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A Greggs diet? Paying a fast food chain for salad is akin to paying a vice girl for a hug...

AFTER decades spent cocking a snook at food snobs, bakery giants Greggs have, it seems, bowed to the healthy eating brigade.

Bizarrely, the empire built on steak bakes has launched a "Minimise Me Plan" - a sevenday eating guide to losing weight, the Birmingham Mail reports.

This, I fear, is something of an own-goal.

There is a fundamental flaw in Greggs' scheme. Those who watch what they eat nibble avacado and steamed fish, not sausage rolls.

One glance at the queue in any high street branch will confirm Greggs is not the eaterie of choice for slimmers.

Yesterday, I waited patiently for a cheese and onion pasty while an obese Scotsman barked: "Is that a doughnut or a meringue?" "No, you're right, it's a doughnut," replied the assistant, deadpan.

Doughnuts are not included in many diets.

Yet in a month-long experiment, four "guinea pigs", including a bride-to-be, collectively lost two stone using the Greggs diet plan.

On the downside, they can probably never look at a wrap, pasty or sausage roll again.

Perhaps that's how it works.

Or maybe those who enlisted, burned their mouths so badly on an apple turnover's molten filling that they simply couldn't swallow.

I fear another flawed food fad dealing with the bleedin' obvious.

I feel sure that a doner diet, where followers ate only two kebabs a day, would lead to weight loss.

Give a man only Cheesy Wotsits for four weeks and he will shed pounds and develop orange fingers. Yet my wife recoils in horror every time I eat a bag of crisps: "Open the packet, you weirdo," she shouts.

The Greggs plan, devised by dietary expert Laura Clark, is to be followed over 30 days, which is a daunting prospect for even the chain's biggest fans.

If nothing else, it makes interesting reading.

On a typical weekday, weightwatchers tuck into Greggs porridge for breakfast, a tuna mayonnaise sub for lunch, cheese, tomato and basil pasta salad for dinner and a "fruit medley" snack.

On Sunday, they're treated to a breakfast of red berry porridge and "fruit medley", a pizza slice for lunch, a ham salad sub dinner, and a summer berry pot snack.

The plan requires resolve and a thick skin.

There's a reason why individuals visit Greggs four times a day. That reason is usually Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Laura Clark has also issued "five top tips" for a pre-holiday diet.

Number one states: Monitor what you're eating either through a diary, online tool or quick photos taken on your phone.

I prefer a tie. The splatter on mine reveals spaghetti bolognese and ketchup feature heavily in my diet.

Strangely, number two advises: Don't be afraid of eating on the go.

I am not sure what this means, but attempted minestrone soup while on a treadmill and the results were messy.

Greggs has become another snack business to include healthy options, which seems an anomaly. Paying a fast food chain for salad is akin to paying a vice girl for a hug.

The chain has even launched a Summer Sizzlers range of salads and sarnies, featuring couscous, salad leaves and falafel. Our own David Bentley sampled the coconut, lime and chilli chicken salad.

"Very tasty," he wrote. "I'd never think of going into Greggs for anything other than a pasty but this has changed my mind!" That is the problem. The scent of steak bake and sticky buns entices a certain clientele. They are unlikely to spy the new options and think: "Forget the sausage and bean melt, I've a sudden craving for smoky rice and bean salad."

The company is a national institution and, as one of its biggest fans, I urge bosses to remember the adage: "If it ain't broken, don't fix it."

At least the Greggs plan is one in the eye for those food fascists who treat battered cod with the same fear as spilled plutonium, those health gurus who would have us graze on raw vegetables. At least my food has the ability to run away.

There's no sport in hunting down a lentil.

The bakery should remember one truism. Scientific studies have shown individuals put on weight in five specific places.

Greggs is one of them.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jul 7, 2017
Words:700
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