What is the 5:2 Diet?
Intermittent fasting is a diet strategy that has been the talk of the health scene for a while now. It involves limiting all meals to certain hours of the day, generally an 8-hour spread such as from 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M., and not eating for the rest of the day. This diet strategy has shown promising weight-loss results as well as health benefits from lower bad-cholesterol levels and increased heart health. However, limiting your eating hours every day can be challenging and might initially mean some hunger as you adjust. Recently, a new form of intermittent fasting has garnered attention because it is, in theory, easier than limiting your food intake every day. Meet the 5:2 diet.
The 5:2 diet is a new diet form in which, for five days a week, you can eat normally. Of course, we aren’t talking about eating fast food and pizza for every meal, but you do not have to count your calories as long as you are following general nutritional common sense like avoiding processed foods and eating lots of fruits and veggies. On the other two days of the week, however, you would limit your caloric intake to about half of what you normally eat on a regular day, about 500-700 calories. On those days, you have to carefully track calories while still paying close attention to meeting your nutritional needs. The idea is that if you eat many small meals throughout the day, you shouldn’t go hungry despite the smaller amount of food. These fasting days are also not meant to be placed back-to-back so that you have at least one day of regular eating between your restricted days.
The benefits of this diet is that it does not require a huge lifestyle change on most days of the week; you really only have to pay attention to your calories for two days of the week which gives you freedom to live life more freely most of the time. The 5:2 diet is also showing most of the same benefits of other forms of intermittent fasting including weight loss and an increase in heart health. It’s important to note, however, that there are some dangers involved in the 5:2 diet for certain individuals; people with diabetes, for instance, may not fare well on the two low-calorie days. If you choose to try out the 5:2 diet, make sure you are careful and purposeful about getting the nutrition your body needs, even on your restricted days.