Food for Thought

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Fat burning is free
‘People love to hear that certain foods, exercise and tablets are fat burning,’ says dietitian Glenn Cardwell.

Glenn Cardwell
Glenn Cardwell

‘Back in the early 1990s I was in the national media because I called fat metaboliser and fat mobiliser tablets a big fat scam. The response by the tablet manufacturers was quite clever. It was nothing. Not a word. No response meant that the story was dead in 24 hours. No response also meant that the manufacturers were acknowledging that their tablets were a scam, albeit a very lucrative one, and they didn’t have a scrap of evidence to justify their existence. They still don’t.

Fat burning is such a beautiful expression, because it implies that you require some outside influence to get you into a fat burning zone. Spoiler warning. Here is the truth. If you are currently breathing, you are burning fat. Asleep? Burning fat. Sitting? Burning fat. Watching telly? Burning fat. Fat burning is easy. Just breath.

To burn up excess fat is much harder. You will need to do much more activity to burn enough fat to lose weight. For most people, that will mean 60 minutes of activity a day. Yes, one hour. There it is again – the truth. Unpleasant news, yes?

The other side of the fat burning equation is food and drink. No food or drink will burn fat. Not one. Truth. Sure, there are adverts encouraging you to buy a book with all the ‘fat burning’ foods listed, like black tea, garlic, lettuce, celery, water, apples and by now you will have realised that they are all low calorie foods.

To burn fat you must eat less kilojoules than you burn through activity. How?

  1. Eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, lean meat and very few cakes and biscuits, and eat only until you are no longer hungry (not until you are chockers). Do this all your life, not just four weeks.
  2. Do more exercise. In other words, if you buy a bicycle, you must then ride it. Frequently.


As I said, fat burning is free. It requires change and a lot of hard work. Most people know this deep down, yet they prefer to buy hope and ignore the truth. However, the truth can be the best investment anyone ever made.’

Glenn Cardwell is an Accredited Practising Dietitian. Make sure you check out Glenn’s website