The Beginner’s Guide to the 5:2 Diet

Healthline Diet Score: 3.96 out of 5

intermittent fast is an eating model that involves regular fast. The 5:2 diet, besides known as The Fast Diet, is presently the most popular intermittent fasting diet. It was popularized by british diarist Michael Mosley.

It ’ s called the 5:2 diet because five days of the week are normal feed days, while the other two restrict calories to 500–600 per day. Because there are no requirements about which foods to eat but quite when you should eat them, this diet is more of a life style. many people find this way of eating to be easier to stick to than a traditional calorie-restricted diet ( 1 ). This article explains everything you need to know about the 5:2 diet .


  • Overall score: 3.96
  • Weight loss: 4.5
  • Healthy eating: 3.5
  • Sustainability: 4.75
  • Whole body health: 2.25
  • Nutrition quality: 5
  • Evidence based: 3.75

bottom LINE : The 5:2 diet is an intermittent fast regimen in which calorie intake is limited to 500–600 calories per day two times per workweek. Though it may be linked to respective health benefits, fasting diets may not be desirable for everyone .

How to do the 5:2 diet

parcel on Pinterest The 5:2 diet is actually very simpleton to explain. For five days per workweek, you eat normally and don ’ t have to think about restricting calories. then, on the other two days, you reduce your calorie intake to a quarter of your daily needs. This is about 500 calories per day for women, and 600 for men. You can choose whichever two days of the week you prefer, a long as there is at least one non-fasting day in between them. One park room of planning the week is to fast on Mondays and Thursdays, with two or three small meals, then eat normally for the rest of the week. It ’ sulfur important to emphasize that eating “ normally ” does not mean you can eat anything. If you binge on trash food, then you probably won ’ t lose any weight, and you may even gain weight. You should eat the lapp measure of food as if you hadn ’ thymine been fasting at all .

Summary The 5:2 diet involves eating normally for five days per week, then restricting your calorie intake to 500–600 calories on the other two days .

Health benefits of intermittent fasting

There are very few studies on the 5:2 diet specifically. however, there are plenty of studies on intermittent fast in general, which show impressive health benefits ( 2, 3 ). One important benefit is that intermittent fasting seems to be easier to follow than continuous calorie restriction, at least for some people ( 4, 5 ). besides, many studies have shown that unlike types of intermittent fast may significantly reduce insulin levels ( 2, 6, 7 ). One study showed that the 5:2 diet caused weight personnel casualty similar to regular calorie restriction. additionally, the diet was very effective at reducing insulin levels and improving insulin sensitivity ( 8 ). several studies have looked into the health effects of modify alternate-day fast, which is very exchangeable to the 5:2 diet ( ultimately, it ’ s a 4:3 diet ) ( 9 ). The 4:3 diet may help reduce insulin resistor, asthma, seasonal allergies, affection cardiac arrhythmia, menopausal hot flashes and more ( 10, 11 ). One randomized controlled study in both normal-weight and fleshy individuals showed major improvements in the group doing 4:3 fast, compared to the control group that ate normally ( 12 ). After 12 weeks, the fasting group had :

  • Reduced body weight by more than 11 pounds (5 kg).
  • Reduced fat mass by 7.7 pounds (3.5 kg), with no change in muscle mass.
  • Reduced blood levels of triglycerides by 20%.
  • Increased LDL particle size, which is a good thing.
  • Reduced levels of CRP, an important marker of inflammation.
  • Decreased levels of leptin by up to 40%.

Summary The 5:2 diet may have respective impressive health benefits, including weight loss, reduced insulin resistance and decrease excitement. It may besides improve blood lipids .

The 5:2 diet for weight loss

If you need to lose weight, the 5:2 diet can be very effective when done right. This is chiefly because the 5:2 consume radiation pattern helps you consume fewer calories. consequently, it is identical important not to compensate for the fast days by eating much more on the non-fasting days. intermittent fast does not cause more weight loss than regular calorie restriction if sum calories are matched ( 13, 14 ). That said, fasting protocols similar to the 5:2 diet have shown a distribute of promise in system of weights loss studies :

  • A recent review found that modified alternate-day fasting led to weight loss of 3–8% over the course of 3–24 weeks (15).
  • In the same study, participants lost 4–7% of their waist circumference, meaning that they lost a lot of harmful belly fat.
  • Intermittent fasting causes a much smaller reduction in muscle mass when compared to weight loss with conventional calorie restriction (15, 16).

intermittent fast is even more effective when combined with exercise, such as survival or intensity aim ( 17 ).

