It’s the time of year when men break into a cold sweat over the prospect of a footie-less summer and women break into one over the prospect of having to squeeze into their bikinis (especially as, this year, they’ll be freezing their nips off in Blighty).

If you, like me, share more in common with Mark ‘Chubby Grocer’ Price than Andy ‘Tour de France’ Bond, you could have done worse than watch 10 Things You Need to Know about Losing Weight (8pm, BBC1, 27 May). Like watch Man U capitulate to Barca, for instance.

The programme provided an intelligent counterpoint to the recent glut of superlative-ridden ‘documentaries’ gaping slack-jawed at the UK’s fattest, fussiest or freakiest eaters – and a useful one.

Did you know, for instance, that a smoothie contains roughly the same number of calories as a meal of chicken, potatoes and vegetables? Or that a normal meal served with a glass of water fills you up less than the same food and water blended into a soup because the water passes through your stomach more rapidly, shrinking it and making you feel hungry sooner?

As well as explaining what triggers the release of the suitably evil-sounding hunger hormone, Ghrelin, medical journalist Michael Mosley demonstrated how a little exercise can go a long way (it’s all about the after burn) and offered up some great tips on the right foods to eat – including one which will have left the whole dairy industry ruing the scheduling clash with the footie.

It seems claims that low-fat dairy can help you lose body fat aren’t as daft as they sound, as cheese-making musician and sometime-journo Alex James proved. Challenged to eat the same meal plan for two weeks – the first low in dairy and the second high – poor James had to suffer the indignity of having his faeces sent off for testing to assess the fat content, the theory being that the second set of samples would contain more (apparently, calcium bonds with food in the small intestine and passes with the fat straight through you).

So did it work? The proof was in the poohing, but, astonishingly, yes, the samples from the second week contained twice as much fat. A weight loss programme involving cheese? Bring it on.

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