Let’s talk about diets… this time as part of the diets deconstructed series we’re going to look at the 5:2 diet (also known as intermittent fasting).
You may have heard a lot about this particular diet fad last year as it made all the headlines and had a number of high-profile celebs raving about how they were living a 5:2 dietary lifestyle. Notable fans of the diet in the past include Benedict Cumberbatch, Liv Tyler, Beyoncé and supermodel Christie Turlington.
But what exactly does the 5:2 diet or fasting really mean? Well this type of intermittent fasting means reducing the amount you are eating for short periods of time, it isn’t about stopping eating completely which is a popular misconception.
The fundamental premise of the 5:2 or fast diet is that you eat normally for five days a week and diet/fast for two days. On the diet/fast days you are supposed to cut your daily calorie intake to 1/4 of your normal level, so for example on your fast days you’d eat only 500 calories if you are a woman and 600 if you’re a man.
5:2 ‘scientists’ behind the diet claim that by sticking to this plan you should loose around 1lb a week, however success is also dependent upon your non-diet days and what you eat – don’t overeat to compensate for the fast days for example!
Claims are that by undertaking this intermittent fasting approach people can not only loose weight but can also see improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol levels and insulin sensitivity.
Fans of fasting and the 5:2 approach say that this is an easier diet to follow and stick to because you eat mindfully and only deny yourself on your diet days twice a week so you think short term and can look forward to your next normal day and eating as usual.
Now it makes sense that by restricting your food intake when fasting you would loose weight in this manner, however I am sceptical of a diet such as this as I am firmly of the belief that denying yourself of anything completely is not a productive lifestyle and I know that personally I wouldn’t be able to sustain this type of diet and would struggle to stick to the rules! Perhaps this is a suitable solution for a short term fix and I am sure it is appropriate for some people as everyone is different.
So let us know if you have tried aspects of the 5:2 diet – we’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback on it!
**As with all diet plans the results vary from person to person, I am no doctor so to find out more about if a plan is suitable for you before you begin be sure to talk to your GP or a nutritionist to see if it is right for you.**