IT’s a chocoholics dream: to live solely off confectionery.
But for Largs man Mat Banisster it’s reality, after he challenged himself to eat only chocolate-based foods including bars, biscuits, cakes, ice-creams and drinks for every meal for a week.
“My inspiration was standing looking at the cupboards wanting more chocolate even though I’d already had so much and thinking ‘Why don’t I let myself have an indulgence for just one day?’,” Mr Banisster said.
“Then I realised doing it for a whole week – that would make an interesting story.”
While a poor diet is a known contributing factor to type 2 diabetes, but Mr Banisster said he hoped to use the shock value of his Easter experiment to raise awareness about gestational diabetes, which is diagnosed during pregnancy when a woman’s body cannot cope with the extra demand for insulin production.
“Gestational diabetes usually disappears after the baby is born but for my fit and healthy friend, it didn’t,” he said. “She can’t eat any of this type of food anymore and has to plan the timing and contents of every meal.
“I was surprised how dangerous it is – if your blood sugar falls far enough during the night, you can go into diabetic coma. I want to encourage women to talk to their doctors about the risk factors.”
Asked about his own health, Mr Banisster said he considered himself lucky to have not experienced any negative side effects. Despite reaching up to 224 per cent of his recommended calorie intake each day, he said he did not appear to have put on any weight – although an app suggested if he maintained Wednesday’s diet and exercise he’d be nine kilos heavier in five weeks.
“On the first afternoon I started to feel a bit queasy and had stomach cramps but by the next morning I was better,” he said.
“I mostly feel fairly normal. When I start eating chocolate I still want more – Snickers are the ones I fish out of the bowl a bit more, they’re more chewy and substantial. It’s not so much that I’m sick of chocolate, but I’m looking forward to non-chocolate food.
“My mouth really wants something savoury – my housemates were having my favourite food, tacos, the other night and sitting down with a Tim Tam did not taste as good as you would imagine.”
Mr Banisster’s experiment ends on Monday night and he has already planned his first post-experiment meal.
“I alternate between fruit salad with yoghurt and bacon and eggs for breakfast,” he said. “I know what I’m having on Tuesday – and it’s not fruit salad and yoghurt.”
Mr Banisster said he had originally expected to never want to see chocolate again.
“I’ll have leftover chocolate looking at me from the cupboard and when I want something sweet after dinner or lunch I’ll be that little bit more accustomed to just grabbing it. My discipline and willpower will be required now more than ever.”
Mat Banisster will donate the equivalent of what he spent on chocolate to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
The Australian Dietary Guidelines suggest limiting intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol.
The guidelines suggest enjoying a wide variety of foods from the five groups of vegetables and legumes/beans; fruit; grain foods; lean meats and fish, poultry, eggs, nuts and seeds; and milk, yoghurt and cheese.