Cut the carbs and lose weight – a three day challenge!

If you are struggling to lose weight and need a quick fix then let me share this solution from nutritionist Patrick Holford which might just help.


If you went a bit heavy on carbs, sugar and alcohol over Christmas you might emerge with carb cravings, and a few extra pounds. Here’s how to reset your carb cravings in three days and burn off up to 5lbs in a week.

It’s based on having an 18 hour carb fast between dinner and lunch and starting each day with a Hybrid ‘Fast’ Latté, which is virtually carb-free. This means you will effectively start each day with an 18 hour carb fast.

You’ll have a filling lunch, a substantial mid-afternoon snack, then dinner with a treat before bed. It’s relatively painless and easy to do.

This is the fast way to trigger autophagy, the body’s self-repair programme, and ketosis which means you’ll be burning off fat. Do this for three days, and the 4th day, transition to my low GL diet, by which time your blood sugar level will be under control.


Let’s start at the beginning – with your morning Hybrid Latté. The Hybrid Latté consists of:

Carb-free almond milk – you need to buy a brand that says ‘zero carbs’. Check the nutritional ingredients at the back for the carbohydrate content, which needs to say 0. Alpro’s unsweetened roasted or unroasted almond milk is an example.

Coffee – coffee helps kickstart ketosis and autophagy but it’s OK to use de-caf if you prefer, or no coffee at all.

Almond butter – of all the nuts almonds are very low in carbs. A flat tablespoon, or heaped dessertspoon, will only give you about 2 grams of carbs, plenty of healthy fats and some protein. This amount of carbs is not enough to take you out of ketosis.

C8 oil– this is the fat or oil from which the body can directly make ketones in the liver, switching on ketosis, is ‘caprylic acid triglyceride’ or C8 oil. Ketofast is one brand of 99% C8 oil derived from pure coconut oil, not palm oil. Brain cells prefer this fuel to glucose, so you’ll find you mind becomes focussed after the Hybrid Latté.

However, please bear in mind that it takes a few days to adapt and, if you start with too high an amount you can experience either diarrhoea or stomach cramps, and possibly looser bowels, all of which resolve as your body gets used to this new source of fuel.

Unlike other fats C8 oil goes straight to the liver via the portal vein, thus not requiring all the digestion that other fats need. The ketones then enter the blood and are taken up, as an energy source, by all cell’s mitochondria, the energy factories.

The optimal amount is 2 to 3 tablespoons a day, but it’s wise to start with 2 to 3 teaspoons a day. So, on day one just put one teaspoon in your Hybrid Latté.

If you’re OK with this put a dessertspoon (two teaspoons) on day two and a tablespoon (three teaspoons) on day three, then keep going with this amount on the subsequent days if you wish to continue.

Cacao powder – Cacao contains plenty of antioxidants and polyphenols. The health benefits of cacao hinge around its high levels of flavonoids, mainly epicatechins and catechins. These are powerful polyphenols, acting as antioxidants and helping to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. It also contains a mild stimulant, theobromine, and has a lovely taste. Cacao also helps trigger autophagy (the natural, regulated mechanism of the cell that removes unnecessary or dysfunctional components).

Cinnamon – of all the spices this is my favourite. It helps to stabilise blood sugar and is therefore especially good for those with blood sugar problems. It also helps trigger autophagy.

Here’s the recipe for the Hybrid Fast Latté:

½ cup (120ml) no carb almond milk (unsweetened)

½ cup (120ml) filtered coffee or run through (less caffeine, more antioxidants)

1 flat tablespoon almond butter (16g)

1-3 tsp C8 oil with carnitine (Ketofast)

½ rounded tsp cacao powder

1/3 tsp cinnamon

Blend all ingredients in a blender such as a NutriBullet. If you’d like it hot (it will be warm from the coffee) heat it up. If you like it cold, as in an iced latté, pour over some ice cubes.


