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Spotlight on popular diets – 5:2 diet.

Updated: May 12, 2020

What is the 5:2 diet?

The 5:2 diet, also known as The Fast Diet, is currently the most popular intermittent fasting diet and was made popular by British doctor Michal Mosley.

Five days of the week are normal eating day and the other two days are calorie restricted. Approximately 500 calories for women and 600 calories for men.

There are no specifics on which foods to eat but the focus is on when you should eat them making this more of a lifestyle choice that a “diet”! However, making the right food choices on your non-fasting and fasting days will improve your overall health benefits. It's important to emphasize that eating "normally" does not mean you can eat anything. If you binge on junk food, then you probably won't lose any weight, and you may even gain weight and you probably won’t feel that great!

You can choose whichever two days of the week you prefer, as long as there is at least one non-fasting day in between them. This makes it easier to tailor around your lifestyle as you can change your two fasting days every week.

Health Benefits of 5:2

There are very few studies on the 5:2 diet specifically. However, there are plenty of studies on intermittent fasting in general, which show impressive benefits. Studies have also shown a reduction in insulin levels, reduction in allergies, weight loss benefits and improvement in symptoms associated with menopause.

One important benefit is that intermittent fasting seems to be easier to follow than continuous calorie restriction, at least for some people.

Can the 5:2 Diet really help with weight loss.

If you need to lose weight, the 5:2 diet can be very effective when done right.

This is mainly because the 5:2 eating pattern helps you consume fewer calories.

Intermittent fasting is even more effective when combined with exercise, such as endurance or strength training.

How to Eat on Fasting Days

There is no rule for what or when to eat on fasting days. Some people function best by beginning the day with a small breakfast, while others find it best to start eating as late as possible.

Generally, there are two meal patterns that people follow:

  • Three small meals: Usually breakfast, lunch and dinner

  • Two slightly bigger meals: Only lunch and dinner.

Focussing on high-fibre, high-protein foods that will help with satiety when calories are restricted.

Here are a few examples of foods that may be suitable for fast days:

  • A generous portion of vegetables

  • Natural yoghurt with berries

  • Boiled or baked eggs.

  • Grilled fish or lean meat

  • Cauliflower rice

  • Soups (for example miso, tomato, cauliflower or vegetable)

There is no specific, correct way to eat on fasting days. You have to experiment and figure out what works best for you.

Fast low calorie food swaps: 

  • Swap bananas for fresh or frozen berries in yogurt, for less of a sugar rebound.

  • Swap quiches or flans for omelettes – all the flavour, none of the high-calorie pastry.

  • Swap high-fat hard cheeses for lower-fat ricotta, feta or reduced fat cream cheese.

  • Swap cappuccino for a long black.

  • Swap rice for cauliflower ‘rice’.

  • Swap spaghetti for zucchini noodles.

Is the 5:2 Diet suitable for everyone?

Although intermittent fasting is very safe for healthy, well-nourished people, it does not suit everyone. Some people should avoid dietary restrictions and fasting completely.

These include (but not limited to):

  • Individuals with a history of eating disorders

  • .Individuals who often experience issues with blood sugar regulation.

  • Pregnant women, nursing mothers, teenagers, children and individuals with type 1 diabetes.

  • People who are malnourished, underweight or have known nutrient deficiencies.

  • Women who are trying to conceive or have fertility issues.

  • People performing HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

  • Individuals who experience issues with hormone regulation

If you want to know if intermittent fasting is for you then contact us today for a dietary appraisal.

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