Everyone loves a doctor who sticks it to those other know-it-alls in his or her profession that are always telling us to stop eating fast food, cut back on the booze and go for a walk once in a while. Dr Michael Mosley is the best example of these industry renegades, because he has the academic chops, a devil-may-care attitude and isn’t afraid to accuse his colleagues of nonsensical thinking.
To get ready for Eat, Fast and Live Longer on SBS, here are some examples of his renegade attitude.
1. When he got right in the face of big university research
From a young age, Michael was thumbing his nose at the so-called sages who came before him. In fact, he’s based his whole career on one piece of information received at university – that within 15 years of completing his medical degree, half of everything he and his peers had learnt would be out of date. Since then, he’s been scornful of GPs who dish out advice without keeping up with the latest research.
2. When he told Sarah Wilson to stop demonising sugar
Most doctors will tell you to keep away from sugar, but, as usual, Michael has a different opinion – despite being diabetic himself. “Sugar is one of my greatest addictions,” he says. “Pretty much every tooth in my mouth has been drilled and replaced. If there’s chocolate or biscuits in the house, I’ll eat them.” In a head-to-head battle with I Quit Sugar author Sarah Wilson, he claimed there was a danger in demonising foods when the evidence surrounding their effects is unclear. (That said, he doesn’t keep biccies and chocolate in the house anymore...)
Watch Michael Mosley talk about the diabetes problem in Australia on Insight:
3. When he made it okay to fast 2 days per week for weight loss
In his most famous move, Michael broke with the medical establishment to advocate fasting for two days every week – a shift he credits with helping him lose 12 kilos. Thanks to his doco Eat, Fast and Live Longer, the 5:2 Diet became hugely successful, flying in the face of received wisdom that your body will simply store more fat when you return to normal eating. The diet relies on consuming very little on those two days, giving the body a break from processing food and ensuring your blood isn’t flooded with glucose.
4. When he showed us that we don't have to run for hours to slim down
Forget running up hills while someone yells at you or spending hours on the elliptical – in Michael’s world, working out is all about speedy chunks of high-intensity movement. While most exercise experts will have you believe constant, lengthy movement is a great way to lose weight, he dismisses all that with a wave of his hand and five minutes of high-intensity interval training. “One of the gurus I spoke to said you can get most of the benefits from three minutes a week,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald. Oh, but that doesn’t mean you can lounge at your desk for the rest of the day, sadly. “We need to move every 30 minutes,” he added. “Get off your arse and go for a short stroll.”
5. When he de-throned breakfast as the most important meal of the day
The medical establishment (in league with the cereal lobby, no doubt) has spent a fortune on spreading the word that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and if you don’t eat it, you’ll be a fat mess. This works for some people, but for others, being forced to have brekkie makes them put on weight. Ditch the dusty textbooks, is Michael’s advice, and be your own guinea pig. “There was a trial recently of people who normally eat breakfast to skip it, and vice versa,” he told New Zealand’s Stuff. “They found barely any difference, only that both groups lost about 0.5kg.”
6. When he dismissed all that "eat more, smaller meals" nonsense
Nutritionists allege that eating five small meals a day speeds up your metabolism, so your body doesn’t hoard fat like it does when you starve yourself. But Michael says this mistaken belief dates from a circa-1950s study, and although the men involved did lose weight, they suffered other problems. “There was a study which looked at people who ate six small meals a day, and a separate group who ate two larger meals,” he told Stuff. “The group who ate two larger meals lost weight and saw improvements in their blood sugar levels. Also those who were eating just two meals said they felt fuller and more satisfied, where those in the other group did not.”
7. When he ate his own blood and injected it into his face
In his new show Wonderful World of Blood, Michael ignores the centuries of conventional wisdom dismissing ancient Rome’s medical prowess... and makes a blood pudding from his own claret. He also injects platelet-rich plasma derived from his own blood into his face, a youth-rejuvenating treatment advocated by none other than Kim Kardashian, MD.
Watch Michael Mosley: Trust Me, I'm a Doctor series 6 on Mondays at 7:30pm on SBS.
Missed the last episode? Watch it right here: