What is the 5:2 fasting diet?

Intermittent fasting has been a hot topic for years, with some people swearing by them for weight loss and overall health. While there are different forms of intermittent fasting, one is of particular interest: the 5:2 fasting diet.

The 5:2 fasting diet is “based on cell biologist Valter Longo’s research on rats and yeast,” explains Gina Keatley, a certified dietitian and dietitian practicing in New York City. Longo has conducted multiple studies on this eating plan and found a link between 5:2 fasting and a range of health benefits (more on this later).

But what is the 5:2 fasting diet and how does it work? Here’s what you need to know.

What is the 5:2 fasting diet?

The 5:2 fasting diet is a form of intermittent fasting where you fast for two days and eat normally for five days, explains Sonya Angelone, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. On fasting days, you don’t have to live on water and air—your calorie intake is very limited, she says.

“Women are limited to 500 calories per day and men are limited to 600 calories per day,” Angelone said. Beyond that, you make the rules. “Officially it doesn’t matter which two days you fast, but the idea is that you want to have a non-fasting day in between,” says RD author Jessica Cording Game-changing little book. “Fasting for two days in a row is not recommended.”

As an example: you can fast 500 calories on Monday and Thursday, then eat normally on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

What can you eat on a 5:2 fasting diet?

It’s generally recommended that you eat a Mediterranean-style diet on non-fasting days, says RD author Keri Gans Small changes to diet. But not everyone really does that”It seems like a lot of people just eat whatever they want,” Gans said.

Cording recommends focusing on nutrient-dense foods and healthy fats, such as avocados, nuts and seeds, and a variety of protein sources, such as fish and lean meats. “If you eat 500 calories on a fasting day, but it’s from Sour Patch Kids, you’re going to have a very different experience than someone who eats avocados and healthy fats,” she says.

Can you lose weight with a 5:2 fasting diet?

The 5:2 fasting diet can lead to weight loss, but it really depends on what you eat on non-fasting days, Cording says. If you burn more calories than you eat overall, you’ll lose weight, she says. But if you end up overeating on non-fasting days, you won’t.

“When people stop fasting diets like this, their weight also tends to bounce back,” Cording said.

5:2 What are the pros and cons of fasting diets?

There are some animal studies showing the health benefits of a 5:2 fasting diet. “In animal and yeast cell studies, lifespan is extended and cancer is reduced,” Keatley noted. People can also get more “control” about their diet by “making a plan,” she said.

“The diet is easy to follow, and you don’t have to measure portion sizes or count calories, which can be cumbersome,” Angelone says. “Fast days are flexible in terms of what and when you can eat. Also, most foods are acceptable on the 5:2 diet [and] You can choose the days of fasting. “

Gans points out that if you are able to eat normally on non-fasting days, you should lose weight. “If you do it accurately, you’re going to restrict calories and end up losing weight,” she says.

But there are downsides to this diet. A major problem is that you have to severely restrict calories on certain days. “On fasting days, you’re likely to feel tired, hungry, irritable, and weak due to a lack of adequate calories,” Gans says.

Eating 500 to 600 calories a day is also “very difficult,” Angelone said. And, since you can technically eat what you want on non-fasting days, you’re not guaranteed to lose weight, she says.

Cording warns that people with a history of eating disorders should not try the 5:2 fasting diet. “It could be a slippery slope,” she said.

Overall, nutrition experts don’t necessarily accept the idea of ​​a 5:2 diet. “Low-calorie days are very strict and hard to follow,” Angelon said.

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