Is The 5:2 For You?

Eat what you want for five days a week, and starve for the other two!

The practice of fasting is an age-old phenomenon often employed during religious rituals. More recently, however, intermittent fasting has become a popular way to lose weight; the big attraction being you can eat what you want for the majority of the week and still lose weight!dreamstime_l_39462186

The fasting for weight loss phenomenon was actually set in motion in August 2012, when the BBC broadcast a Horizon episode called ‘Eat Fast and Live Longer’. Doctor and journalist Michael Mosley presented the diet du jour as ”genuinely revolutionary” and as a result, published ‘the fast diet’ book in January 2013.


The Diet

The simplicity of the diet and the lack of restrictions are key to its popularity. Dieters are recommended to consume a ‘normal’ number of calories five days a week (2000 for women, 2500 for men). Then, for two non-consecutive days, eat just 25% of their usual calorie total – 500 calories for women and 600 for men.k13649192

There are no restrictions on the types of food you can eat and it is suggested that women can expect to lose about a 1lb a week on the diet with men losing about the same if not a little more.


Nutritional therapist Kerry Torrens says:

The 5:2 and similar intermittent-fasting diets are said to be easier to follow than traditional calorie restriction.  Fasting is a simple concept which appears to promote weight loss, although the hunger experienced can be a limiting factor for some. All the headlines for the 5:2 diet, and similar intermittent-fasting regimes, claim that calorie restriction may be linked with:

  • Living longer
  • Reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer
  • Improving cholesterol levels and blood-sugar control, and be anti-ageing thanks to its possible effect on lowering levels of the hormone Insulin-like Growth Factor -1 (IGF-1)


Precautionary note: As with all diets, pregnant and breast-feeding women, as well as diabetics on medication, should seek medical advice before embarking on a restricted eating programme. Furthermore, this sort of diet can be unsafe for teenagers and children, who are likely to miss out on crucial nutrients needed for growth and may be at risk of developing unhealthy eating habits.

The diet may be tough especially at the outset. On fasting days some report feeling low in energy, having poor concentration and experiencing headaches and dizziness. If you do choose to follow the diet, make sure that your non-fast days are packed with nutritious options, including fruit, veg, wholegrains and lean protein such as chicken, fish, turkey and dairy foods.

When you’re following a low-calorie diet, it’s important to make every calorie work – that means choosing nutritionally rich foods.

Please note, if you are considering attempting any form of diet please consult your GP first to ensure you can do so without risk to health.


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