• Dr Sally Norton


....... DOESN'T EXIST!

Well, how else was I going to get your attention?! We are constantly trumpeting the fact that there is no ‘quick-fix’ for obesity – but people are still hoping that there is!

After 15 years as a weight-loss surgeon, I know that there is no miracle drug for weight-loss… I would have prescribed it if there was. However as a recent study shows, the thought of being able to pop a pill to magically melt that fat away still persists. What’s more, it may encourage us to overeat, in the hope that we can compensate for our indulgence with a tablet.

The study in question gave participants free rein with high calorie cookies. Half of the group had been told beforehand about a powerful, new, fat-fighting pill (fictitious, of course!). This half ate significantly more cookies (up to 30!) than the other half of the group – presumably expecting that a quick-fix was just around the corner.

We do something similar when it comes to tucking in over Christmas. We know, deep down, that the New Year diet won’t last long enough to lose that irritating stone or so, but we tell ourselves that we are ok to indulge in extra mince pies and chocolates because this time our willpower will last and we will succeed on the latest fad diet come January!

A much better approach would be to be honest with yourself, indulge a little less over Christmas (you will feel healthier and less sluggish anyway!) and promise yourself to make a few small but sustainable habit changes in the New Year instead. Book in a chat with me if you need more guidance. By next Christmas, the thought of a crash diet won’t even cross your mind!

If that is not enough to get you to eat a little more healthily, then have you thought about how junk food really affects you?

Three reasons to ditch the junk food:​​

It can be as addictive as a drug. More and more evidence is revealing that sugar actually has a similar effect on us as a drug addiction. When we consume sugar, our bodies release dopamine –a hormone that makes us feel good (hence our cravings when we are feeling low). But the problem is that the more sugar we have, the less dopamine we produce – which leaves us wanting more sugar to get our dopamine fix. This can turn into an addictive spiral, with us craving more and more sugar over time – something our waistlines will end up suffering for. Want to beat your addiction? Cutting back over time can help reduce cravings, or you could go cold-turkey. You’ll feel better for it in the long run!

It can monopolise your diet. A study on rats showed that rats who had overeaten one specific type of healthy food stopped responding to it – their body’s way of encouraging them to try other foods. In the same study, rats who were fed on processed, unhealthier foods didn’t stop responding to the foods – they would happily continue their junk-food diet, and actually ended up gaining weight. Could this happen to humans too? The researchers think this is likely – which could explain why so many people are happy living off a diet of pizza and chips!


It can make you moody. According to a study from the San Diego School of Medicine, junk food can put you in a bad mood. The research showed that people in the study who had a higher intake of trans fats (those found in processed junk foods) had a correlated increase in aggression and irritability. So cutting back on junk food could put you in a better mood – and I’m sure those around you will appreciate your improved mood too! So if the thought of losing weight doesn’t make you want to cut the junk, then maybe the thought of the effects it has on you will!


L Bolton, A Bhattacharjee, A Reed. The Perils of Marketing Weight Management Remedies and the Role of Health Literacy. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing 2014.

Cafeteria diet impairs expression of sensory-specific satiety and stimulus-outcome learning. A Reichelt, M Morris, R. F. Westbrook Front. Psychol. August 2014

Trans fats consumption and agression: B Golomb, M Evans, H White, J Dimsdale. Trans Fat Consumption and Aggression. PLoS ONE, 2012