* the GI (glycaemic index) diet. A study published in JAMA found that a low-calorie diet emphasising foods with a low glycaemic load [GI multiplied by grammes of carbohydrates per serving, divided by 100] is more effective than a traditional low-fat diet for maintaining metabolic rate while, at the same time, lowering the risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes (JAMA, 2004; 292: 2482-90).
* metabolic typing. This weight-loss method is based on the idea that no single, universal diet is right for every-one because each of us processes foods differently. Once you have deter-mined your metabolic type - protein, carbohydrate or mixed - you can eat the optimal sorts and ratio of foods for you to obtain the best for your body and mind. For more information, contact The Metabolic Typing Education Centre UK (tel: 01625 824 887) or visit the website at www.metabolictyping.co.uk.
* eating little and often. In one study, volunteers were split into two groups: one was given a certain amount and type of food as three meals over the course of the day; the other was given exactly the same type and amount of food, but divided into 17 snacks throughout the day. After two weeks, those on the snacking diet had lower insulin levels than the three-meals-a-day dieters. As insulin stimulates fat production in the body, this shows that grazing throughout the day can help fight the battle of the bulge (N Engl J Med, 1989; 321: 929-34).
* exercise - a lot. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 suggest that 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity on most days of the week is what's needed to prevent gradual weight gain, while a whopping 60-90 min/day of moderate exercise is required to lose weight and keep it off.