I show that you can eat pasta-heavy Mediterranean diet and still lose weight, says Gregg Wallace

Gregg Wallace in the BBC's Horizon: Feast to Save the Planet
Having lost five stone in his own diet, Gregg Wallace is eager to point out that you don't need to reject carbs to lose weight - GLENN DEARING/BBC/BBC
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Gregg Wallace, the presenter of BBC1’s MasterChef, has said people do not need to shun pasta and potatoes to lose weight, citing his own five-stone weight loss as proof.

Wallace, 59, said his advice comes from numerous health experts he has spoken to for his new podcast A Piece of Cake.

He said people can prioritise home-cooked balanced meals over calorie-restrictive diets and do a bit of gentle activity to achieve similar results.

Wallace said he was driven to change his habits following a health warning from his doctor.

“I tried all the diets under the sun, and none of them worked.

“You just beat yourself up emotionally and you think you’re weak-willed.”

Dr Giles Yeo, a Cambridge University professor and author of Why Calories Don’t Count: How we got the science of weight loss wrong, is said to have told Wallace that trying to burn fattening food through rigorous exercise was a pointless lost cause.

Gregg Wallace is no stranger to the Mediterranean diet, have co-written this cookbook with his wife, Anna
Gregg Wallace is no stranger to the Mediterranean diet, have co-written this cookbook with his wife, Anna

“We all think we have to exercise,” Wallace continued.

“If you have a chocolate bar, that’s going to be around 250 calories. As he [Dr Yeo] quite rightly pointed out, you’d have to be on a treadmill for 30-40 minutes just to get rid of the chocolate bar.

“That’s without our takeaway pizza, that’s without our half bottle of Rosé and some chocolate biscuits on the sofa.”

Explaining how he’d shed so much weight, he told BBC Radio 2 on Sunday: “It was this: stopping the snacks, stopping the takeaways and cooking more.

“We all think we have to not have carbs. You think about this Mediterranean diet, the French, the amount of bread they consume, all slim.

“The Spanish, with their patatas bravas, and the paellas, rice, potatoes; the Italians, the amount of pasta. But they’re all slim. It’s not the carbs.”

Moderate, gentle exercise when combined with healthier eating was more than enough to lose weight, he added.

“Go for a walk, every day, 20 minutes, half an hour. It’s getting your limbs moving, it’s getting your heart working,” he added.

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