Top Nutritionist Lily Soutter who writes for The Daily Mail, The Times, The Telegraph and The Independent, gives us the low down on dieting; what’s fact and what’s fiction!
1. You write a lot for the Daily Mail on diets, with so much information out there, which one is the best to follow?
There are so many ‘fad’ diets out there, which over complicate and contradict the principles of nutrition. When it comes to health, we need to go back to basics and focus on positive nutrition. By eating a few more whole foods and a little less processed rubbish, we’ll instantly be on the right path to health.
At the same time health is about balance and consistency, and the focus doesn’t need to be on achieving the ‘perfect diet’ (which simply doesn’t exist). We need to remember that food is not something to be feared, but should be savoured and enjoyed.
2. Which 5 ‘health’ foods do people currently eat that aren’t really healthy?
The cold truth about frozen yoghurt is that is often contains more sugar than ice cream, because in order to mask the tart taste, companies often have to add additional sweetness.
Gluten-free processed foods
To ensure that gluten-free foods are palatable, they often contain higher levels of sugar, salt and additives in comparison to their gluten alternatives.
Agave may contain as much as 90% fructose, and although fructose doesn’t raise blood sugar in the short-term, it can still lead to insulin resistance, which increases the risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Many protein bars out there are high in calories, sugar, hydrogenated oils, cheap fillers and stabilisers. When choosing an energy or protein bar always ensure the ingredients list consist of whole foods.
Put simply, margarine is an unhealthy assembly of chemicals and refined oils.
3. What are your top tips for anyone desk-bound by day to help them lead a healthier lifestyle?
i) Take a lunch break. Too many of us mindlessly eat in front of our work laptops and forget about the mindful element of eating. Start noticing the flavours, colours and textures of your lunch and I promised you will feel more satisfied…
ii) Keep moving. Exercise is one of the most potent and underutilised stress relievers. A simple 5-minute walk can instantly reduce anxiety and clears the mind.
iii) Stay hydrated. Did you know that staying hydrated could increase productivity at work by at least 14%? If you struggle to drink your 2 litres a day, have a go at infusing water with mint, lemon or berries for a tastier beverage.
4. There seems to be a lot of information out there on grains with diets like Paleo and Atkins promoting going grain free – what are your thoughts?
Whilst sweeping headlines about the next ‘must do’ trendy diet may sound very appealing, in relating excluding whole food groups can actually do more harm than good. When we exclude whole grains from the diet we may miss out key components such as fibre, iron and B vitamins. Unfortunately many ‘diets’ out there are based on pseudoscience and lack the concrete evidence to back up their attributed health claims. When removing whole food groups from the diet, always seek guidance from a Nutritionist or Nutritional Therapist to ensure that you receiving all the nutrients that you need.
5. What are your favourite health promoting foods?
I love nut butters, probably a little too much. They taste amazingly indulgent, whilst providing a good dose of healthy fats and protein, both of which are perfect for balancing blood sugar. My favourite brand has to be Pip & Nut, I usually drizzle a tablespoon of almond butter onto my porridge and use their sachets as an on-the-go snack.
6. What can we expect to learn from your new online health magazine, The Squeeze?
Our ethos is about a Life In Balance; you’ll find some evidence-based articles on the latest health topics, as well as reviews on the best cheese and wine marathons! We also have a relationship section, which is essential self-help and gossip column. We also have some seriously interesting contributors who will be sharing their super inspiring life stories.
7. Can you talk us briefly through how to read a food label?
The quickest way to read a food label is to check the traffic light labelling system on the front of a pack. Red, amber and green colours have been used to give you an at-a-glance overview of the calorie, fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt content.
8. Which is your favourite Squirrel salad and why?
My favourite squirrel salad has to be Kale Yeah. This salad doesn’t skimp on quality ingredients, with fresh salmon providing a good dose of healthy omega 3 fats for brain and heart health. I love the combination of the immune boosting sweet potato with the nutrient dense kale and the crunchy toasted almonds. A perfect nutritionally balanced salad, which can help to keep blood sugar stable and energy high throughout the day!
Lily graduated from Newcastle University with a BSc (Hons) degree in Food and Human Nutrition where she was awarded with the Sage Faculty for Excellence Scholarship. She then went on to gain a Nutritional Therapy Diploma from the Institute of Optimum Nutrition. Lily’s extensive knowledge of the science of food and health, enables her to regularly write for The Times, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Independent, Women’s Health and Cosmopolitan. Her frequent TV appearances include ITV’s prime time series Save Money: Lose Weight with Dr Ranj Singh. Lily sees clients from her clinic in Chelsea and from the Portobello Clinic, a private medical practice based in Notting Hill.