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A HEALTHY eating cafe owner has taken to television in a quest to help the nation lose weight happily.

Stacie Stewart, who runs Eat Naked in Brighton, appears as part of a panel of experts on the Channel 4 series How to Lose Weight Well.

The 34-year-old, who was also a finalist on BBC's Masterchef, works alongside a doctor and nutritionist to pick apart scores of diets in the show.

Participants then test out the diets to see if they produce the promised results.

Everything from the true benefits of so-called superfoods to fads like the skinny gut diet are explored.

Stacie took part in the TV cooking contest six years ago and then lost four stone through healthy eating and exercise.

Her contribution is inspired by her work in the East Street Arcade deli and juice bar - which she has dubbed Brighton's first clean eating establishment.

Speaking to The Argus on her birthday yesterday, she said: "We looked at every crazy diet under the sun and tested if they really worked.

"All the diets we tested worked but there were questions over the longevity of the success with some of them.

"The one I found particularly intriguing was the blood type diet which worked particularly well for people with allergies.

"I was a bit unsure about the maple syrup diet as it is seriously calorie restrictive. It works but I don't think it is a healthy way of losing weight.

"I find the best way is steadily and slowly and it is also the most healthy. It is most successful when you can eat delicious, healthy food and enjoy it. I look ten years younger since I lost weight."

The baker, author, columnist, and keen DJ, opened her cafe in May last year with boyfriend Ryan Brown.

They sell food and drink like salads and smoothies and their homemade Snickers traybake, while gluten, dairy and sugar free, is particularly popular.

She added: "I learnt an awful lot from taking part in the show and found it really interesting, particularly the science of the foods and the diets which is really helpful as I can pass on advice to customers in the shop."

The three-part series concludes at 8pm on Channel 4 on Monday. The two episodes so far are available to watch again on All 4.

Visit staciestewart.co.uk/eat-naked.

 

Stacie's five top tips for being healthier while continuing to enjoy the things you love to eat

1. Wean yourself of sugar and switch to natural sweeteners.

Stacie said: "My favourite types of natural sugars are raw maple syrup and Medjool dates. Fruit is high in natural sugars so adding some fruit juice to a dessert works well instead of adding sugar."

2. Bake cakes, but use a healthy fat rather than butter.

Stacie said: "Mash up half an avocado and mix with 100 ml of cold pressed rapeseed oil. Substitute this for 125 - 150g of butter."

3. Substitute cream in a pasta sauce.

Stacie said: "If you love carbonara, carry on eating it, it's actually quite healthy minus the cream. You can make it less calorific by adding a blended avocado as a substitute to the cream to make a really nice, healthy sauce."

4. Start taking Spirulina. The source of plant enzyme is a a type of algae found in the sea and lakes which is full of vitamins. It is available at health food shops in powder and tablet form.

Stacie said: "This is nature's multivitamin. It's so good that it's something astronauts swear by in space. Try mixing half a teaspoon of spirulina into a smoothie."

5. Don't deny yourself anything you like, just make better choices.

Stacie said: "You don't have to cut chocolate out of your diet. Try a healthier, more natural form of chocolate like Pana Chocolate - a company which has just come to the UK from Australia. It uses raw cacao which is free from sugar, dairy, gluten and processing. There's no point going hell for leather starving yourself on a diet and cut everything out. You can't do it for a long time and will just crash."