Alison Steadman hits out at James Martin's butter obsession

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James Martin lost a huge amount of weight when taking part in Strictly Come Dancing. His weight has fluctuated over the years, but he has finally found the secret to weight loss – without giving up his favourite foods.

Contrary to popular belief, slimmers can enjoy rich ingredients and do not have to limit themselves to “lettuce and tomatoes” to lose weight and prevent heart disease.

Everything can be enjoyed in moderation, including decadent, high calorie, high in fat butter.

He believes that weight gain on a large scale is due to people not doing enough cooking at home.

“It’s the ready-made food, it’s the packet food, the hidden salt, hidden fat – that’s the problem in this country.

“It’s the fact that not as many people cook in the UK as they do in France or Italy or Spain.”

He continued: “It’s not the butter in a butter block or butter you put on your toast.”

The chef even wrote an ode to this controversial ingredient entitled Butter, “the essential book for anyone who loves to cook with this glorious, versatile ingredient”, according to the chef’s website.

Butter needn’t be something to fear, and the chef is known to clap back at those who slam him for using it.

“We have this obsession in the UK, this up and down with weight, while the rest of Europe and the whole world eats butter.

“They consume more of it than us and they don’t have the issues that we do!”

Perhaps this is because many countries adopt the Mediterranean diet, widely accepted as the world’s healthiest diet.

This diet is high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish and unsaturated fats such as olive oil and avocado, but goes easy on meat and dairy.

He concluded that butter is not the enemy: “At the end of the day, it’s a natural ingredient, not manufactured,” he told The Scotsman.

While margarine usually tops butter when it comes to heart health, James Martin is not an advocate of the stuff.

“It contains up to 30 ingredients, half of which you won’t even know what they are.

“Even doctors are saying that their advice in the Seventies to eat margarine was wrong.”

Another of James’ tips for losing weight is spending more time in the kitchen and less time looking at takeaway menus.

“I decided to examine my diet and I made a conscious decision to cook fresh food at home. I no longer stuff my face with really bad things such as takeaway pizza, Mars bars and fizzy soft drinks, which I used to have tons of during my working day, just like almost every other chef in the country.”

What does he fill up on instead?

“Now I eat fish twice a week as well as loads of vegetables and fresh fruit,” he told The Herald.

The chef also increased his physical activity and daily steps on his weight loss journey, often clocking up 16 miles a day.

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