Go Hybrid: For Healthy Weightloss

You can eat fat to lose weight! If you are looking to lose weight, then a high fat, low carb diet is just about the best way to do it. And it’s safe, despite all the scare stories.

You can either follow the advice in my book The Hybrid Diet – which is more flexible – or follow my prescriptive 5 Day Diet – which is the one I use on my Hybrid/5 Day Diet retreats.

Which ever diet you choose, Going Hybrid can offer important weight management benefits compared to many other diets:

  • Losing weight – primarily body fat
  • Losing weight with little or no hunger
  • Losing weight rapidly and in significant amounts
  • Losing weight while creating metabolic advantage – forget the rebound weight
  • Losing weight healthily

I cover the many additional health benefits of Going Hybrid in other reports.

Losing weight AND body fat

Of the studies that have taken place I want to highlight the review of the evidence by Professor Timothy Noakes, a sports scientist and campaigner for low carb diets at the University of Cape Town. He found that high fat diets repeatedly performed as well or better than the low fat alternatives in terms of weight loss. For instance, in a year-long study of 148 obese men and women, one group’s diet was set at 55 per cent carbohydrates (150g), while those in the second group were restricted to less than 40g of carbs each day, but allowed to eat as much fat and protein as they liked. By the end of the trial, the second group had lost an average of 5.3kg and reduced their body fat by 1.3 per cent, while those in the first group had lost just 1.8kg, and their body fat had increased by 0.3 per cent.

A second trial involving 34 overweight or obese diabetics reported very similar results. One group was put on a standard low fat, calorie-restricted diet, which provided 150g of carbohydrates per day. The others went on a high fat diet with no more than 50g of carbs per day – a sufficiently small intake to put them into ketosis. Both groups were taught about diet and learned psychological techniques to help them change their behaviour. After three months those in the low fat group had lost an average of 2.6kg, whereas those in the high fat group had lost 5.5kg. In addition, 44 per cent of the second group had been able to reduce their medication, compared with only 11 per cent in the first group.

In both of these trials, the low fat groups cut their calorific intake by at least 500 calories a day, whereas the second (high fat) groups did not. Yet, the ‘eat as much as you like’ groups lost twice as much weight as the calorie-restricted groups.

This finding directly contradicts the official explanation for obesity: that it is due to eating too much. On the other hand, it correlates precisely with the ‘Carbohydrate–Insulin Model of Obesity’, developed by Professor David Ludwig of Boston’s Children’s Hospital.

So why does weight-loss occur?

When a body is deprived of carbohydrates, the blood glucose that is normally used to power the brain and the muscles starts to drop almost immediately, along with the level of insulin.

The body’s natural response is to release fat into the bloodstream to meet its immediate energy requirements. This is why we start to lose weight after only a couple of days on a low carb diet. By contrast, insulin and glucose levels remain pretty much the same on a low fat diet, so little or no fat is released from storage and little or no weight is lost. Moreover, a 2012 study found that people on a low carb diet burned around 300 extra calories each day… while resting! According to the researchers, ‘that equals the number of calories typically burned in an hour of moderate-intensity physical activity’.

This situation is fine for the muscles, as they are able to process the released fat to meet all of their energy needs. However, the brain is unable to extract energy from fat. This might seem to be a serious design flaw, especially as our bodies can store no more than 300g of glucose (in the form of glycogen), and the brain uses about 100g each day.

So, why does the body not shut down after three days, after those reserves of glucose have run out? The answer is ketones. The liver manufactures them from the released fat that is now circulating around the bloodstream as well as ingested fats, such as MCT oil.

The brain can process these little packets of energy – in fact, it may prefer them to glucose – and they provide all the fuel it needs to keep functioning perfectly. As an added bonus, the body simply pees out any ketones that it doesn’t use; they are not converted back into fat, in marked contrast to unused glucose.

Cut out the fast carbs to lose weight

Slow carbs win for weight-loss. It’s not just the amount of carbs that matters but the type. Dr Laura Pawlak demonstrated that the type of carbs is equally important. She fed two groups of rats almost identical diets: same calories, same fat, same protein and same quantity of carbs. The only difference was that the first group ate nothing but slow carbs (low GI/GL) while the second group ate only fast carbs (high GI/GL). By the end of the thirty-two-week trial, the low GL rats were 14 per cent lighter and had lost 29 per cent of their body fat, while the high GL group had put on weight.

