AN OBESE Scot who drank three big bottles of Irn Bru a day has shed half his body weight – after swapping the fizzy pop for diluting juice.
Steve Hill, from Aberdeen, guzzled so much of the nation’s favourite drink he ballooned to a dangerous 27 stone.
The 39-year-old’s waist expanded to a whopping 56 inches, and at the height of his obsession he was downing 1,260 calories’ worth of the drink a day.
He dreaded booking a holiday abroad in case he was asked to pay for two seats on flights.
But Steve managed to ditch the fizzy pop for sugar-free diluting juice – and has now lost 13 stone.
He said: “I had to give up Irn Bru or face dying young.
“My life was being ruled by it. Everyone loves a treat but it got out of hand for me.”
The final straw came when he found himself struggling to breathe as he made his way to his office administrator job in Bucksburn.
“Stopping three times to catch my breath on the way home from work was a real eye-opener,” he said.
He decided to join a local slimming class, and his biggest shock was stepping on the scales for the first time.
“I had no idea I had reached 27 stone and was twice the weight I should be,” he said.
“I was heading for 30 stone and wanted to avoid it at all costs.”
When he explained his old diet to class leaders, they immediately told him to ditch the iconic drink, switch to diluting juice and begin a calorie controlled diet.
His class applauded when he reached his target weight two weeks ago.
His class manager, Sylvia Strachan, of Scottish Slimmers, said: “It’s one of our biggest losses in the quickest time.
“When he reached his target the class erupted in a deafening cheer. It was the best atmosphere ever.”
Steve’s family are also stunned by his trim new physique.
“When my sister Arlene got off the plane from Canada a few weeks ago she didn’t recognise me,” he said.
“Her sons didn’t recognise me either. We had spoken by Skype since she emigrated last December, but seeing me in the flesh was a shock.
“She did a huge double-take when she saw how I’d changed.”
Steve, who says he’s delighted he’s now slim enough to book a normal plane seat to visit Arlene, has a whole new diet.
His meals are now packed with vegetables and fruit – apart from a weekly Chinese takeaway treat – and he walks miles every day.
A spokesman for AG Barr, makers of Irn Bru, said they were delighted Steve has lost weight.
He said: “We would never advocate the over-consumption of any one product.”
Last week, an expat Scot on the hunt for Irn Bru cleared out a store in Kuwait after spending eight years searching for the drink.
Hugh McEwan, 64, had almost given up hope of finding his favourite beverage in the Arab country when he eventually chanced upon the cans stocked in a supermarket.
He cleared the shelves and took 144 cans back to his home – where they were pictured spilling out of antique furniture and his fridge.