Summary The 5:2 diet should be very effective for burden loss if done correctly. It may help reduce belly adipose tissue, american samoa well as assistant maintain muscle mass during weight loss .

How to eat on fasting days

There is no rule for what or when to eat on fast days. Some people function best by beginning the day with a belittled breakfast, while others find it best to start eating equally late as possible. generally, there are two meal patterns that people follow :

  1. Three small meals: Usually breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  2. Two slightly bigger meals: Only lunch and dinner.

Since calorie intake is specify — 500 calories for women and 600 calories for men — it makes common sense to use your calorie budget wisely. Try to focus on alimentary, high-fiber, high-protein foods that will make you feel full without consuming excessively many calories. Soups are a bang-up choice on fast days. Studies have shown that they may make you feel more broad than the same ingredients in original phase, or foods with the lapp calorie contented ( 18, 19 ). here are a few examples of foods that may be suitable for fast days :

  • A generous portion of vegetables
  • Natural yogurt with berries
  • Boiled or baked eggs.
  • Grilled fish or lean meat
  • Cauliflower rice
  • Soups (for example miso, tomato, cauliflower or vegetable)
  • Low-calorie cup soups
  • Black coffee
  • Tea
  • Still or sparkling water

There is no specific, compensate way to eat on fast days. You have to experiment and figure out what works best for you .

Delicious low-calorie meals

There are enough of websites with delectable meal plans and recipes for the 5:2 diet .

  • Check out this site for plenty of low-calorie meal ideas.
  • This site offers ideas for 10 fasting days that are worth checking out.
  • Here are 27 meal plans for 500-calorie fast days.
  • You can find all kinds of information and recipes on the chat forum of the official Fast Diet website.
  • There are also several books and cookbooks available for the 5:2 diet, including the best-selling book called The Fast Diet.

Summary There are many meal plans and recipes available on the Internet for 500–600 calorie fast days. Sticking to alimentary, high-fiber and high-protein foods is a dear idea .

What to do if you feel unwell or uncontrollably hungry

During the first few fast days, you can expect to have episodes of overwhelm starve. It is besides normal to feel a small weak or slower than common. however, you ’ ll be surprised at how promptly the starve fades, specially if you try to keep busy with work or other errands. additionally, most people find that the fast days become easy after the beginning few fasts. If you are not used to fasting, it may be a good idea to keep a modest nosh handy during your first few fasts, barely in encase you feel faint or ill. But if you repeatedly find yourself feeling ailment or faint during fast days, have something to eat and talk with your doctor about whether you should continue. intermittent fast is not for everyone, and some people are unable to tolerate it .

Summary It is normal to be hungry or feel a little unaccented during the beginning few fasts. If you repeatedly feel faint or ill, you should credibly stop the diet .

Who should avoid the 5:2 diet, or intermittent fasting overall?

Although intermittent fast is very safe for healthy, well-fed people, it does not suit everyone. Some people should avoid dietary restrictions and fasting wholly. These include :

  • Individuals with a history of eating disorders.
  • Individuals who often experience drops in blood sugar levels.
  • Pregnant women, nursing mothers, teenagers, children and individuals with type 1 diabetes.
  • People who are malnourished, underweight or have known nutrient deficiencies.
  • Women who are trying to conceive or have fertility issues.

furthermore, intermittent fast may not be as beneficial for some women as it is for men ( 20, 21 ). Some women have reported that their menstrual period stopped while they were following this type of eating radiation pattern. however, things went back to normal when they returned to a regular diet. therefore, women should be careful when starting any form of intermittent fast, and stop doing it immediately if any adverse effects occur.

The bottom line

The 5:2 diet is an easy, effective way to lose weight and improve metabolic health.

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many people find it much easier to stick to than a conventional calorie-restricted diet. If you ’ re looking to lose burden or improve your health, the 5:2 diet is decidedly something to consider .

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