A serious health scare has seen renowned chef Simon Gault completely change his relationship with food - and he's created a new business in the process.

Five years ago the well-known chef and judge on MasterChef New Zealand was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

It was news he initially hid and struggled with, but he finally faced reality and transformed his life so he could be an active dad for his 6-year-old daughter Hazel.

Now Gault is healthier, is sleeping better and has more energy than ever.

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As an added bonus, Gault's new business venture "4 Wheels of Health" is growing, with more New Zealanders signing up to the science-based health system.

Put simply, the system of improved sleep, better nutrition, enhanced gut health and timed eating has worked wonders.

The 4 Wheels of Health include sleep, timed eating, nutrition and gut health. Photo / Supplied
The 4 Wheels of Health include sleep, timed eating, nutrition and gut health. Photo / Supplied

The chef developed the system with nutritionist Sean Robertson and with it the pair have transformed lives - including their own.

"It's not about being on a diet, we don't expect people to live on twigs and berries," Gault said.

"It's a long-term change of lifestyle that makes the person doing it the expert."

Gault said the four-week 4 Wheels of Health course taught people why they needed certain foods and why the timing of eating - and not eating - was so important.

It was about improving sleep, gut health and nutrition which in turn helped shed unnecessary weight.

"When people understand why they are doing something they are more likely to do it in the long term.

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"It gives them the confidence to make the right decisions for themselves and their family."

Gault said the first "wheel of health" was sleep and said the power of a good night's rest could not be underestimated.

But he said there are some really easy fixes as well.

"Like we know most people are walking around really dehydrated," he said.

"We should all be having two litres of water before 2pm each day."

Increasing the amount of extra virgin olive oil in our food was also an easy improvement.

Gault said in Mediterranean countries, where cancer rates were lower, people consumed an average of 25 litres of extra virgin olive oil a year - the average New Zealander has just 200ml.

He said the key to eating healthy in the long term was having the occasional treat and not "living on twigs and berries".

Gault was still passionate about his Viaduct restaurant Giraffe and used vegetables and fruit grown in his own garden plenty of top-quality extra virgin olive oil in the dishes.

"When you do dine out and treat yourself you want to trust what you are eating and have the best quality," he said.

"We use the best-quality ingredients at Giraffe and great-quality extra virgin olive oil, it's expensive to use but it's full of antioxidants."

Plenty of the meals at the Viaduct restaurant were indulgent, he said, but all were made from scratch using fresh produce of the best quality.

Dishes like the trevally crudo with sour plum, goji berries and shitake mushrooms tick a few nutritional boxes.

Gault said through following his own programme he had reversed his type 2 diabetes diagnosis and was living with energy.

He said it is something he wants for other New Zealanders.

"Once people learn what happens inside our bodies when we eat certain things it puts them in control and makes them want to eat better," Gault said.

For more information visit: www.4wheelsofhealth.com