What Is The 5:2 Diet?

September 23, 2014

Would you ever restrict your diet to just 25% of your recommended daily intake, all in the name of losing a bit of weight? The 5:2 diet is causing a stir in the dieting world, since the outrageous guideline limits the average person to just 500 calories a day. We weigh up both the good and bad aspects of this eating plan, which has also been dubbed as the fast diet.

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How to do the diet

The diet itself is pretty simple – five days of normal eating and two days of sticking to a strict calorie-quota. Most people compare this logic to having cheat days (over the weekend), which usually involves indulging in sweets, carbohydrates and even alcohol. Over the two days of calorie-controlled meals, this works out to be approximately 600 calories for men and 500 calories a day for women.

Does it work?

If you do follow the main principles of the diet, you could be dropping a dress size or two in just a few weeks. Since you’re only watching what you eat 2 days a week, it makes it quite easy to stick to – regardless of how long you wish to adapt this diet into your lifestyle. The diet was designed to create better eating habits, control fluctuating weight problems, and works around any special dietary requirements.

Fasting can’t be good for the body? Can it?

Creator of the 5:2 diet, Dr Michael Mosley suggests that intermittent fasting actually has a number of health and psychological benefits, one of which teaches the importance of self control. On the two days which require fasting, you really have to listen to your body and feed it only when it’s actually hungry. It also makes you realise how much you take food for granted the other five days of the week, and will eventually help to break any bad eating habits.

How do I start?

The great part about the 5:2 diet is that you can start almost straight away, since the first five days are all about normal or indulgent eating. Once it’s time to start restricting your calorie intake, it’s best to eat foods which will keep you alert and energised throughout the day. They should often include protein, fruits, vegetables and red meat which will also keep you fuller for longer. Incorporate some light exercise on the side such as jogging, swimming or even walking the dog which will keep your body looking and feeling it’s best.

Warning signs

Many dieticians such as Kate di Prima are against the practice of the 5:2 diet, since it will dramatically decrease the amount of calories you are subjected to for two entire days. Many people don’t actually understand how little 500 calories can be, especially if you’ve been indulging for the past five days. Meals are often extremely restricted and you will end up feeling tired, sluggish and weak during the two days of controlled portions.

A regular 500 calorie meal will usually consist of:


2 Rye Ryvitas

2 teaspoon Vegemite


Chicken, potato and leek soup

Sun-Maid mini box


Chicken tikka masala


Sweet and Salty Skinny popcorn

The 5:2 diet does offer amazing results in terms of weight loss, but only if you can stick to the strict calorie intake for 2 days of the week. Have you tried the 5:2 diet before? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Image and Meal plan via Woman Magazine, Metro

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