A trial funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and led by Queen Mary University of London evaluated the 5:2 diet, a popular type of intermittent fasting regime, compared to traditional weight loss advice in 300 UK adults with obesity, over a one-year period. The findings suggest that providing brief advice on the 5:2 diet could extend the options clinicians can offer to patients. „We found that although the 5:2 diet wasn’t superior to traditional approaches in terms of weight loss, users preferred this approach as it was simpler and more attractiv,” Dr Katie Myers Smith, Chartered Health Psychologist and Senior Research Fellow at Queen Mary, said. The 5:2 diet is popular intermittent fasting weight loss intervention whereby dieters restrict their caloric intake on two non-consecutive days a week and then apply sensible eating on the remaining days. Explained in other words, eat what you want five days a week and dramatically cut the calories for two.
The diet restricts calories to just 500 a day for women and 600 a day for men on those days.The non-fast days must include fruit, veg, wholegrains and lean protein such as chicken, fish, turkey and dairy foods.There are no restrictions on the types of food you can eat. Beverages other than water, black coffee, or herbal tea ARE not permitted (on fasting days). Doctor and journalist Michael Mosley presented the diet du jour as ‘genuinely revolutionary’; and as a result, published The Fast Diet book in January 2013.The calorie restriction may be also linked with improving brain function and cholesterol levels and at the same time is involved in reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer. Breastfeeding women as well as diabetics on medication should seek medical advice before embarking on a restricted eating programme. A thing to know for interested people: if you eat more than you normally would during the five days to compensate for the lost calories on fasting days, you might not lose weight. You may even gain weight.