Di­ets ex­plained – The 5:2 Diet

QT Magazine - - HEALTH -

THIS diet isn’t so much a diet but a life­style choice you make that many peo­ple swear by. The premise is sim­ple. For five days you eat what­ever you like, and for two days a week you fast, eat­ing foods very low in calo­ries. Of course, “eat what­ever you like” doesn’t mean five Big Macs for break­fast, ev­ery­thing within rea­son and all that.

While the prac­tice of fast­ing has been around since cave­men roamed the Earth, tests un­cov­er­ing the ben­e­fits weren’t car­ried out un­til the 1940s. The diet be­came pop­u­lar in 2013 when doc­tor and BBC jour­nal­ist Michael Mosely ap­peared in a doc­u­men­tary called Eat Fast and Live Longer.

This diet is more of an eat­ing pat­tern than a diet. There are no re­quire­ments about which foods to eat, but rather when you should eat them. For five days a week, you eat nor­mally and don’t have to think about re­strict­ing calo­ries. Then, on the other two days, you re­duce your calo­rie in­take to a quar­ter of your daily needs – about 500 calo­ries a day for women and 600 for men. Here are a few ex­am­ples of foods that may be suit­able for fast days:

● A gen­er­ous por­tion of veg­eta­bles

● Nat­u­ral yo­ghurt with berries

● Boiled or baked eggs

● Grilled fish or lean meat

● Cau­li­flower rice

● Soups (for ex­am­ple miso, tomato, cau­li­flower or veg­etable)

● Low-calo­rie cup soups

● Black cof­fee or tea.

Some may find it easy to fast, oth­ers will strug­gle, so ex­per­i­ment and see what works for you. On fast­ing days, some re­port poor con­cen­tra­tion and headaches. Main­tain­ing hy­dra­tion is important, so drink lots of wa­ter.

Avoid fast­ing on two con­sec­u­tive days – for ex­am­ple, fast on Mon­day and Thurs­day. This helps pre­vent tired­ness and you can also en­joy your week­ends.

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