5:2 Fast Diet

After the interesting documentary by Michael Mosley on the 5:2 fast diet everyone in the media seems to by jumping on the band wagon, but is it actually as good as it sounds?

The diet involves eating what ever you want for the 5 days a week then drastically reducing your calories for 2 days week to 500-600 calories a day. The fasting is said to increase your body’s ability to deal with inflammation, improve insulin sensitivity and aid weight loss by increasing resting energy expenditure, and the obvious reduction in calories.

So this all sounds good right? Well yes in theory but what worries me is what people may be eating in the 5 days they are not fasting. If someone is obese there is clearly an imbalance in their diet and lifestyle so just reducing their calories for two days does not deal with the under lying imbalance. There is nothing to address the kinds of foods that made them obese in the first place. Reports say that adherence to this diet is high and it is because people don’t feel they have to give anything up and carry on as usual 5 days a week. Don’t get me wrong I don’t suggest all my patients give up their favourite foods, I believe even unhealthier food are alright in moderation but if you are overweight or obese it suggests you may have lost your grip of moderation.

The way I use the 5:2 theory in weight loss is that I discuss what a healthy diet would be for the individual patient to help them lose weight which also includes treats and guidance on lifestyle changes. Then for an extra boost they eat the “perfect diet” (which is different for everyone) for 2 days a week and this really helps.

There are scientifically proven health benefits to fasting and calorie restriction but the media has twisted this 5:2 theory into just another fad diet. Fad diets don’t work as they do not address the underlying imbalance in the individual’s diet and lifestyle.

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