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Dieting diagnosed

Celebrity stories of dramatic weight loss are a staple of glossy magazines, and teenagers often read avidly about Beyonce starving herself on lemon juice and maple syrup, or Jennifer Aniston on the Atkins diet. Now a university researcher has hit on the idea of luring girls to take up science by examining the details behind the stars' regimes.

Nicola Lowe, senior lecturer in nutrition at the University of Central Lancashire, examined claims behind eating plans such as Atkins and the Zone. She now conducts lessons looking at the vital role of vitamins, insulin, glucogen and serotonin.

"Nutrition is an area that everyone thinks they know something about because they've read about it," she said. "Some of the girls are very knowledgeable, but there are some myths to unpick too. Nutrition is a science, but not perceived as such. It is, in fact, all about biochemistry and physiology."

E: nmlowe@uclan.ac.ubiology.

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