Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Beer, Butter & Chocolate: The Unexpected Threesome For A Six Pack?

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As promised, an article for Andrew on ‘how to get a six pack on a beer, butter and chocolate diet’.  Isolated case of fearless eating you say?  You may be right, but before you think entirely impossible, apply the principles of moderation and almost anything can be possible.

Right now, my assumption is that Andrew is regularly sweating it out on a treadmill and completing high volumes of planks, plank walks, toe touches, modified side planks, full extensions, v-ups, suitcases and your old fashioned crunches.

Let’s face it; women aren’t the only ones watching their figures these days.  I blame celebrities again (naturally), but with the high publicising of Barbie figures, it’s not surprising that all are feeling the pressure to look good.  If you are serious about ‘feeling good in your skin’, in addition to exercising regularly, a fitness regime that incorporates a healthy, balanced diet can be the winning combo to a lean and beautiful body.

A Scraping Of Butter

The bad news is - if you must have butter, be warned that this is full of saturated fats.  Eat this liberally and expect your doctor to grimace over your high total cholesterol levels and your risk of heart disease.  Team this with regular takeaways, deep fried foods, baking and other high fat products and you are well on your way to an early grave. 

If your heart is ready to acquiesce, then choose margarine.  Based on vegetable oils, this is the safe option.  Rich in poly and mono unsaturated fats, they work hard to combat the damaging effects of saturated fats.  

But before you rush ahead to slap on the margarine, remember that how much fat you eat is equally important, regardless of type.  

If your weight is in the healthy range, chances are that you are already eating ample fats.  A switch from butter to vegetable oils may be all that is necessary to change the ratio of saturated to unsaturated fats.

Breakfast – don’t skip it
Butter addicts, don’t fear.  Reduce your takeaways, cakes, biscuits and deep fried foods and trade it for a scraping of butter.  Then have it with breakfast.  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  A recent article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in March this year, indicated that men who skipped breakfast were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.  

A study by Antonogeorgos et al, in Paediatric Obesity, also showed that children who ate breakfast daily were more likely to prevent overweight and obesity.  It should really come as no surprise that eating breakfast will decrease the temptation to over-indulge in high fat & sugary foods later.

If you plan to use your quota of butter for a fry up, then think again.  An interesting article published in ‘Nutrition Research and Practice’, in February 2012, compared Korean and Western diets.  Those who chose ‘potatoes, fruit and nuts’ at breakfast, showed lower risks of high blood pressure and blood glucose levels, when compared with adults who chose ‘eggs, breads and processed meat.’ 

These are just some of the latest findings from around the world.  As it turns out; you can be slimmer and healthier simply by eating breakfast.  Team your breakfast with smart food choices and you’ll also help protect your heart and risk of diabetes.  What’s more, if the thin scraping of butter on your toast encourages you to eat breakfast, then this could be the saviour from a monster munch attack later in the day.

Breakfast suggestions 
  • cereal with reduced fat milk 
  • high fibre bread with a scraping of butter (or margarine) or other spreads.  
  • another delicious breakfast selection is fruit salad with yoghurt. 

Base the rest of your meals around carbohydrates, protein, fruit and vegetables.  Sandwiches packed with salads or soups and pasta salads bursting with coloured vegetables will help you meet your target of five fruit and vegetables a day.  Choose no bigger than a palm sized portion of meat, chicken or fish per day.  Don’t forget that lentils, beans and chick peas are a great alternative source of protein.

Combat Chocolate Cravings

After your gym work-out, why not treat yourself to a glass of low fat chocolate milk?  What a clever way of replacing muscle glycogen stores after exercise.  If you don’t do this, you run the risk of post work-out dives in blood sugar levels (and thus the danger of raging chocolate cravings). 

In addition to restoring the much needed carbohydrates, you’ll find that you’ve just satisfied your sweet tooth and potentially prevented a major pig out.  Have this drink immediately after a work-out (ideally within 30 minutes) for maximal absorption and replacement of glycogen stores.  Eat your evening meal as soon as you can.

What About Beer?

How could I forget!  After your hard work of healthy eating and commitment to exercise, I think you’ve earned yourself a can of beer this weekend! 

If you decide to give the can a miss, I found Delia's braised steak and mushroom recipe online which could also be prepared with beer.  Just go easy on the butter!


Please comment below, I really love and read all of your comments!


  1. Great article!

    I am also wondering about avocado. I know it contains healthy fats, but also quite a bit of saturated thus how much is too much avocado per day or week?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. Thank you Nat. I am glad that you enjoyed the article. That's an excellent question. Although avocado may have some saturated fats, it is also abundant in mono-unsaturated fats. An average serving size for avocado is half of a medium fruit, so you could eat this amount daily if you wished. However, as you would be increasing your over all intake of fats if you didn't normally eat this amount, then I would reduce sources of saturated fats from butter / baking or fried foods on that day to compensate.