Fasting diets such as the 5 & 2 diet have been the cause for much controversy. Some claim them to be vastly unhealthy while at the same time, others claim to have seen incredible results. The theory behind the 5 & 2 diet is simple and effective. It involves the reduction of your daily calorie intake down to 500 – 600 a day for two days of the week while eating regularly for the other 5 days of the week. Contrary to popular belief, this diet does not consist of unhealthy fasting to lose weight.
Why the 5 & 2 diet works
Needless to say, reduced calorie intake promotes weight loss. As for this particular diet, it focuses on training your body to function normally while repairing itself. When people opt for fasting to lose weight, especially for prolonged periods of time, the body realizes that it is not receiving adequate nutrition and starts storing fat. This can result in the slowing down of the metabolism system and leads to a wide range of problems in the long run. Since the 5 & 2 diet only requires you to reduce what you eat for two days of the week, your body does not go into starvation mode. Instead, the fasting days promotes your body to use up the stored fat and to repair itself on a cellular level.
How to prevent health problems when fasting to lose weight
While fasting diets are certainly effective, it is important to pay attention to your health concerns to safely to overcome your weight issues. For starters, if you are on medication for diabetes, have a history of eating disorders or if you are pregnant, you should not consider fasting to lose weight. For someone of average health, it is always important to seek the advice of a doctor and request their assistance to keep the progress in check. If you have started the 5 & 2 diet, be sure to watch out for symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, irritability, bad breath and dehydration and to consult your doctor immediately.
What to expect
There are many success stories attached to this diet all over the internet. What most people claim is that this diet resulted in fast weight loss along with better tolerance to hunger pangs. One would expect a 5 & 2 dieter to gorge themselves on fatty foods on their ‘feeding days’, but in reality, most people claim that they do not crave highly fatty food and are quite content on about 2000 – 2500 calories per day. Additionally, the diet also provides other significant health benefits such as improved cognitive function, protection from disease and a much more reduced risk for diabetes and even dementia.
What you can expect are greatly reduced levels of IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor – 1), a hormone that keeps your cells constantly active. In addition, fasting to lose weight also appears to prompt your repair genes to get to work. The reason for this is the fact that reduced food intake allows your body to switch from ‘growth’ to ‘repair’ by using up the energy and nutrients that are stored within the body.
Fasting actually lowers the levels of IGF-1 and it appears to activate a number of DNA repair genes. When our bodies run out of food, our bodies seem to change from “growth” to “repair” mode.
A study, conducted in 2010 showed evidence that the 5 & 2 diet did indeed contribute to fast weight loss. Further analysis into the body chemistry of the test subjects highlighted a significant decrease in a number of biomarkers (biological indicators). This is a good thing as the reduction of these biological indicators is linked with the decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.
Another study, carried out in 2012 discovered signs that this diet model has the ability to lower the risks of heart disease, obesity related cancers as well as breast cancer. With the many success stories and clinically assessed results out there, the 5:2 diet is definitely worth a try. With the monitoring of a physician and the right meal plans, the 5 &2 diet certainly has the ability to transform your life into a long and healthy one.