Intermittent fasting (IF) is the latest diet trend followed by millions of people around the world. Fitness enthusiasts, people trying to lose weight, and people with prediabetes love IF. In my opinion, the craze for this diet may be due to its unconventional nature.
Instead of wondering what you should eat, this way of eating guides you to focus on when you should eat your food. The 5: 2 diet is a type of IF that involves eating normally five days a week without thinking about calories and consuming no more than 500-600 calories on the remaining two days. It’s a more lifestyle-oriented, less restrictive, and easier to follow the FI model. Much research has shown the potential benefits of the 5: 2 diet for weight loss and optimal metabolic health.
Despite this, not everyone can follow this diet, and those who adopt this diet should understand that a nutritious and complete diet is essential, even if intermittent fasting does not require it.
Weight Loss, Metabolic Syndromes, and the 5: 2 Diet
A scientific 5: 2 IF is effective for sustained weight loss. In a 2021 randomized controlled trial in London, 18% of participants lost weight on the 5: 2 diet, compared to 15% on a conventional weight-control diet. Additionally, when asked to rate each of the interventions, participants in the 5: 2 diet group were more likely to recommend the intervention to others or to be willing to continue the diet.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the 5: 2 diet is as effective as classic calorie restriction, which involves consuming 20% fewer calories than what you burn each day.
The 5: 2 diet may provide women with greater flexibility and choice when it comes to weight loss or managing gestational diabetes, as researchers at the University of South Australia recently reported.
The University of Illinois Chicago study found that dieters who followed the 4: 3 protocol (similar to the 5: 2 diet) lost an average of 5 kg without losing muscle mass, compared to a control group that did not follow a diet. In addition, they reduced their triglyceride levels by 20%, their leptin level by 40%, and their CRP level, a key indicator of inflammation.
What to eat on a 5: 2 diet?
On days when you are consuming 500-600 calories, you should plan your diet accordingly. Make sure you choose foods that are low in calories and filling. Some of the best choices include cauliflower rice, plain yogurt or curd, green leafy vegetables, low-sugar fruits, legumes, lean meats, poultry, eggs, and protein. made from dairy products like paneer, the protein made from soybeans like tofu. Low-starch vegetables like cucumber, mushrooms, squash, pumpkin, and green beans are great staples on fast days. Include healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, and oily fish in your diet for a steady flow of energy. You can incorporate a variety of foods at once without putting a lot of effort into cooking with soups and salads. Avoid refined carbohydrates, sugar, and sugary drinks, which will raise your blood sugar and leave you hungry very quickly. Being hungry can affect your mood.
You can eat when you want. Some people prefer to eat several small meals throughout the day, while others prefer to eat one large meal.
What to drink on a 5: 2 diet?
You don’t have to follow specific guidelines for drinking during the five days. You should, however, be careful to drink unsweetened liquids on fasting days. To avoid going over 500 calories, drink plain water, cucumber or fruit infused water, coconut water, black coffee, or green tea.
Incorporating this eating pattern into your lifestyle increases the likelihood that you will stick to it.
It’s important to eat protein, fiber, and healthy fats throughout your fasting days to ensure optimal nutrition.
In a nutshell – If done right, the 5: 2 feeding pattern is convenient, flexible, and brings multiple health benefits. There are some drawbacks to the diet as well, such as: you can eat more than 500 calories if you don’t calculate correctly, you may be hungry if you eat too few calories or eat foods high in refined carbohydrates on fast days.
It is important to consult a nutritional professional when planning your meal. While timing is the key to determining the success of this diet, what you eat is also important. Remember, you can never get over a bad diet.