Joanna Lumley reveals ‘no meal’ diet secret

Lumley's diet is not universally endorsed by experts. Picture: PA

Lumley's diet is not universally endorsed by experts. Picture: PA

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ABSOLUTELY Fabulous star Joanna Lumley has revealed she maintains her trim figure by not eating any meals.

The 68-year-old, who played Patsy Stone in the hit series, said she never sits down to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner, in an unusual bid to keep her figure svelte.

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Instead, Lumley says she survives on the odd savoury snack and glass of Champagne.

Lumley, who became a pin-up after appearing in the TV programme The New Avengers in the 1970s, said: “I don’t eat any meals. I eat a bit throughout the day If I’m hungry, but not a big meal.

“I’ll have some nuts or maybe some crisps and that’s enough.”

“I’m full of energy and never ill, and I haven’t eaten meat for 40 years. It’s no coincidence.”

In Scotland, around one in three adults is obese and last month it was revealed that obesity costs the NHS around £400 million a year.

Obesity increases a person’s risk of developing conditions such as type-II diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases and some forms of 
cancer.

The actress, who will appear in this year’s Comic Relief Bake Off for charity said that a lack of eating meals had made her a bad cook.

She confessed: “I have no idea how to cook because I don’t eat. I hate cake. I don’t remember the last time I ate a cake. I don’t like desserts and I don’t like anything sweet.

“I’m dreading the Bake Off for Red Nose Day being broadcast – I’ll be exposed. The public will see that I am a disaster. We’ve filmed it already. I’m terrible, absolutely terrible,” she added.

Fellow actress Liz Hurley has previously told how she skips breakfast and Sir Cliff Richard also used to claim he was one-meal-a-day man.

But Anita Bean, registered nutritionist and author of Food for Fitness, said skipping meals to lose weight could prove unsustainable for most dieters.

She said: “We know from research that people who have three meals a day tend to be slimmer than those who snack all day – lots of snacking leads to more opportunities to over-eat.

“It sounds like it’s a strategy that works for Joanna Lumley, but she must have an extremely high level of willpower to stick to such a frugal eating routine.

“If she is eating healthy, high-protein snacks, such as nuts and seeds or milk-based products, then that is great, but if the snacks are unhealthy, for example crisps, then that’s not going to work for most people as it will not fill you up and could lead to more temptation. Sticking to three main meals with minimal snacking would be preferable.”

Nutritionist Emma Conroy, from Edinburgh Nutrition, said: “What works for one person can be completely unsuitable for another.

“But not eating three square meals a day is not intrinsically unhealthy, and if the snacks or lighter meals are nutritious, and the individual feels well, then I don’t see a problem – just as some people fare well missing breakfast.

“But one concern would be the loss of the social importance of mealtimes. Family meals are a disappearing aspect of modern home life, and research indicates that families which eat together are healthier.”

A spokeswomen from Scottish Slimmers added: “That’s not the way we would suggest people lose weight. We promote healthy eating – breakfast, lunch and dinner with a little bit of everything in moderation.

“We also favour steady weight loss, of around one to one and a half lbs per week, rather than crash diets.”

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