The former greengrocer turned food judge has become a regular on television screens, to the delight of viewers across the country. Having been the face of BBC cooking competition Masterchef since 2005, Gregg appeared on the spin-off show for professional chefs in 2008, without his fellow judge John Torode. Despite the success of the spin-off series, Gregg’s health was in serious decline, which came to a scary ultimatum earlier this year.
The 57-year-old recalled his ordeal on Good Morning Britain, but viewers were chocked to hear just how serious things could have become for the chef.
Gregg said: “The doctor said you’ve got huge cholesterol here – unless we do something, you are going to have a heart attack.”
The stark wake-up call immediately made an impact on Gregg, urging him to make some drastic life-style changes and lose weight.
He continued to say: “What I believe in is making positive steps in the right direction gradually, that way you move yourself into a healthy lifestyle.
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“Listen to this carefully, you don’t have to be uncomfortable and hungry to lose weight.”
Due to his commitment to a new routine, Gregg majorly slimmed down to a weight of 12 stone 13 pounds.
“I don’t believe in starving yourself three times a week. I don’t believe in not eating carbs. I do believe in enjoying a pint of beer and a glass of wine,” he stated.
“Don’t believe in starting something radical you can’t keep up.”
If high-cholesterol wasn’t enough, the star’s health-kick comes after a long-term struggle with alcoholism.
Talking to OK! magazine Gregg recalled that when working as a grocer he would arrive at his local pub at 10am and start drinking gin, wine and whiskey. His problem became so bad that on one occasion he was “scared” for his own health.
“I was preparing to meet a big customer for lunch, and I’d had a particularly long lunch and dinner the day before,” Gregg said.
“I felt like death. All I wanted to do was go somewhere and die. Yet I ordered a gin and tonic, knocked that back, and felt instantly better. Then I had another one, and thought “Oh. This is an issue.”
Luckily for Gregg, he had managed to control his drinking habits by the time Masterchef launched, but the divorce from second wife Denise took its toll on the star.
“We had separate rooms. I think I was out hoping to meet someone else. Home wasn’t great, so it was better to get drunk,” Gregg elaborated.
Yet, all was not lost, and the star managed to turn his life around. “I think you look sensational,” Ben Shepard responded when talking to Gregg on GMB.
How do I know if I am at risk of heart disease?
The NHS explains that cholesterol levels rise when you have too much of the fatty substance in your blood.
It is mainly caused by eating fatty food, not exercising enough, being overweight, smoking and drinking alcohol, but it can also run in families.
Those with high cholesterol are at major risk of heart disease – which includes a heart attack. Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a major cause of death in the UK, and can affect anyone.
The main symptoms of coronary heart disease are:
- Chest pain (angina)
- Shortness of breath
- Pain throughout the body
- Feeling faint
- Feeling sick (nausea).
In order to prevent CHD and lower cholesterol levels, lifestyle changes are the best option. Like Gregg, taking part in regular exercise as well as eating a healthy and balanced diet will help to lower your risk. Giving up smoking, and regulating how much alcohol you drink are also beneficial.