So many of us struggle to lose weight, so when news of a new diet plan comes along, everyone’s interested. The 5:2 Diet is growing in popularity and you’ve probably seen articles in the news or online about it. The diet first reached the mass awareness because of a BBC Horizon documentary known as Eat, Fast and Live Longer that was shown in August of 2012.
The diet is based on something called intermittent fasting, where you eat as you normally do at some times, and then fast during other times. How appealing is that? You can eat as you like on non fasting days, and eat calorie restricted on those fasting days. So in the case of the 5:2 Diet, you eat as you like for five days a week, fast on the other two days.
Fasting has been around for centuries, long seen as a spiritual and religious action, showing sacrifice and purification of spirit. Only in the last 100 years has fasting been looked at as something for physical health. It’s known to reduce oxidative stress, increase insulin sensitivity and resist the aging process. Fasts should always been done with close attention to how your body is reacting.
Those who champion the 5:2 Diet say that the diet brings many benefits, including
- Increased lifespan
- Improved cognitive functioning and protection against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
- Protection from disease in general
Of course there isn’t any peer-reviewed evidence that the 5:2 Diet actually brings these benefits, and there’s very limited evidence for intermittent fasting in general. It would be useful for researchers to conduct a full systemic review, but that hasn’t happened as yet.
In fact, there are some important things we don’t know about intermittent fasting. For example:
- What pattern of intermittent fasting is the most effective?
- What is the optimal calorie consumption for the fasting days?
- How does intermittent fasting compare to other calorie controlled eating plans in terms of weight loss and improvements in health?
- How sustainable is intermittent fasting over the long term?
Some of the possible side effects that can come from intermittent fasting include…
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Fasting Diet: To Know Before You Start Continued…
- Trouble sleeping
- Bad breath, like those who follow low carb diets
- Daytime sleepiness
If you’re going to try this eating plan, think seriously about the fasting aspect, and how it will impact your life during those fasting days. You’re likely to be pretty hungry and have less energy, which can affect you at work and in terms of exercise. You’ll want to drink lots of water and tea. This eating plan is not suitable for pregnant women and those who have conditions like diabetes or a history of eating disorders.
Before you begin the 5:2 Diet, even if you’re healthy and feeling fine, talk with your own doctor first. He or she is the best one to advise you on if this plan is safe for you. We still don’t know if doing this long term is good for you. And remember, intermittent fasting is a lifestyle, not a diet, it’s a way of living and eating that proponents say will help you stay healthy and live a longer life.
To your good health,