Three little questions

We get many questions sent to us and although, due to the volume, we can’t reply to every one in person, we do read them all and try to answer the more common and unusual ones in blogs, newsletters, podcasts etc.

Q1:I had a blood test today, courtesy of my Employer and my blood sugar has dived since January, when I started on the Harcombe Diet. My cholesterol is slightly raised in that time, but apparently sugar is more worrying than cholesterol?
A1:I wouldn’t worry about cholesterol for many, many reasons – not least because the test is so unreliable. It is estimated to be inaccurate by about 15% at all times so I can guarantee if you took another test tomorrow it would be different again! Your body makes cholesterol. I trust my body to make the cholesterol it needs. Funny how doctors don’t! If you are stressed, injured (however small) or recovering from anything, the body makes more cholesterol because cholesterol is the main repair substance that the body has.

Or – put “cholesterol” in the search box on my blog: and I’ve written lots about it.
Fantastic news on your blood sugar levels – that’s reduced your risk of diabetes already. Keep up the great work.


Q2:Good Afternoon Zoe (or evening in the UK),
I had a quick question as it pertains to Phase 1. I know that sugar is not allowed. After going to the store to check out brands of Natural Live Yoghurt, I found that all brands of plain greek yogurt had a minimum of 4g of sugar per serving. Is it safe to assume this is not good for Phase 1 or this is the exception to the rule?
A2:All dairy has a carb content, and milk has a ‘natural’ sugar content. If you stick to ‘just yoghurt’ and none of the branded and processed varieties that have fruit and sugar added, you’ll should be fine.

Here’s the ‘ultimate yoghurt question’ extract from Stop Counting Calories:

The only ingredients needed in Natural Live Yoghurt are Natural Live Yoghurt! Sometimes “live” will be called “bio” – that’s the same. Sometimes the yoghurt will say “with active cultures” or ” with live cultures” – that’s also the same. Sometimes the tub will say “yoghurt”, sometimes it will say “milk cultures” – but that’s all it needs to say. If it says anything else – keep looking for NLY!

If a yoghurt has any sweetener, sugar, anything with an ‘ose’ (fructose, dextrose, sucrose etc) , anything other than natural lactose in natural yoghurt, any ingredient that you don’t recognise – it is not OK. Every supermarket, let alone health food shop, I have gone in to has a Natural Yoghurt. Nine times out of ten, it is also “live”, so it is perfect. If you can’t find a “live/bio” version then you can have just natural yoghurt in Phase 2, but don’t have non-live natural yoghurt in Phase 1, as we only have NLY in Phase 1 to attack Candida.

To check the ingredients yourself – in a shop, follow the guidelines above and only buy the tub that has Natural Live Yoghurt and nothing else. You can check ingredients on line. I have never bought TOTAL, Activia or Actimel. I just put “Actimel ingredients” or “Actimel nutritional information” into Google and you get the manufacturers own web site with the full product ingredients listed and nutritional information. It may take a bit of searching, but that’s what research is! You will be amazed at how much you can get in a couple of minutes on line. If you see an ingredient you don’t recognise and you don’t want to discard the option straight away, open up another window and search on that ingredient. In a few seconds you will know what it is, where it comes from etc. As a golden rule – if it doesn’t sound like a real food (vegetable oil, milk, salt etc) then don’t have it.

Q3:I have been following the Harcombe diet for 9 months, I’ve lost a stone and a half but would like to drop a further half a stone. A couple of friends are trying out the feasting/fasting diet where you eat normally for 5 days of the week and consume around 500 calories on the other two days. I was wondering what your thoughts were on this way of eating, even if the Harcombe principles were followed? Many thanks, Kind regards, Emma Le Page
A3:well done on your weight-loss so far, you must be very happy with that.

Zoe’s written a special report on Intermittent fasting and the various spin-offs, which you can download for free from…

Hopefully it will answer any questions that you may have.

If you'd like to leave a comment on this blog, please do so openly and politely and no hiding behind some pseudonym. As for spam, well that's just another word for junk and it will end up in the bin, where it belongs.

Website Comments

  1. avatar Sheila Armstrong

    I lost 5 pounds in week one , week two stayed the same weight. If I persevere will I start to lose weight again ?

    • avatar Andy

      Lots of things can affect weight changes. Try another week of Ph1 and see what happens to your cravings before moving to Phase 2

  2. avatar naomi joseph

    I am on day 6 of phase 1 and have had terrible stomach cramps, wind and diarrhoea since starting the diet. Should I continue with phase 1 til this passes? I am 6′ 2″ and over 20 stone.

    • avatar Andy

      any change of diet can cause those symptoms that you describe – many people experience milder versions when they travel abroad. However, if they are chronic and don’t subside, there maybe something else going on and you should consult your physician.

  3. avatar Holly

    Hi guys

    If I wanted to continue phase 1 for longer as I need to loose more weight then what can I eat. I’m confused.
    What are the rules?


    • avatar Andy

      Hi Holly. Suggest that you start with one of the books, Stop Counting Calories or 3-step plan. Plan is explained in detail, with reasons, plus summary of rules and eating plans.

  4. avatar John

    I have been on the phase 1 now for 3wks & have only dropped 2 to 3kg & have approx 25kg to lose. I was reading in the book that beans,peas etc are only to be eaten as a carb meal? as I usually have these vegies in my chicken-meat stir-fries thinking they where just vegies,bit confused on what are carb vegies & what vegies are safe to eat with fat, protein meals.

    • avatar Andy

      No pulses or potatoes on phase 1 as they are too high in carb. Stick to low-carb veggies and salads with a fat meal and see how you go. I’ll email you a Ph1 and Ph2 summary list.

  5. avatar Julia

    I am starting the Harcombe diet again as I have had a lot of success before. I have recently found out I am lactose intolerant. Can I eat lactose free natural yoghurt? Thanks

  6. avatar janet cunnington

    I have completed phase 1of your diet and I lost 11lb then I went on to phase 2 and in the first week I lost 3lb I am now in week 3 and I haven’t lost any more weight should I go back to phase 1

    • avatar Andy

      Weight loss does vary by person and stalls are quite common. If you’ve not identifies any intolerances, stick with ph2. If you suspect you have some, go back to Ph1 to work out what they may be.


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