What Is The 5:2 Fasting Diet Plan?
The 5:2 diet (also known as the 5/2 diet) is a fasting diet plan that limits the calorie intake for 2 days, and then eating 'normally' for the other 5 days per week. This type of diet is also known as an 'intermittent fasting' diet.
The general idea behind the 5:2 diet is calorie restriction on the two (non-consecutive) given days. That is, for two of the 7 days in each week, you eat very low calorie (but high in nutrition) foods, while the other 5 days you can eat what you would usually eat. This diet isn't a full fast (as in water only), but is a carefully planned eating plan for a couple of days each week.
5:2 Diet Background
The 5:2 diet became popular in August 2012, with a BBC Horizon documentary featuring reporter Michael Mosley. He talked to experts about the benefits of the 5:2 diet, tried the diet himself and shared his results.
Over a 5-week period, he had a loss in weight of approx 15-20lbs. Blood tests showed a dramatic improvement in cholesterol and glucose levels, as well as other improvements.
To watch the full documentary for yourself, click here.
How Do I Do The 5:2 Diet Plan?
The two days of fasting requires you to keep your intake below a set number of calories: 500 for women, 600 for men. The normal average calorie intake (at least in North American or European countries) is 2000. This means scaling back the calories to about 1/4 of the 'normal' amount on the two fasting days.
The obvious part of following this fasting diet plan is to plan your meals to ensure you stay below the daily calorie count. For example, a good starting plan may set your calorie limits to something like:
- 150 calories at breakfast
- 100 at lunch
- 200 at dinner, and
- 50-100 for snacks throughout the day.
To give an example of some 'typical' foods, a hard boiled egg would be approx. 77 calories, one can of Coke is 150 calories, and a medium banana is 105 calories. For a comprehensive list of foods and their calorie counts per portion, click here.
For a lot of people who do the 5:2 diet, they gain a greater awareness of the calories and nutritional value of foods they consume. This awareness is not only for what they eat on fasting days but also the foods they eat on non-fasting days.
This greater awareness leads them to make better decisions in their food choices for themselves and their families every day of the week. This leads to greater weight-loss and improved health generally.
For more information and tips on how to do an intermittent fasting diet, click here.
What Can You Eat For 500 Calories?
When you hear "500 calories", you may be a bit concerned about what you can actually eat on a fasting day. Well, there are many different meals that you can eat. But the key is being prepared so that you are not tempted by non-healthy, high-calorie foods and snacks that you may have in your cupboard.
(For an example 5:2 diet 500 calorie meal plan, click here).
There are many different meals that you can prepare so that you will remain under the 500 calorie limit, including:
- Fruit and vegetables
- Lean meat
- Grilled fish
- Etc, etc
There are many foods that are ok to eat as snacks and meals, but it’s important not to load them up with high-calorie dressings and sauces. Eating fresh, natural, healthy ingredients is often best.
For more tips and inspiration on what you can eat on your 5:2 fasting days, click here, or see our latest posts below...
What Are The Health Benefits Of This Intermittent Fasting Diet Plan?
One of the ideas behind this type of diet is that it promotes your body’s IGF-1 hormone (normally a growth hormone that causes aging) to go from growth mode to repair. This means it works at making your body heal, rather than just grow.
The other factors to consider with this diet are more concerned with your current weight. Lower calorie intake for most people will equal less fat. This is because, unless you’re a full-time athlete, most people do not need the number of calories they consume each day. They don’t burn that energy away, and as a result, it turns into fat. The 5:2 diet promotes lower calories on a weekly basis and high nutrient foods during the fasting days.
Intermittent Fasting - Not a 'Real' Fast
As a very important note to all the readers, this type of diet is not a true ‘fast’ as the name implies. You don’t go for two days without eating. While true fasts can be a mental and physical cleansing time, they should not be undertaken often. This is especially if you currently have a medical condition or are pregnant.
No-one promoting this fasting diet plan should tell you to not eat anything for two days a week. If the body doesn’t get enough nutrients, it starts building a more durable fat, which is made for long-term safety and is harder to lose. Not eating for two days on a regular basis will build this type of fat and will make it hard to slim down if that is what you desire.
If you wish to do a true fast, please consult a doctor or clinic and do so with their assistance and monitoring.
Improve Your Health & Lose Weight Safely
As with any diet, the 5:2 diet is only a stepping stone to a healthier body. You should also consider:
- drinking lots of water,
- getting a good amount of sleep,
- cutting out bad habits like smoking, and
- attempting to eat healthier when on your 5 day ‘eat anything’ segment.
While this diet suggests that you can eat anything you want on those 5 days, it's best to still be mindful of what you consume. The 2 day fast won't negate all the effects of your other 5 days. The less fatty, processed foods that you eat, the better your health will be and the faster progress you will make.
As with anything, use common sense. You may wish to consult your doctor before starting. If you feel ill when on this fasting diet plan, consult a doctor for bloodwork, or stop the diet for a few weeks to make sure you’re over any sickness.
And of course, don’t be on this diet while pregnant, or have any other major health-related issues without getting a doctor’s permission first.
How Can I Burn Extra Calories When On The 5:2 Diet Plan?
If you’re keen to lose some weight and get in shape, burning extra calories by getting active is one of the best ways. Getting your body moving by going to the gym or going for a run are two great ways to burn off calories.
If these options are not your cup of tea, then there is plenty of exercise and fitness equipment to help. We have put together quite a few reviews so that you can select the best gear so you can exercise in the comfort of your own home. Make sure that you check out this page with many different options to get you started, as well as these exercise posts below...
We understand many people either have no time to hit the gym, or doing 30 minutes on a treadmill isn’t your thing. As such, we’ve put together a few other options to burn those extra calories, and some fat as well.
This can help with your health and vitality whether you are on the 5:2 diet plan or not. So check out these posts on burning some extra calories when on the fasting diet plan...
How can I get more details on how to do the 5:2 diet plan quickly and easily?
If you’re ready to fast-track your weight loss and reclaim your health, make sure you download our complimentary fasting guide.
This guide outlines the steps I took to lose weight and drastically improve my health. It’s the same guide that has achieved outstanding results for thousands of people worldwide. We are so pleased that we have been able to help so many people achieve great health and weight-loss results. We look forward to being able to help you too.
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Good luck on your journey towards improved health and weight-loss. If there is anything that you need help with, then please click here to instantly download our fasting guide. Otherwise, leave a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
To your health
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