Another study found very similar results in human volunteers who were placed on one of three diets: (1) low carb/low GL; (2) low carb/high GL (3) conventional low fat/high carb. Each diet had exactly the same number of calories and the participants followed them for six months. Those in the low carb/low GL group lost considerably more weight than either the low carb/high GL or the conventional low fat/high carb groups. They also recorded the largest improvements in insulin resistance and the functioning of beta-cells in the pancreas, where insulin is manufactured.

So, whether you opt for very low carb in the form of a ketogenic diet or low GL, the end result will be weight loss, if you need it, as well as a much lower risk of diabetes. But is one of these approaches better than the other?

A ketogenic diet or low GL – which is best?

A two-year study explored this question and provided invaluable information on the long-term effects of both diets. The researchers randomly assigned 322 obese people to one of three diets: conventional low fat, low calorie; ‘Mediterranean’ low calorie (which approximates to our low GL approach); and very low carb, high fat (ketogenic).

Weight loss was greatest in the ketogenic group (4.7kg), closely followed by the low GL group (4.4kg), while the conventional low fat group managed only 2.9kg. The first two diets were also more effective in reducing overall cholesterol levels, while diabetics in the low GL group also benefited from significantly lower glucose levels, especially in comparison with those on the conventional diet, who saw their glucose levels increase.

So, in conclusion, while the ketogenic approach was marginally better for weight loss and low GL was marginally better for diabetics, both were vast improvements on the conventional low fat, high carb approach.

I recommend both – Go Hybrid with a short ketogenic diet, and the majority of the time follow my Low GL maintenance/lifestyle, diet as outlined in my books.

Weight loss with Little or No hunger

As well as losing more weight and more body fat, people who follow a low carb diet tend to eat less because they feel much more satisfied after each meal. This was evident in a six-month study of overweight people who were placed on one of three diets, all with the same total number of calories: low carb, all low GI (i.e. low GL); fewer but higher GI carbs; and conventional low fat, high GI carbs.

Unsurprisingly, the best results – most weight loss as well as lowest insulin and markers for diabetes – were achieved by the low GL group. However, in addition, the researchers reported, ‘Two hours after the breakfast, significantly greater reductions in hunger sensations were shown in subjects allocated to the Low GL diet than in those allocated to the High GI diet.’ Maria Pereira’s Brazilian study confirmed these findings as the participants on the low GL diet reported significantly less hunger than those on the low fat, low calorie diet.

But why does eating low carb and/or low GL result in less hunger? Researchers at King’s College London may have found the answer. They fed volunteers either a high or a low carb meal and then measured the release of a key gut hormone involved in appetite control – glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1). Levels of this hormone increased by 20 per cent among those who had just eaten the low carb meal, so it is hardly surprising that they reported feeling less hungry than the high carb group.

More recently, a Chinese study found that a low fat, high carb diet actually suppresses GLP-1, which is sure to lead to more hunger. Taken together, these two studies help to explain why a low carb, low GL meal leaves you feeling much fuller than a high carb, high GL meal.

This is an important discovery, as stimulating a natural desire to eat less is obviously a great help to those who want to lose weight. A few years ago, a chef who decided to give the low GL diet a try reported, ‘I could just eat and eat and would still be hungry throughout the day. But after two months on the low GL diet I now feel full and can leave food on the plate.’ We now know that this is because he’s getting a surge of GLP-1 after every meal.

Losing Weight Rapidly and in Significant amounts

In the five groups of people who have attended my retreats, now 87 people in total, the average weight loss has been 2.7kg (6 lbs). The greatest loser in each retreat is usually double this. We make sure to measure people AFTER bringing back carbs so the body’s glycogen stores, which is glucose plus water, returns. This avoids the ‘cheat’ of measuring water loss not fat loss. We measure fat % and also follow people up a week and a month later and most keep the weight off, some losing more.

