About the 5 and 2 Fasting Diet
The 5:2 fast diet is a runaway hit in Britain and now it’s working away across the pond faster than Downton Abbey. The Brits are losing weight like mad on the 5:2 diet and getting healthier in the process…
What is the 5:2 diet?
(also called intermittent fasting or alternate day fasting)
The 5:2 diet is very simple: eat normally for 5 days a week and fast for 2 days a week. But don’t worry, you still get to eat on the two fasting days, just not very much (500 calories for women and 600 calories for men). At 500 calories for fasting days, you’re eating about one quarter of what you’d normally eat. Drinking lots of water and green tea helps with hunger pangs. Pigging out on your days off isn’t recommended, but most people find they’re not as hungry as they thought they would be.
You can choose any day of the week to fast, but you don’t fast two days in a row. If you start your day with the intention of fasting, but something comes up, no problem. Just move your fasting day to a different day. The 5:2 diet doesn’t involve shakes, pills, recipes or complicated calculations. And the diet works for people already on other diets like vegetarians, vegans, gluten free or Paleo. The 5:2 fasting diet is very very simple. And it really really works, if you really stick to it.
Fasting for Weight Loss
The 5:2 diet is a no brainer for weight loss. Reducing calorie intake goes back to basics, but the effects of fasting on the body are greater than just an overall everyday calorie reduction. Your doctor may say otherwise, but fasting is actually a very healthy way to lose weight. And don’t listen to the naysayers on the internet: fasting does not lower your metabolism or cause you to gain all the weight back when you’re done. Two days of non consecutive fasting does not trigger the feast famine response everyone talks about online. In fact, fasting boosts your metabolism into high gear by switching your repair gene’s into the ‘on’ position instead of the ‘grow’ position.
The Health Benefits of Fasting
Lower levels of IGF-1 is the biggest benefit of fasting (Insulin Like Growth Factor). Higher levels of IGF-1 lead to all the killer diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Lower levels of IGF-1 put the body into repair mode instead of grow mode. When you’re constantly eating, your body gets the message “grow”. When you’re not eating, the body gets the message ‘repair’. IGF-1 slows down the aging process.
The link between fasting and longevity is IGF-1. The more you have of IGF, the more active your cells are. When your cells are active, they don’t have time to repair when the message is go, go, go. Higher levels of IGF in later life lead to accelerated aging. With lower levels of IGF-1 from fasting, the body switches from growth mode to repair mode.
Not all fasting research takes place in a laboratory. Fasting is a part of almost every religion; people who practise Ramadan are fasting researchers’ favourite subjects. Even if you’re not a holy man meditating on a mountain, fasting is still an option for everyday people. Fasting makes you feel lighter, cleaner and puts you in touch with your own body. More than half of hunger is a mental state. We don’t need to eat all the time!
The Origin of the 5 and 2 fasting diet
Dr. Michael Mosely accidentally invented the 5:2 diet with his well received BBC documentary Eat Fast Live Longer. His research into fasting started with a wake up call from Mosely’s own doctor. At 53, Mosely’s cholesterol was sky high and his fasting glucose levels were diabetic. Moseley’s doc said if he didn’t do something about it, Mosely would end up like every other American over the age of 60, on 10 different medications treating ultimately fatal diseases. Mosely started to research fasting and that led him to discover some pretty amazing studies being conducted. Researchers find that drastic calorie restrictions decrease cancer risk, increase life expectancy and improve brain functions. Brain cells actually regenerate at a faster rate when the body is fasting.
Using himself as a human guinea pig, Mosely’s trial of the 5:2 diet bore fruit. He lost 20 pounds, 8 percent body fat, reduced his blood glucose to normal and lowered his cholesterol to normal levels.