The five two diet is an eating plan which involves restricting your calorie intake on two non-consecutive days of the week and eating normally on the remaining five days.
The diet suggests lowering your calorie consumption to 25% of your normal calorie needs on two of your chosen days of the week. This means eating around 500 calories for women, and around 600 for men on ‘fast’ days and consuming the usual 2000-2400 calories on the remaining days.
What & when to eat on a 5:2 diet?
Many diets have long lists of foods that one should consume, and even longer ones of foods to avoid. This is not the case with the 5:2.
Essentially, you can eat whatever you like following this diet, making sure on two days of the week you stay below the 500/600 calorie count. And this is the only golden rule.
Theoretically, you could eat a couple of doughnuts that will add up to 500 calories on your ‘fasting’ days, but unsurprisingly, it’s recommended to opt for healthy, low-calorie and nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables.
This is because while you are drastically restricting your calorie intake, you don’t want to also impede your body of all the beneficial goodies that keep us going. While a doughnut might seem enjoyable in the duration of eating it, it will not do much for you in the long run. Vitamins and minerals are an essential part of keeping your body fit, healthy and energized.
When it comes to the timing of your meals on the fast days, the world is also your oyster. You may choose to have 2-3 small meals over the course of the day, or you may eat a slightly bigger meal just once. It all depends on your usual eating habits, routine and preference.
Does the 5:2 diet work? – The benefits
One of the most common reasons for going on any diet is weight loss. In that respect, the 5:2 diet is no exception. Simply put, when we expend more calories than we consume, we go into a bodyfat-burning process, resulting in weight loss. So, by drastically restricting your calorie intake two days a week, you increase the amount of time in which your body burns fat. Many followers of the diet report significant and, more importantly, sustainable weight loss.
Other health benefits
People on the 5:2 diet report improved blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
The “easy” diet
Because this diet doesn’t involve prolonged starvation or waving your favorite foods goodbye, it may be one of the easiest diets out there. Many other diets involve making drastic changes and sacrifices in your eating habits, often causing people to fall off the diet wagon after just a week or two.
The 5:2 diet plan allows you to enjoy your favorite foods and feel full at least 5 days a week. This is likely to make it easier for you to stick to this plan long-term.
- Make sure to stay hydrated during your two “fast” days. Not only is hydration essential for our wellbeing, but drinking plenty of water can also make you feel fuller.
- Don’t be afraid of hunger! Our ancestors would sometimes go days meal-less. We are built to be able to last with little food for some time. And the best part is, you can fill your belly up the following day.
- In relation to the point above, be mindful of what you put in your body 7 days of the week. Don’t try to overcompensate for your ‘fast’ days by eating double on the normal calorie allowance days. Try eating up until you feel satisfied and no more than that.