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National Obesity Awareness Week

National Obesity Awareness Week in the UK takes place from January 10th to 16th this year. National Obesity Awareness Week aims to demystify obesity and gives advice on easy ways...

National Obesity Awareness Week in the UK takes place from January 10th to 16th this year. National Obesity Awareness Week aims to demystify obesity and gives advice on easy ways to prevent it. The mantra is Eat Right, Stay Fit, and Lose weight.

Health Benefits of Weight Loss

Not everyone needs to lose weight. We live in a society that celebrates thinness even though thinness does not equate to health. But, being obese puts you at increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Obesity is characterised by having a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30. However, if you have a lot of muscle your BMI may be high even though you are healthy and fit. For those who are obese losing weight is likely to have many health benefits as well as improved quality of life. Here we’ll look at some of the things that influence our weight and suggest some dietary, lifestyle and supplement tips to help you reach a healthy weight this year.

Calories and Weight Gain

 It’s long been believed that people gain weight when they consume more energy than they expend. This is known as the energy balance model. However, the energy balance model doesn’t take into account that the body does not deal with all calories in the same way. Research suggests that obesity is, at least partly, a metabolic disorder caused by eating too many refined carbohydrates and their effect on insulin (1).

Carbohydrates and Insulin

When we eat highly processed carbohydrates they break down into glucose rapidly in the gut. This glucose goes into the blood stream causing a dramatic spike in blood glucose. In order to bring this glucose down to a safe level the body secretes insulin to carry the glucose from the blood into the cells. However, if insulin levels keep surging the cells become deaf to it and more has to be produced in order to get the glucose into the cells. Having regular high levels of insulin leads to more of the glucose being converted into fat. At the same time there is less glucose available to fuel the muscles meaning energy may be low. The brain perceives that the body isn't getting enough energy, which, in turn, leads to feelings of hunger. In addition, metabolism may slow down in the body's attempt to conserve fuel and we may remain hungry, despite gaining fat.
The advice is to avoid sugar, refined carbohydrates and ultra processed foods to reset the metabolism.

 Weight and the Gut Microbiome

The human body is host to a vast number of microbes which together constitute our microbiota. Evidence is emerging that the intestinal microbiome is intrinsically linked to overall health, including obesity risk. For example, a study on mice with metabolic syndrome found that particular bacteria were strongly linked to metabolic syndrome with its associated pathologies including weight gain around the middle, high blood pressure and diabetes (2). Other research confirms that an individual’s gut microbiome may be a major player in modulating whether a weight loss intervention is successful or not  (3).

The good news is that the composition of the gut microbiota is not fixed and can be influenced by what we eat and the consumption of:

  1. Probiotics – live microbes that benefit the host.
  2. Prebiotics – nondigestible or limited digestible food constituents, such as oligosaccharides, which act as food for the beneficial microbes.
  3. Synbiotics – contain both probiotics and prebiotics.
  4. Resveratrol – may impact weight gain.

Sustainable Weight Loss Tips

A survey of 5000 members of WW (formerly Weight Watchers) who had lost an average of 50 pounds and kept it off for more than 3 years asked participants which weight management strategies worked for them. Here are the strategies that work to keep weight off in the long term (4).

  • Make healthy food choices
  • Set daily food intake goals
  • Record what was eaten each day
  • Weigh and measure foods
  • Use positive self talk
  • Think about past successes
  • Remain positive even when weight has been gained

Other top tips for sustained weight loss include:

  • Set realistic goals - aim to reduce food intake and increase physical activity gradually.
  • Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates – aim to cook from scratch as much as possible using fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, pulses and whole grains.
  • Include fibre and protein with your meals.
  • Avoid late night eating - research has found that the same amount and type of food eaten as a late-evening snack results in less fat being burned overnight compared to the same food being eaten at breakfast (5).
  • Avoid snacking where possible but if you do need something try apple or carrot dipped in peanut butter or vegetable sticks with hummus, or a Tom Oliver protein powder drink.
  • Exercise more often – whether it’s HIIT workouts, walking, swimming, cycling or dancing make sure you find something that you  can do regularly.
  • Get enough sleep
  • Spend time outdoors
  • Switch off devices especially in the evening.

Supplement Help for Weight Loss

Tom Oliver’s Curcumin – slows the development of diabetes and aids in the management of blood sugar control and insulin resistance.

Tom Oliver’s Multi-vitamin/Mineral for Men and Women –  contain B vitamins, chromium, zinc and vitamin C, all of which are involved in blood sugar control.

Tom Oliver’s Omega 3 – contains EPA and DHA as well as phospholipids which have been shown to improve glycaemic control and lipid profiles, and choline which supports weight loss.

Tom Oliver’s Protein Powders - protein helps to decrease appetite enhancing hormones such as ghrelin,  while increasing appetite reducing hormones resulting in increased satiety and reduced food intake. Tom Oliver’s protein powders contain green tea extract and L-carnitine which may both aid weight loss. Available in vegan and whey protein options.

Tom Oliver’s Zinc – involved in blood sugar and insulin control. At doses lower than 25mg per day, and long-durations, zinc supplementation can reduce the risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease including improving insulin resistance, triglycerides, cholesterol and blood glucose levels.

Tom Oliver’s probiotics – the microbiome affects all aspects of health including weight. Taking probiotics is a good way to influence the make up the bacteria in the gut.

Please consult with a medical specialist before embarking on a restrictive diet or an exercise programme.




  1. David S Ludwig et al. The carbohydrate-insulin model: a physiological perspective on the obesity pandemic. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2021
  2. P Lu et al. Intestinal epithelial Toll-like receptor 4 prevents metabolic syndrome by regulating interactions between microbes and intestinal epithelial cells in mice. Mucosal Immunology, 2018;
  3. Diener C et al. Baseline Gut Metagenomic Functional Gene Signature Associated with Variable Weight Loss Responses following a Healthy Lifestyle Intervention in Humans. MSystems, 2021;
  4. Phelan S et al. Behavioural and Psychological Strategies of Long‐Term Weight Loss Maintainers in a Widely Available Weight Management Program. Obesity, 2020; 28 (2): 421
  5. K Parsons Kelly et al Eating breakfast and avoiding late-evening snacking sustains lipid oxidation. PLOS Biology, 2020; 18 (2): e3000622


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