5:2 diet

5:2 diet is a diet plan for weight loss. It is a form of intermittent fasting. There are two days of fasting with very limited calories intake. Most dieters wonder what to have on the two days of fasting. Here are some details on how to go about restricting calories on the fasting days of the diet.

5:2 diet plan

5:2 diet plan is a diet meant for people who are desirous to shed extra body fat. It is a type of intermittent fasting. In this, on the first 5 days of the diet plan, the dieter eats normally. But on the last two days of the diet plan, the dieter does calories restrictions. These two days are the fasting days when the dieter consumes only 500 or less calories in a day.

Since the amount of calories allowed on these two days is so small, it is best to spread out the calories intake over the day rather than concentrating it on a particular time of the day.

5:2 diet
5:2 diet (Source: Weight loss resources)

Also, over the week instead of the total of 2000×7=14000 calories, the dieter is consuming 2000×5+500×2=11000 calories. Hence the calories deficit in a week is 14000-11000=3000 calories.

Studies have shown that this diet can help lose weight. But it also lowers blood pressure, controls blood sugar, and also keeps a check on blood cholesterol levels. But these are all laboratory studies, No clinical studies have confirmed these findings.

Clinical Nutritionist, Mike Wakeman states:

“However, the most dramatic effects are seen in overweight individuals, and what contribution the actual weight loss makes to the overall effect is difficult to determine. So, yes, most studies identify it is safe and effective, but how much better it is than any other diet to improve important health parameters is difficult to ascertain.”

What to eat and when?

5:2 diet
5:2 diet (Source: Self)

There is no prohibited foods during the fasting days. But the amount of calories the foods provide in a day should be 500 calories or less. It is difficult but not impossible to achieve that goal and be able to feel satiated throughout the day with the limited intake. But experts say that if you plan ahead, it is easier. Additionally, one should keep oneself busy to avoid feeling hungry.

As regards when to eat, Mike says:

Researchers from the University of Alabama conducted a study(opens in new tab) looking at the effect of time of eating on the benefits of intermittent fasting. In the controlled eating scenario, all meals were fitted into an early eight-hour period of the day (7 am to 3 pm), or spread out over 12 hours (between 7 am and 7 pm).”

He continued:

“Although this regime had no different effect on weight loss compared to eating st normal times in the 5:2 diet, just changing the timing of meals by eating earlier in the day and extending the overnight fast, significantly benefited metabolism even in people who didn’t lose any weight at all. Moreover, the eight-hour group also had a significantly decreased appetite and weren’t as hungry.”

5:2 diet
5:2 diet (Source: News Medical)

Prefer low calories foods such as eggs, fish, vegetables, soups and lean meat. Have frequent small meals throughout the day. Mike feels that Mediterranean diet works best on fasting days. And furthermore, remain active in the day. One can have multivitamin pills on those days.

Also, read What is 5:2 intermittent fasting diet? Pros and cons!

Drink adequate water on those days. Other drinks permissable are herbal teas, black coffee, diet drinks, etc.