There are slapdash diets. And there are eating plans with proven health benefits and longevity. The 5:2 Diet is most definitely in the latter category. Get the lowdown now.
The Fast Diet / 5:2 diet theory is based on five days of ‘normal’ eating and two days of ‘fasting’ where calories are cut to ¼ of your normal intake. This goes against the well-worn method of skipping meals and reducing calories everyday to lose weight. Instead, the theory attests that Intermittent Fasting – the process of reducing the amount you eat for only small periods of successive time – is more conducive to healthy weight loss and maintenance than cutting calories across the board.
The Fast Diet – aka 5:2 - has most recently hit the mainstream thanks to the book written by Dr Michael Mosley – who has worked with the likes of John Cleese through to Sir David Attenborough as well as manning some of televisions must-see documentaries on popular science topics – and health and wellbeing journalist Mimi Spencer. Both widely known for their varying takes on science and slimming, the two joined forces to write The Fast Diet, setting off a global stampede of followers.
Generally speaking, on the two fasting days a woman would eat 500 calories and a man, 600 calories, according to Dr Mosley. If you stick to the plan, a weight-loss of nearly 0.50kg is estimated for a woman, and slightly more for a man, he says on his website. “Success also depends on not over-eating on your normal days.”
Additional health benefits include improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin sensitivity.
Miranda Kerr, Jennifer Lopez and Jennifer Aniston are reportedly fans of the 5:2 diet, which has caused international interest – and results.
With any new diet, is a side-serve of healthy debate. Here is the general gist surrounding the Pros and Cons of 5:2 fasting:
o Psychologically, two days is a more realistic short-term hurdle to take on, as opposed to a long-term cutting down of calories.
o Short term fasting can give the digestive system a rest from heavy, digestively taxing foods even for a few days.
o The 5:2 fasting process promotes routine, which some dieters swear is the secret to its success. Knowing that today is a ‘5’ day or a ‘2’ day can help with food preparation and prevent any surprises landing on your plate that you didn’t plan for (i.e.; dinner dates and baking sessions are only scheduled on the ‘5’ days!)
o Not everyone is fit to fast. Depriving yourself of calories over the course of even two days can lead to dizziness and light-headedness, so always check with your health expert before partaking in the 5:2 plan. Furthermore, this is not a healthy option for those suffering diabetes or pregnant women.
o You need to ensure that on the ‘2’ days you are getting all your nutrients and vitamins in your food, rather than simultaneously cutting out the goodness of foods along with the calories.
o Amongst extreme dieters, there is debate that the ratio of 5:2 can be skewed the wrong way, and calories can be cut for 5 days, rather than the recommended 2. This is not promoted by any camp, and if you are vulnerable to extreme dieting, you should not consider fasting as an option for you.
Here are some fabulous, filling and flavoursome options for your '2' day:
Breakfast Under 100 Calories
Get the fibre - and fullness - you need of a morning with a greek yogurt and almond dish. Sprinkle some sultanas over the top for some extra sweetness.
Total Calories: 94
1tbsp sultanas: 42 calories
3tbsp fat-free Greek yogurt: 24 calories
4 whole almonds with skin crushed: 28 calories
Lunch Under 100 Calories
Super Green Omelette:
For a more traditional breakfast, you can’t go past the good old fashioned omelette. This one is 94 calories worth of protein and green goodness!
1 egg: 78 calories
60g fresh spinach: 16 calories
Dinner Under 300 calories
Enough for the entire family, this meal takes only an hour to prepare and can be devoured guilt-free!
1/2 packet refrigerated pie dough
2/3 cup shredded low-fat cheese
1/2 cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives
1/3 cup sliced shallots
3 heirloom tomatoes cut into thick slices
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon of cornmeal
1 tablespoon thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/4 cups reduced fat milk
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 1/2 tablespoons of Parmigiano
Preheat oven on high
Roll dough to 12 inch circle, press into 9 inch dish coated with cooking spray
Sprinkle cheese, olives and shallots, arranging half of tomato slices around the dish as desired
Combine flour, cornmeal and thyme and sprinkle over tomatoes
Top with remaining tomato slices
Sprinkle with 3/2 teaspoon of salt
Combine milk, Parmigiano and eggs and pour into pan
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until set
Let cool for ten minutes and top with basil
Recipe: Under 200 calories!
Perfect for the office lunch box or even an evening meal, these chicken pittas are low fat and super filling.
- 2 tbsp low-fat natural yogurt
- 2 heaped tsp tomato puree
- 2 heaped tsp tikka masala curry paste
- 150g skinless uncooked chicken (thigh or breast), cut into strips
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 2 wholemeal pitta breads
- Shredded lettuce and cherry tomatoes
-Blend together the tomato puree, curry past and yogurt
- Add the chicken to the mix and coat with blend as above
- Refrigerate for 15 minutes
- Preheat frying pan and add oil
- Cook the marinated chicken pieces on medium heat for 5-10 minutes
- When cool, place in the pitta breads with a garnish of lettuce and cherry tomatoes
Courtesy of GoodToKnow