This kind of healthy weight loss is unheard of. No diet – 5:2, keto, low carb, 18:6, weekly fasting even conventional FMD has achieved this, also with no hunger. Charles, our greatest loser in the last retreat, losing 7kg of over 1 stone, One retreat attendee reported ‘I lost more in 5 days than in 21 days at a renowned London clinic‘.

Tackling the issue of rebound weight – the Metabolic Advantage

One of the main problems associated with dieting is that the body responds to a low intake of calories by reducing its metabolic rate, which means it burns fewer calories. This is because it thinks it is starving – which, of course, it is, in a way – and does everything it can to conserve the fat you so badly want to shift. As a result, conventional dieters find it increasingly difficult to lose weight even as they eat fewer and fewer calories. An even bigger problem is that they eventually regain any lost weight because they cannot remain on very low calories forever. They pile on the pounds as soon as their calorie intake increases because their metabolism is still at rock bottom.

Cara Ebbeling and her colleagues at the Children’s Hospital in Boston reached the conclusion that low GL diets are metabolism friendly. They assigned volunteers to one of three ‘maintenance’ diets – (1) conventional low fat, (2) low GL diet (3) ketogenic – in the aftermath of a successful weight-loss programme. Then they monitored the three groups’ resting energy expenditure (the number of calories you burn while doing nothing) and total energy expenditure (what you burn doing nothing plus what you burn during physical activity).

Those on the low GL and ketogenic diets recorded much greater resting energy expenditure than those on the low fat diet. In other words, the body’s metabolism falls less sharply when you eat either low GL or low carb, high fat than it does when you eat low fat. The total calories burned was also greater among those on the low GL and ketogenic diets, with these groups burning up to 300 extra calories each day compared with those on the low fat diet. That’s the equivalent of what you would burn in one hour of fairly vigorous exercise.

The authors of this important study simply stated that ‘a strategy to reduce glycaemic load rather than dietary fat may be advantageous for weight-loss maintenance’.

Going Hybrid on ‘the Hybrid Diet’

If you follow the advice in The Hybrid Diet written by myself and award-winning medical journalist Jerome Burne, your meals will be delicious and varied, and they will contain copious amounts of fat and protein from fish, meat (mostly white rather than red), eggs, raw nuts and seeds, cream, butter, cheese and full-fat milk, plenty of green leafy vegetables, such as cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, as well as natural plant oils from coconuts, avocados and olives.

The first step is to change the proportions of the three macro-nutrients.:

  • Fat must provide 65–80 per cent of your daily calories
  • Protein providing 20–25 per cent
  • Carbohydrates just 5–10 per cent.

We allow for a certain amount of wiggle room because everyone responds differently to the three macronutrients. This diet is flexible within the guidance given in The Hybrid Diet book. It’s important to have an effective way to measure your state of ketosis and glucose levels.

To understand what the diet involves day-to-day and more about the science behind the diet take a look at The Hybrid Diet in a Nutshell. You will need The Hybrid Diet book to guide you. .

Going Hybrid on the 5 Day Diet

The diet has been devised to help you improve your health by kickstarting and maintaining ketosis (using ketones for energy rather than glucose) and supports healthy weight-loss.

One way to get into ketosis is by fasting. The trouble is only the brave are willing to do it. There are many variations of intermittent fasting. All these have their merits and reasonable evidence, or at least logic, to support them. All will have the potential to briefly trigger autophagy and nudge your metabolism away from glucose, made from carbs, towards ketones, made from fat, including burning your own body fat.

Yet I do not believe that they are nearly as effective as five consecutive days of fewer calories (appx 800 to be precise), with not too much protein, and consuming food and drink that is specifically designed to trigger autophagy – which is the key to the ability of fasting to transform your health, rejuvenate your cells and switch you out of a disease process.

To understand what the diet involves day-to-day and more about the science behind the diet, take a look at The 5 Day Diet in a Nutshell.

The 5 Day Diet follows on from The Hybrid Diet in 2020 and is more prescriptive – FREE with the supplement combo needed to get cracking with the diet – or the book is available on its own.

5 Day Diet Success Stories

If you want to read what others who have done the diet have to say about it you can read their testimonials here.


Extracts from The Hybrid Diet (Piatkus, 2019).