To diet or not to diet. Is that really the question anymore? The word diet used to evoke visions of people eating exclusively green salads and refusing to indulge on an office muffin. These days, nearly everyone is on a diet of some sort. Weight Watchers, Paolo, Mediterranean and the 5:2. There are loads to choose from.
Popularized by British doctor and journalist Michael Mosley, the 5:2 diet has been praised for its effectiveness and flexibility. The diet has become fashionable in the last five years with newspaper articles and multiple books being published about it. Does the hype ring true or is this just another diet we could live without?
What is the 5:2 diet?
It’s a form of fasting where dieters eat whatever they like for five days and limit their calorie consumption to just 25% on two other non-consecutive days. This is 500 calories for women and 600 for men. When done correctly, the diet claims to help you lose around a pound a week.
One of the reasons for its popularity is because there are no restrictions on the types of food you’re allowed to eat. For five days a week you could be eating pizza, burgers and ice cream. Awesome, right?
Even better, a study conducted by researchers at the Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention Center at the University Hospital of South Manchester concluded that women found they lost more weight than those who attempted to limit calories for an entire week.
There are claims that calorie restriction diets such as the 5:2 could be linked with reduced heart disease, improved brain function and blood-sugar control.
– RELATED: Can Skipping Breakfast Help You Burn Fat Faster? –
What should I eat on fast days?
Avoiding refined carbs is the best place to start. Pastas, rice and potatoes will start take up a big chunk of your 500 calories and digest very quickly. This can lead to a surge in your blood sugar and then once your energy drops you’ll feel hungry again. Nutritious, high-fiber, high-protein foods are the best to choose. Focus on flavors over size, your small portion will seem a lot more appealing if it’s covered in garlic, turmeric or paprika.
Natural yogurt 82 calories
Chicken miso soup 132 calories
Cheesy muffin meatloaf 262 calories
Can I work out on my fasting days?
There are studies that suggest fasted exercise can help us burn more fat, but it’s always important to be cautious. Food is energy and therefore, restricting this energy causes our body to go into ‘repair mode’. When we start exerting energy again, some people can experience feelings of dizziness and tiredness.
If you work out 5-6 times a week, try and plan your routine around your diet and save LISS workouts such as walking for the days you’re fasting. Also, remember to eat one of your meals before you hit the gym and ensure it’s a high protein meal to help you feel good. If you’re still worried about it, talk to your doctor and most importantly, if you start to feel tired, dizzy or unwell, stop.
Can anyone do the 5:2?
It’s a very personal diet and doesn’t work with everyone’s lifestyles, however here is a list of people who should avoid any form of dietary restrictions completely:
• Pregnant women and nursing mothers
• Women trying to conceive
• Teenagers and children
• Individuals with type 1 diabetes
• Anyone with a history of eating disorders
• Individuals who are sensitive to drops in blood sugar levels.
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