

At the end of the 28 days, Steve had lost 1 stone 1lb and now weighed in at 14 stone 12lbs. So, £ for lb that's £33.55 per lb lost.

He seemed pretty happy with his loss and said he was going to continue with the plan.

Sausages

Sian, and dietitian Linia Patel, took a look at the low cal/low fat sausages available. They were looking for the tastiest, lowest calorie sausage options that didn’t break the bank.

Sausages are a firm favourite in the UK with 280 million packs sold every year. But each pack contains a whopping 80g of fat! Sausages are also generally high calorie and high sodium so, not the healthiest option for tea.

Richmond sausages are the best sellers in the UK but, just 2 sausages are 264 calories. Sian decided to see what the supermarkets had to offer.

Here are the results:

Sausage Cost per portion (2 sausages) Cals per portion (2 sausages)
Richmond Original Sausages 50p 264
Richmond Reduced Salt and Fat 42p 156
Morrison’s Butcher’s Recipe Reduced Fat Pork Sausages 41p 208
Heck Chicken Italia Sausages 64p 99

 

So, Heck’s chicken sausages are the best option for calories but not necessarily for the pocket. Sian said that she thought fat was no longer considered to be a bad thing but Linia pointed out:

‘Fat is not a bad thing. It’s all about making sure you’re eating the recommended daily amount.’

Sian and Linia decided to enrol some volunteers for a taste test across the supermarket own brands reduced fat/calorie sausages. Here’s what happened:

Brand Cost Cals
Asda 36p 145
Sainsbury’s BGTY 41p 149
Morrison’s 41p 156
Richmond 42p 156
Tesco 42p 162

 

The tasters ranked the sausages like this:

  • Joint 4th place to Morrison’s and Richmond
  • 3rd place to Tesco
  • 2nd place to Asda
  • 1st place to Sainsbury’s

So, if you want some sausages on your plate but want to cut back on the calories, Sainsbury’s BGTY sausages are the way forward.

Previous Guinea Pig

The program then looked at a previous guinea pig to see how she had fared after the program.

Wendy was 17 stone 7lbs in 2017 when the program asked her to trial the G Plan Diet. During her 28 days, she lost 2 stone. It cost her £312.91 for her food shopping which works out at £11.18 per pound lost. Back in 2017, she said:

‘It’s that good, I’m actually going to carry on.’

2 years on, she has kept it up – more or less. She said a few bad habits had crept in, but she now weighs 12 stone 7lbs and is a size 14 instead of a size 22.

Her shopping bill is now about £50 a week which is £30 less than she used to spend before the she appeared on the show.

A win win there then?

Hungry?

Whether we binge, comfort eat or just give in to cravings, it’s our appetites that can derail our best efforts to trim down.

Dr Ranj decided to look at the range of products that claim to suppress our appetites and help us lose weight. He met up with dietitian and weight loss management expert, Clare Thornton-Wood. She explained the difference between hunger and appetite:

‘There’s hunger and then there’s appetite. We have a hunger to ensure we get fed. And appetite is driven by the things we might want to eat. We might walk past a bakery and think oooh I’m hungry. We’re not really hungry. We just have an appetite for a cream bun.’

The appetite suppressants Dr Ranj and Clare looked at were:

  • Boom Bod
  • Protein World Hunger Capsules
  • XLS-Medical Specialist Appetite Reducer

Basically, all of these products contain soluble fibre that takes up space in your stomach and help to make you feel full, even if you’re not. But they are not cheap. Boom Bod would cost a whopping £4.28 a day and XLS-Medical would be £2. The Protein World Hunger Capsules’ price tag was a little easier to swallow at 99p.

As Dr Ranj pointed out, these appetite suppressants were an expensive way to get soluble fibre into our bodies and asked Clare if there were cheaper alternatives using real food. She suggested prunes, oats, apricots, lentils and pearl barley and other high fibre foods. She said:

‘All of these have not only got soluble fibre in them, but they also have other benefits like protein, vitamins and minerals. And they are cheap.’

Dr Ranj did point out that they would have more calories than the appetite suppressants, but I know which I would prefer to eat!

And he also highlighted that appetite suppressants are not meant to be a long-term solution but filling yourself up with actual food was much more sustainable, you can see an example 7-day high fibre food plan here.

Next time . . .

  • Lisa Riley’s Honesty Diet comes under the spotlight (we love Lisa, she even mentions us in her book!)
  • Sian goes on the hunt for the best tasting, low calorie ice cream.
  • And Dr Ranj tries out the latest fat measuring scales.

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