Diet trends come and go and there’s so many of us out there who have tried them all. We’ve been into no carbs, protein only, low fat, low sugar, no sugar, raw, clean, vegan and everything else, challenged by the “healthy lifestyle” paradigm. But there is one diet that goes against most of the advice we have been given and more and more people are having great success. The question is, are you willing to try it?
It’s the 5:2 diet and is based on the principal of fasting for two, non-consecutive days ever week on a limited caloric intake and then eating normally on the remaining five days every week. Last year, Channel Seven’s Sunday Night program investigated the diet, created by British scientist Dr Michael Mosley and it became incredibly popular.
Some people find it easy and some people find it difficult and the experts are equally as separated when it comes to supporting the diet. Body and Soul took an interesting approach and interviewed two experts on whether or not it was effective or not.
A scientist in support of it is Associate Professor Amanda Salis and after studying the health benefits of fasting she found many valuable aspects. Some of these included that it teaches people not to use eating as a tool with boredom, it can help people to become more in tune to the needs of their body and it helps to break unhealthy habits.
The dietician who didn’t support it was Kate di Prima and some of her thoughts were that people who fast are more likely to overindulge on the following days fostering an unhealthy cycle.
They are both valid points from two very well read people. Fasting has been considered a valuable tool for boosting health and promoting dietary balance for hundreds of years. It is believed that it helps the body to burn through fat cells effectively; it can speed up the metabolism, can promote longevity, curb hunger, improve eating patters and boost the immune system and brain function.
The main question people ask when it comes to the 5:2 diet is that it is great in theory, but what in the world do you eat on the fasting days?
The general consensus is that fasting consists of 500-600 calories per day. To put that in perspective:
- A boiled egg is about 90 calories
- An apple with skin is about 75 calories
- A raisin English muffin is about 80 calories
- A cheeseburger is about 300 calories
Essentially, to succeed when it comes to the 5:2 diet you need to focus on eating protein rich foods for slow release energy across the day.
A good friend of mine does the 5:2 diet although she calls it a lifestyle. She’s committed to the two days of fasting and has shared some of her tips for making those two difficult days work.
- Make sure the days you fast are constant, so you aren’t looking to eat out of boredom, but don’t keep yourself too busy as you don’t want to over work the body on low energy.
- Exercise on all of the five days but have exercise free to very light exercise on the fasting days.
- Drink lots of water, it will fill you up, and try flavoured teas without milk if you’re looking for some flavour and variety.
- Keep your diet balanced on the other five days. You don’t want to overindulge too much, just enjoy everything but remember that moderation is key.
Have you tried the 2:5 diet? Did it work for you? Have you heard any other success stories? Share your thoughts in the comments below…