The 5:2 Diet, also known as the Fast Diet and intermittent fasting, is an extremely popular eating plan that combines two calorie-restricted days (fasts) with five regular eating days in a week. The fasting days do not involve complete food deprivation, but rather eating about a quarter of what is considered to be normal calorie consumption in a day. This eating plan is supposed to help followers lose weight and experience many of the health benefits linked to fasting.
So how did fasting become a mainstream diet plan? In 2012, a medical journalist in the United Kingdom named Michael Mosley lost twenty pounds after trying the 5:2 combination of intermittent fasting. His success and the resulting media storm inspired TV shows and books, which in turn motivated many people to try this lifestyle change. The positive buzz on the 5:2 Diet continued to grow as people lost weight, felt better, and found the diet easier to commit to than standard weeklong calorie-restriction diets. The 5:2 Diet is flexible enough to make it practical, does not require radical food or cooking changes, and it works.
The basic guidelines of the 5:2 Diet are very straightforward:
- Combine five regular eating days and two days of fasting each week.
- Fasting days should not be consecutive.
- On fasting days, consume a maximum of five hundred calories if you are a woman and six hundred calories if you are a man.
- There are no food restrictions or schedules on fasting days except the calorie allotment. You can eat six small meals, three moderate meals, or one large meal, depending on your preference.
- On non-fasting days, eat anything you want, but try to keep your calories to 2,000 per day (women) or 2,600 per day (men), and stick to whole foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains whenever feasible.
- Make sure you drink at least eight glasses of water per day.