Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall on the River Cottage website.

London - As a successful TV chef, you might expect Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to urge you to eat more.

But the presenter of the River Cottage series (screened in South Africa on DStv) has turned to fasting to offset his Christmas ‘gluttony’, he said on Sunday.

He has become the latest supporter of ‘intermittent fasting’, heralded as the biggest diet revolution since the Atkins.

Dieters eat normally for five days a week but dramatically reduce their food intake on the other two days.

Fearnley-Whittingstall, 48, admitted he struggled to stick to his own River Cottage lifestyle of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, writing: ‘At the turn of the year, like so many, I consumed way too much meat, cheese, cream, sugar and alcohol.’

He said he had started intermittent fasting on New Year’s Day, meaning he has gone through six days of fasting, and had lost 8lb (about 3,6kg).

The chef limited his food intake on fast days to a 250-calorie breakfast and a 350-calorie supper and drank black and herbal teas during the day to stave off hunger pangs.

He felt ‘lean and sharp’ but asked: ‘Is it really sustainable, for me or for significant numbers of others?’


THE book The Fast Diet by Dr Michael Mosley tells you to eat normally for five days a week - up to 2,000 calories a day for woman and 2,500 for men.

On the other two, women limit their food intake to 500 calories a day and men 600.

Supporters claim the regime is easier to stick to than a traditional diet, and research has found links between fasting and the body’s ability to repair itself.

Dr Mosley, who presented a BBC2 Horizon programme on the subject last year, lost a stone (about 6kg) in six weeks and cut his body fat by a quarter.

Critics question whether extreme calorie restriction is healthy and warn that fasting can be addictive. - Daily Mail