The 5:2 Diet: A Formula for Sustainable Weight Loss?
With so many diets on the market, it can be difficult to choose one that makes sense for you. And when the name of the diet sounds more like a math equation than a weight loss plan, it can be even more confusing.
Enter the 5:2 diet, also known as the Fast Diet. It is a popular intermittent fasting plan that has taken the diet world by storm with its weird name and flexible approach to weight loss.
While the name may suggest the number of meals or food items for consumption (ie. 5 celery sticks and 2 almonds, or vice-versa), the 5:2 diet actually involves eating normally for five days of the week and restricting calorie intake to 500-600 calories for the remaining two days.
Who started the 5:2 diet?
The 5:2 diet was popularized by British journalist and broadcaster Michael Mosley in his book “The Fast Diet” in 2013. Mosley, who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, wanted to find a way to improve his health and reduce his risk of developing chronic diseases.
Mosley discovered that intermittent fasting, specifically the 5:2 diet, had numerous health benefits and was easy to follow.
Since then, the 5:2 diet has gained a large following among people who are looking for a flexible and sustainable way to lose weight, improve their health, and increase their lifespan.
The diet is popular among both men and women, and it is especially appealing to those who have struggled with other diets in the past.
The 5:2 diet has been shown to have numerous health benefits. Fasting triggers a process called autophagy, which is when the body starts to break down and recycle damaged cells and proteins.
Health benefits of the 5:2 diet
The 5:2 diet can help to reduce inflammation, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
It is also a form of calorie restriction, which has been shown to increase lifespan in animal studies. By restricting calorie intake for two days a week, the body is forced to use stored fat for energy, which can lead to weight loss over time.
On the two fasting days, dieters are allowed to consume 500-600 calories, which is typically split into two small meals. Some people prefer to skip breakfast and have one larger meal in the evening, while others prefer to spread their calories throughout the day.
Types of foods allowed in a 5:2 diet
The types of foods that are allowed on fasting days are generally low in calories and high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats to help keep dieters feeling full and satisfied.
Examples of foods and meals that are associated with the 5:2 diet include:
- Grilled chicken or fish with roasted vegetables
- A large salad with tuna, avocado, and olive oil dressing
- Vegetable soup with a small serving of whole-grain bread
- Greek yogurt with berries and nuts
- A vegetable omelet with a side of greens
On non-fasting days, dieters are encouraged to eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. They should also avoid overeating or indulging in unhealthy foods, as this can undermine the benefits of fasting days.
While the 5:2 diet has been shown to be effective for weight loss and improving overall health, it may not be suitable for everyone.
People who have a history of eating disorders, diabetes, or other health conditions should speak with their doctor before starting the diet. Additionally, pregnant or breastfeeding women should not attempt to follow the 5:2 diet.