Your lunch is more like a brunch, eaten 18 hours from your previous dinner. Any lunch or dinner recipe in The Low Diet Cookbook fits the bill. Alternatively, any two egg breakfast – scrambled, boiled, fried, poached – with a thin slice of volkenbrot-style or sourdough rye or two Nairns oatcakes is good. You could add smoked salmon, avocado or asparagus.

Here’s a simple recipe for Scrambled Egg and Asparagus. Another easy option is a substantial salad – there are many to choose from in the Low GL Diet Cookbook. Or try this delicious Sardine Paté Salad – even if you don’t like sardines you’ll be surprised how good this is.

Scrambled Egg and Asparagus

Serves 1

2 eggs

Splash of water

4 Asparagus spears (64g)


1 tsp tahini

1 tsp olive oil

Black pepper

Squeeze of lemon juice


1. Mix the dressing ingredients together.

2. Add a splash of water to the egg and whisk gently.

3. Bring a pan of water to the boil and add asparagus. Cook for 3-6 minutes. depending on preference – 3 will be al-dente.

4. Whilst asparagus is cooking, add the egg mixture to a cold pan over medium heat and cook to desired consistency.

5. Put the asparagus on a plate and drizzle with the dressing. Add the egg to the plate and serve with a 100g portion of kimchi.

Sardine Paté Salad

Serves 1

½ can sardines

¼ small red onion, roughly chopped

a pinch of finely chopped coriander

a pinch of finely chopped flat leaf parsley

juice from ¼ lemon

4 capers

½ tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp olive oil

salt and ground black pepper

rocket and mixed baby leaf salad, to serve

Put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend together. Serve with the leaf salad.


In the mid-afternoon make yourself a Get Up & Go with Carboslow shake, using frozen berries and a carb-free almond milk (Alpro’s unsweetened is good – any that says 0 carbs on the nutritional analysis on the product).

You want 1 cup – when this is a whole meal it’s two cups, using a 30 gram portion of Get Up & Go with Carboslow, two tablespoons of berries, plus 300 ml (1.5 cups of milk). Get Up & Go with Carboslow, for the usual 30g serving (a heaped tablespoon), has an exceptionally low GL of 4 GLs or 6GLs with the berries and milk.

So, for this snack you’ll be using half these portions namely:

15 g of Get Up & Go

One tablespoon of berries

150ml of carb-free milk

Get Up & Go with Carboslow is an incredibly low-GL shake, which many people have for breakfast. It is made from whole foods: apple powder for carbs, a protein combo from quinoa, soya and rice protein, ground almonds and seeds, cinnamon and oat fibre, as well as glucomannan fibre.

Together with the fibre in Carboslow you’ll achieve the ideal intake, both for regular bowels and making you feel fuller, hence reducing your appetite so that you’re not hungry. Get Up & Go with Carboslow also contains many vitamins and minerals.

Another lunch or dinner option is simply to have a whole portion of Get Up & Go with Carboslow during these three days. In other words, you can achieve the same results having a Hybrid Latté in the morning, a Get Up & Go at lunch, half a serving mid-afternoon, and dinner.


You want to have a low GL dinner, choosing any from the Low GL cookbook. A simple option is soup.

One of my all-time favourites is Chestnut and Butterbean soup. It’s delicious and easy to make. You can double this recipe and freeze the remainder, or store in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Serves 2

200g (7oz) cooked and peeled chestnuts (available vacuum-packed in boxes, cans or jars)

1 x 410g can of butterbeans, rinsed and drained

1 medium white onion, chopped

1 large carrot, peeled and chopped

3 tsp Marigold Reduced Salt Vegetable Bouillon powder dissolved in 600ml (1 pint) water

Freshly ground black pepper

Place all the ingredients (except for a handful of the chestnuts and the pepper) in a saucepan, place a lid on it and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes.

Purée the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth and season with the black pepper.

Sprinkle the reserved chestnuts on top.

Choosing a meal with beans or lentils in it is especially good since this has a knock on effect, helping to further stabilise blood sugar the next day.

Good luck with my three-day challenge and I trust this will get you back on track. Wishing you the best of health for 2020.