Focus Magazines The local magazines for Abergavenny, Crickhowell, Brecon & Talgarth – Events, News and Advertising

Food and Drink

Latest Story

Avoid Fad Diets: Be Healthy and Happy all Year!

January 9th, 2020

Are you thinking of starting a new dietary regimen for the New Year? This is a time when so many of us are inspired to make healthy changes. However, it is easy to be tempted by diets which promise rapid weight-loss, or a ‘magic’ regimen which will solve your problems where all else has failed. These regimens are often surrounded by a lot of convincing sounding pseudoscience or recommended by people who claim to be experts in nutrition yet have limited knowledge and offer no protection to the public.

Often known as ‘fad diets’, they have been around for ever! For example, William the Conqueror went on an ‘alcohol diet’ to slim down to ride his favourite horse, and the poet Byron famously dieted on egg whites and vinegar to maintain his fashionable pale, thin look. Mainstream fad diets have been popular in modern society since the early 19th century, with the cabbage soup, blood type, Dukan, Alkaline and maple syrup diet to name just a few.

Be very suspicious of any regimen which demonises particular foods, excludes whole food groups, involves eating foods in strange combinations, suggests testing for ‘intolerances’ or ‘allergies’, mentions ‘detoxing’ or requires you to buy supplements or meal replacements.

Risks of these diets include nutritional deficiencies, dizziness, constipation, irritability, headaches, bad breath, insomnia …. and even unwanted weight gain and increased risk of heart disease – as well as increased anxiety and a bad relationship with food. They can also cost extra money that few of us have to spare in January.

Any weird and wonderful regimen is likely to leave you tired, frustrated, hungry … and then guilty as you inevitably fail to stick to it!

We all know, deep down, that there is not, and never will be, any secret to weight loss or good health. Don’t spend another January punishing yourself! Eat regularly, drink plenty of water, include plenty of fruits and vegetables, wholegrains and lean sources of protein. Watch your portion sizes, think about keeping a food diary to keep track of your eating habits and accept that a realistic rate of weight-loss is 1-2lbs (0.5-1kg) a week. Find a physical activity you enjoy (and perhaps can share with friends and family) and think about easy, sustainable changes for the long-term. Food should be an enjoyable part of life!

If you need a little more guidance, The NHS has an excellent 12-week weight-loss plan developed in association with the British Dietetic Association: And, if you feel you need individual advice (and particularly if you have a medical condition that means you cannot easily follow normal healthy eating guidelines) then ask your doctor to refer you to a Registered Dietitian – you can also refer yourself. Dietitians have recognised qualifications and are regulated by the Government. They will be able to guide you through the maze of dietary information that bombards us and give you safe, unbiased, evidence-based advice.

Alex Evans

More Stories

Festive Food all wrapped up at Christmas Food & Drink Fair

November 15th, 2014

The fourth Abergavenny Food Festival Christmas Food and Drink Fair takes place on Sunday 14 December (10.00am – 5.00pm). With over ninety hand-picked speciality food exhibitors every facet of the festive season is covered: fresh and cured meats, poultry and game, cheeses and chocolates, cakes and desserts, wines and liqueurs, ales and ciders and a […]

The Bakers’ Table – World Bread Awards Success

November 1st, 2014

Real Bread Bakery, The Bakers’ Table at Melin Talgarth Mill scooped four awards on their first attempt at the Tiptree World Bread Awards 2014. Although they did not make the finalists awards ceremony where veteran award winning Hay baker Alex Gooch took the top prize in the Sourdough category, The Bakers’ Table received Gold for […]

Facing up to Food

September 16th, 2014


Food Banks and Food Festivals might not seem comfortable bedfellows, but it’s nevertheless an Abergavenny reality. So in amongst the exotic food offerings of the up and coming Abergavenny Food Festival, Saturday 20th September’s programme will also include the free-all -day “Just Food” fringe event, where talks, panel discussions, films, and food demonstrations will centre […]

Take a Culinary Trip to the ‘Best Event in Wales’

September 15th, 2014

Later this month Britain’s brightest culinary talent will be flocking to the Welsh Borders for a weekend of fun and feasting. They’ll all be sharing their fabulous skills at the Abergavenny Food Festival (20 and 21 September) – ‘Best Event in Wales 2013’*. New initiatives this year include a Night Market on the Saturday and […]

Valentine Warner on the Food Festival, his Desert Island Pantry and What to Eat Next

September 11th, 2014

Valentine Warner makes his fifth appearance at this year’s Abergavenny Food Festival. He took some time to chat exclusively to the Focus about his new book: What to Eat Next, and why he loves to keep coming back to Abergavenny. Valentine, this is your fifth year at the Abergavenny Food Festival. What keeps you coming […]

An open garden with a difference at Llanover

September 11th, 2014

Maggie’s, the charity which provides free practical, emotional and social support for people with cancer and their family and friends, is delighted that Elizabeth and Ross Murray have chosen to open their wonderful garden to the public on Sunday 21st September from 11am to 4 pm to support the campaign to build Maggie’s South East […]

Taste the Beacons

August 16th, 2014

Over 40 people attended the launch of Taste the Beacons at Penpont near Brecon, to learn the latest in food trends and menu design. The event was organised by Brecon Beacons Tourism to encourage local businesses to include more original local content in their food offer. Specialist food consultant, Nerys Howell, provided some inspirational ideas […]

Top chefs heading for ‘Best Event in Wales’

August 9th, 2014

Last year the Abergavenny Food Festival won the accolade ‘Best Event in Wales’ (National Tourism Awards 2013), so the bar has been set high for 2014. This year’s programme won’t disappoint. The Festival takes place over the weekend of 20 and 21 September and box office is now live at The special events programme […]

Abergavenny Food Festival 2014

July 23rd, 2014

The 2014 Abergavenny Food Festival takes place on 20th and 21st September. Box office goes live 16th July and tickets can be purchased at or through the Borough Theatre on 01873 850805. As well as the Festival markets with over 200 top-notch exhibitors across five locations (accessed on a stroller ticket) there’s a fabulous […]

Please support our local businesses