The 5:2 Diet

September 5, 2018

The 5:2 Diet is when you follow your normal diet for 5 days per week and “fast” intermittently for 2 days. On those alternate fasting days, you should consume 500-600 calories per day, which is based on meeting only 25% of the average metabolic requirements per day.

Most weight loss programs use a daily energy restriction, however intermittent fasting has been suggested as an effective alternative approach, particularly for those who find it difficult to stick to a weekly program. Evidence shows that intermittent fasting is as effective for weight loss as a daily reduced energy diet. It has also been shown to be useful for weight maintenance. (1)

The CSIRO undertook a 16-week clinical study to investigate the benefits of an intermittent fasting diet. (2) The study found it is an effective way to lose weight. They also found improvements in cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Participants found they had better eating habits and greater control over their eating.

Other studies have had similar findings to that of the CSIRO study. A review of current literature shows that intermittent fasting has been found to reduce total body weight, body fat percentage and waist circumference. (Patterson, Tinsley, Seimon, Harvie, Harvie #2, Brown) Intermittent fasting can lead to decreases in metabolic biomarkers associated with chronic disease, such as insulin and glucose. (Patterson, Seimon, Harvey #2, Harvie) It can also improve lipid profiles, including reduced cholesterol and triglyceride levels. (Patterson, Harvie, Brown) It is also suggested that intermittent fasting may reduce appetite. (Seimon)

Daily dieting is difficult for some people, so the idea of keeping an eye on what you eat for only a couple of days a week is more appealing and less challenging. It has been found by some people to be easier to adhere to than a daily energy restriction (Harvie) Intermittent fasting can also help you become more aware of your hunger and fullness cues, and encourage a more ‘mindful’ approach to eating. (DAA)

Intermittent fasting is a promising approach to losing weight. It is ideal for people wanting to achieve slower weight loss or weight maintenance. It has a positive effect on markers of metabolic health and body composition, including loss of fat mass, decreased blood pressure, improved blood sugar levels and improvement in markers of cardiovascular disease risk.

Check out our Be 5:2 Combo or if you would like further advice regarding intermittent fasting and our meal plan, please contact one of our Accredited Practising Dietitians at Be Fit Food.

By Laura Ballantyne, Accredited Practising Dietitian

References

  1. https://daa.asn.au/voice-of-daa/hot-topics/
  2. https://www.csiro.au/en/Research/Health/CSIRO-diets/Intermittent-fasting-diet
  3. Patterson RE, Sears DD. Metabolic effects of intermittent fasting. Annu Rev Nutr. 2017;37:371-393.
  4. Tinsley GM, La Bounty PM. Effects of intermittent fasting on body composition and clinical health markers in humans. Nutr Rev. 2015;73(10):661-674.
  5. Seimon RV, Roekenes JA, Zibellini J, Zhu B, Gibson AA, Hills AP et al. Do intermittent diets provide psychological benefits over continuous diets for weight loss? A systematic review of clinical trials. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2015; 418(2):153-172.
  6. Harvie M, Wright C, Pegington M, McMullan D, Mitchell E, Martin B et al. The effect of intermittent energy and carbohydrate restriction v. daily energy restriction on weight loss and metabolic disease risk markers in overweight women. Br J Nutr. 2013;110(8):1534-1547.
  7. Harvie M, Howell A. Potential benefits and harms of intermittent energy restriction and intermittent fasting amongst obese, overweight and normal weight subjects- A narrative review of human and animal evidence. Behav Sci. 2017;7(1).
  8. Brown JE, Mosley M, Aldred S. Intermittent fasting: a dietary intervention for prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Br J Diabetes Vasc Dis. 2013;13(2):68-72.