Intermittent fasting, also known as the 5:2 diet, has become a popular method for weight loss. But did you know it has some other impressive health benefits too?
The 5:2 diet, popularised by British GP, Michael Moseley, involves cutting down calorie intake for 2 days of the week (fast days) and eating normally the other 5 days. On the fast days, calories are reduced to a quarter of the daily recommended intake. This is roughly 500 calories for women and 600 calories for men. This can be tweaked further based on an individual’s BMI and daily calorie requirements, however this doesn’t tend to be necessary as most people see results from sticking to the calorie guidelines.
Now, such a low calorie day can seem quite daunting when starting out. The trick is to plan ahead and know exactly what you’re going to eat on your fast days. Also, Dr Michael Mosley recommends fasting on busy days so that you don’t have time to daydream about food.
The key to success is to keep your food intake nutritious and avoid the empty calories from high sugar foods. Eating too many carbs will take up a lot of calories and leave you feeling famished. Focus on including vegetables, salads and good quality protein (lean meat, fish, eggs or tofu). Incorporate herbs and spices for flavour. Soups are great because they help keep you feeling full for longer. Miso soup is particularly low calorie and high in protein, but always go for organic Miso Soup where possible.
Once you’ve achieved your weight goal, Dr Mosley recommends fasting only one day per week as maintenance. Research suggests that a 6:1 fasting protocol will help keep the weight off whilst still retaining the other benefits of intermittent fasting.
Fasting intermittently means that your body goes into repair mode instead of starvation mode. The benefits include initiating hormonal changes that make stored body fat more accessible. It is beneficial to heart health, including cholesterol, blood pressure as well as blood sugar levels.
Studies show that intermittent fasting can reduce oxidative damage and inflammation in the body, which if left unchecked can lead to premature ageing and many chronic diseases.
It’s not for everyone! This diet is not suitable for pregnant women, diabetics, children and those who are unwell or are on certain medications.
Yours in natural health,
Always consult your healthcare professional before commencing a new dietary or exercise regime, before using any supplements and before making any changes to prescribed medications.