The 5:2 Fasting Diet is an increasingly popular diet plan with a flurry of newspaper articles and books being published on it. The diet which involves restricting your calories on non-consecutive days reached the mainstream via a BBC Horizon documentary called Eat, Fast and Live Longer, broadcast in 2012. Supporters of the 5:2 fasting diet claim that other than helping weight loss, the 5:2 plan can bring other significant health benefits whilst other supporters say it can help us live longer!
So what is the 5:2 Fasting Diet?
The 5:2 fasting diet is based on a principle known as intermittent fasting (IF). It’s relatively straightforward – you eat normally five days a week, and limit yourself to 600 kcals for the other two days. The silver lining is that you are given a free reign on your choice of food (up to roughly 2000 kcals) for the other five!
Are there guidelines on the 5:2 Fasting Diet?
There is no official guide – it doesn’t seem to matter which days of the week you do it; although consecutive days are not advised, most prefer to do intermittent fasts on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Equally, when you choose to eat is up to you but again most prefer to split their 600 kcals by 200 kcals per sitting having a 200 kcal breakfast, lunch and dinner. An increase in water is recommended on fasting days, however, anyone increasing intake should always do so gradually and build up to 2.5-3 litres over 2-3 days.
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How does the 5:2 Diet work?
Research shows that calorie restriction for two days per week reduces the liver’s production of a growth promoter hormone called IGF-1, allowing DNA repair and new cells to grow. This focus on the production of restoring damaged cells uses up energy.
So weight loss isn’t purely down to calorie reduction on the 5:2 Fasting Diet?
No, according to one other study this isn’t the case. Certainly, a total calorie reduction through fasting aids weight loss. However, this approach is based on the theory that on fasting days a ‘slim’ gene called SIRT1 is activated which promotes weight loss and adds to the various health benefits cited by following such a diet.
What should I eat on my non-fasting days?
To make your diet easier our nutritionist has put together a 5:2 weekly menu plan to give you a good idea of what to eat on your normal eating days. Its no good dropping to 600 calories on your fasting days and then eating ‘whatever you fancy’ and piling on the calories on your ‘eating days’ as its counter productive. Best to eat sensibily that way when you’ve finished the 5:2 plan you’ll have a good balanced diet to continue with.
What else is there to know about the 5:2 Fasting Diet?
The SIRT1 gene’s function is complicated. The notion is that when we have a very-low calorie intake the cells are restricted of energy, they become ‘stressed’ and eventually start to die. This chain of events triggers the activation of SIRT1 which in turn sets off a process that stops cells from dying.
This slim gene is thought to help make our metabolism more efficient so that we burn fat more effectively and also helps to inhibit fat storage. SIRT1 has also been shown to reduce inflammation which is thought to be the cause of many health problems including:
asthma, arthritis, heart diseases, cancer, premature ageing
Is the 5:2 Fasting Diet good for you?
There is limited research to date, but early studies suggest that this type of approach to weight loss can bring significant health benefits. One word of caution however, is to ensure that on fasting days consumption of a good range of vitamins and minerals is achieved to sustain good health. Meal Replacement Products can be beneficial on fasting plans as they are designed to replace a conventional meal. The meal replacement products in the Saints & Slimmers range are specially designed to provide essential fatty acids and 100% RDA of 23 vitamins and minerals when eaten as part of the 5:2 plan. High levels of protein and fibre lead to increased satiety and with active ingredients such as Green Tea Extract and L-Carnitine the user is able to cut calories not nutrition.
Is this type of weight loss plan for everyone?
No, do not ‘intermittent fast’ if you have diabetes, have a history of epilepsy, are taking any medication, or if you are pregnant. As with all slimming plans it is advised to seek advice from your GP if you have any concerns.
Where do I start my 5:2 Fasting Diet?
Head over to our The 5:2 Meal Replacement Hamper The ‘Hamper‘ is designed with the 5:2 in mind and provides 8 days (3-a-day for a month) worth of Meal Replacement Products, each at 200 kcals for your fasting days. Or if you prefer you can buy individual items from our shop.
Hamper packs include a free shaker bottle and are up to 37% off the normal price so at just £3.86 per day its the best value 5:2 around.