Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

I Can't Believe I've Been Poisoning Myself with Sugar ; Singer Jane McDonald Hadn't Realised Just How Much Her Diet Was Affecting Her Health and Weight. She Shares Her Revelations with GABRIELLE FAGANfit for Fame

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

I Can't Believe I've Been Poisoning Myself with Sugar ; Singer Jane McDonald Hadn't Realised Just How Much Her Diet Was Affecting Her Health and Weight. She Shares Her Revelations with GABRIELLE FAGANfit for Fame

Article excerpt

THERE'S definitely a new spring in Jane McDonald's step this year, as she celebrates a new figure - and a new approach to life - declaring: "I look and feel completely different."

In a figure-hugging black trouser suit showing off her trim new size 10 shape (down from 14/16) she's positively glowing as she talks about shedding a stone-and-a-half (9.5kg) after taking part in ITV's new show, Sugar Free Farm.

The three-part series sees her and fellow celebrities (James Argent from Essex reality show, TOWIE; former Brookside actress Jennifer Ellison; comedian Rory McGrath; ex-Coronation Street actress Tupele Dorgu; and quiz mastermind and The Chase star Mark Labbett) living without sugar while they work on a country farm, in return for their share of healthy home-grown food.

"I actually went into the programme thinking my life was perfect," admits the 52-year-old Yorkshire-born performer, ruefully recalling what turned out to be "a shocking wake-up call" about her health and diet.

"The whole experiment was being overseen by a nutritionist, Angelique. But I honestly thought she wouldn't have one thing to tell me. I smugly assumed she'd just say, 'Jane, you're healthy, you're fine, carry on'. Instead she said: 'You've got to cut this, that and the other out, and you need to sort your health and weight out now!"' While Jane, who's now 10 stone, hadn't considered her weight an issue "although it yo-yoed and I'd always lose a bit with a lot of effort but then gain it back", she had been concerned about her cholesterol. She is genetically predisposed to high cholesterol, which can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Despite that knowledge, she was taken aback when the farm's medical expert told her "the high level equated to the sort of fatty diet where someone would typically eat for instance, a full English breakfast, fish and chips for lunch, a take-away in the evening as well as indulging in sweet snacks. It didn't make sense to me because I didn't eat like that at all," she says.

"I've always tried to eat healthily although things could go awry when I was touring because often it was only possible to eat out."

Her sweet tooth, however, was quickly identified as one of the causes of her problems.

"I hadn't realised how sugar-heavy my diet was - I'd have sweets when I was travelling and scoff biscuits and cakes if I felt my energy drop. I was the sort of woman who thought life was too short not to have a scone, and I did drink a lot of wine - around a couple of glasses a night," she acknowledges.

Jane, who first found fame as a singer 18 years ago on BBC documentary, The Cruise, is incensed that, over the years, she's unwittingly undermined her attempts to improve her health by opting for 'low-fat' foods.

"I was told that fat was my enemy and advised by medical experts to eat low-fat food, but now I realise most of them actually contain double the sugar," she says vehemently. …

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