Forget Atkins. When it comes to the latest diet advice, there’s only one book title on everyone's lips.
Six Weeks To OMG: Get Skinnier Than All Your Friends.
The eating plan, which is published in paperback today (but has been No 1 on Apple's itunes UK chart for weeks) has come under attack for encouraging competitive weight-loss and extreme diet behaviour such as skipping breakfast, drinking coffee and taking cold baths.
But author Venice A Fulton (real name Paul Khanna), who slightly surprisingly hails from North London, is well prepared to challenge his critics and says that many health professionals are already on his side.
"I've already had doctors say they find it refreshing and useful for them," Fulton told Huffpost Lifestyle.
“I’ve also read reports about my desire to turn women against women, which is literally not even on my radar.”
"And I'm definitely not advocating ice baths, as has been reported - but a cold bath. It should be room temperature, around 20 degrees celsius.
"If you sit in that water, you'll lose heat 25 times faster than if you were standing the same room temperature. That’s good because it forces your body to increase its metabolic rate and burn fat," he says.
The personal trainer believes that much of conventional wisdom about losing weight is wrong.
“It’s a shame. We’re all running around relying on these scientific cliches that no one ever checks out. I can’t stand that. Life is too short to waste,” he says.
Skipping breakfast can be healthy
Fulton says: "In the morning, your body has almost no blood sugar floating around, and you literally have once in a day opportunity to burn stored fat immediately. "That's almost impossible at any other time in the day. "There is evidence to suggest that breakfast skipping in some people is associated with eating more later - but the causal link has never been proven. "We are designed to live off our own structure. Body fat is not meant to be the back-up system. It's meant to be the system that trickles energy into us all day long. Many people eat breakfast out of pure habit.
Certain fruits instantly block fat loss
"Fruits and their spin offs like smoothies, certainly contain vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, but they also tend to be rich in fructose." says Fulton. "Fructose stops leptin, our body's fuel gauge, from doing its job. With nothing telling us to pull the gas nozzle out, we keep eating."
"There's no such thing as a healthy snack," says Fulton. "Anything that is consumed between major meal times is certainly unhealthy. And that covers every single thing that is regarded as a health snack." "Your body must have long gaps between meals to live off its own structure. We're not designed to top up."
Juices and smoothies cause overeating
"Smoothies, certainly contain vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, but they also tend to be rich in fructose." says Fulton. "Fructose stops leptin, our body's fuel gauge, from doing its job. With nothing telling us to pull the gas nozzle out, we keep eating."
Exercise is more than just how much and how hard
"We widely debate what kind of exercise works best for fat loss, getting hung up on fine details like intensity and duration," says Fulton. "The important consideration is correct timing. It's critical to move early on, as this once-in-a-day opportunity presents a rare combination of high metabolic rate, lower blood sugar, and plenty of time for continued fat burning before shutdown (sleep)."
Broccoli carbs can be worse than those from Coke
Fulton says: "In some, the quantity of carbohydrate can itself determine their chance of skinny success, with the specific source of the carbs not making a noticeable difference. "These lucky few can get skinny on the lowest 'quality' carbs, such as soft drinks, as long as they don't have too many. "Being skinny, as opposed to being heavy, is best for general health, but it's worth seeking out nutrients even if your weighing scales delight in saying otherwise."
Fulton says: "Black coffee is very potent for fat burning." "It encourages your body's fat cells to open up and release their contents and you can use up more stored body fat as a fuel. "Just remember to not to add milk or sugar."
"Cold baths are a completely natural metabolism booster. The bath should be 68F/20 degrees celsius, which is room temperature water. "If you sit in that water, your heart will beat 25 times faster than if you were standing normally in the room. That's good because it forces your body to increase its metabolic rate. "The effect can last up to 15 hours in some people. It's incredible and a great way to eradicate a sluggish metabolism," says Fulton.
According to Fulton, the way we live doesn't allow our bodies to lose weight.
"Snacking is holding back the whole globe. It’s wholly inappropriate for humans, unless you’re a baby.
"We will not faint or collapse by not having food every three hours. It's a personal trainer driven myth that we must eat more frequently.
“Your body cannot burn fat if there is fuel in your blood stream. That’s not an opinion, that’s the way hormones work. It’s surprising that registered dietitians and doctors, even exercise physiologists, try and refute this fact.”
Scroll down for criticism of Fulton’s weight-loss techniques
The 39-year-old advises clients to exercise on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, and eat later on.
“The body has a back-up system called body fat - it’s the ultimate breakfast,” he says.
Fulton started his professional life as a personal trainer in public gyms, after completing a sports science degree at the University of Bedfordshire, but became tired of parroting the “party line” - and so moved into private training.
His methods quickly became less orthodox, as he implemented weight-loss techniques based on research he found personally compelling.
“There are are 21 million journals on the American National Institutes of Health website and I’ve probably looked through 25,000. And yes, of course you can always find research to back up any point of view, but I would not write about this stuff if I didn’t have confidence in it
"This is peoples’ lives, their self-esteem - things that can’t be messed with.”
Fulton believes that if individuals knew more about how their bodies burned fat, weight-loss would be easier to sustain.
"Many personal trainers work like an over glorified abacus, just counting for their clients, which is not enough. It doesn’t last when someone’s not barking at you. Or when you come off the diet.
"It’s all about understanding. That's the long-term key to getting somewhere."
"If you read this book, you’ll become an expert - and it will encourage you to look further. We’re all bright enough to not be talked down to."
So far Fulton has got off lightly from the critics, but he's ready for the avalanche of opinions as the book is published in paperback.
"I expect there will be people who will completely challenge it because it does upset the apple cart in terms of what we’re relying on. And I welcome that debate."
Why Six Weeks To OMG is wrong, according to dietician Sasha Watkins.
Hold Off On Breakfast
Skipping breakfast is not a great idea, as after a night without food, your energy reserves are low and your body and brain need fuel. In fact, studies show that people who skip breakfast are more likely to be overweight than people that don't. Missing breakfast plays havoc with your metabolism and may lead to you to snack on less healthy foods later in the morning as you are hungry.
Cut Down Fruit Intake
The diet also encourages you to just eat one piece of fruit a day for six weeks. All the evidence shows that fruit is a good source of fibre, essential vitamins and minerals and key to good health. Dietitians recommend that you eat five pieces of fruit and veg a day, but if you want to lose weight try have more vegetables than fruit, as fruit is more calorific.
Up Your Caffeine Levels
There is nothing wrong with drinking moderate levels of coffee but it is not a miracle fat burner. If it was, considering how much we drink in the UK daily, we wouldn't have the current obesity crisis.
Don't Snack Between Meals
It is absolutely fine to snack - so long as you choose healthy snacks and keep yourself active. There may be times when you have a long time between meals or you need a snack after exercise. Good snacking options include a rice cake with cottage cheese, some carrot sticks with hummus or a low fat yoghurt