5:2 diet.. what does it include and what are its benefits?

22 June, 2022
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5:2 diet.. what does it include and what are its benefits?

Recently, many people have relied on diets that focus on reducing calories and increasing fasting hours from food, including the 5:2 system.

The 5:2 diet, experts say, involves eating normally five days a week, then reducing your calorie intake to between 500-600 calories a day for two days.

This part-time diet approach, or intermittent fasting method, focuses more on when to eat than on food quality.

Studies such as a review published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that intermittent fasting can have health benefits including weight loss, blood sugar regulation, cell renewal and improved brain health. Functional medicine practitioner Danny Lee says, "It's a completely flexible diet because you're not restricted for five days so if you have a social event to go to, you can plan to fast on the days when you don't eat out, and it keeps you in a calorie deficit for the entirety of the day." week which means you are more likely to lose weight.

What is the 5:2 diet?

It is sometimes called the fast diet and has been popularized by Dr. Michael Mosley since then, the diet has been developed and renamed "The New 5:2". 

“Intermittent fasting, especially if combined with a Mediterranean diet, is a great tool for those who want slower and steady weight loss or weight management,” Moseley says. “It has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood pressure and may be a supportive plan for people with In these cases, it provides more food freedom by restricting calories to only two days a week."

On fasting days, Mosley explains, your body will go into a state of ketosis. "You'll lose visceral fat and have a better insulin response, which in turn will make it easier for you to keep portions reasonable and avoid snacking, during the rest of the week," he says. 

What are the benefits of the 5:2 diet?

According to Lee, a study in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the 5:2 diet is a safe and effective weight loss protocol, which has been generally accepted by researchers as "easy to follow" as well.

Although there aren't many studies specifically on the 5:2 diet, research on intermittent fasting has revealed some impressive health benefits. These include changes in body composition, fat loss, improved heart health and lower blood sugar levels.

One study published in the Canadian Journal of Family Physician confirms that intermittent fasting can help with weight loss in a similar way to calorie restriction and can also help lower cholesterol. Research in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (opens in new tab) that looked at the health benefits of alternate day fasting, which is similar to the 5:2 diet, found that it can reduce insulin resistance, asthma and even menopause.

“Fasting can increase the body’s innate healing mechanisms such as autophagy, as your body cleans out old and damaged cells,” says Carolyn Nicholas, a certified health coach in functional medicine and director of the Health Coaching Able app. Diet, “essentially switching between burning glucose or ketones (fat) for fuel.” One of the biggest attractions of the 5:2 diet is that you only have to restrict your calorie intake for two non-consecutive days a week. Dieters should only eat 25% of their usual calories, which works out to about 500 for women and 600 for men, depending on Depending on your preference, this can be equivalent to three small meals or two larger meals.

It's important to be an expert here and learn how to 'increase calories,' Lee says. From fats such as chicken, turkey or fish, cauliflower rice and low-calorie soups, as well as limiting meal times throughout the day so that you are better psychologically prepared.”

Is the 5:2 diet safe?

The 5:2 diet may be a good option for people who are healthy, well-nourished and looking to lose weight, but it's not recommended for everyone, says Dr. Naomi Neumann-Beinart.

 Dr Neumann Beinart says: 'Frankly, it is not a particularly safe option for people with mental health disorders, particularly depression and anxiety, as too little calories can cause brain fog, dizziness and poor concentration, which can exacerbate emotional disturbances.

Intermittent fasting has been found to have certain health benefits, including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and improved insulin metabolism, however research has generally been based around the 16/8 or 14/10 diet. 

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