The 5:2 Diet
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The 5:2 Diet

The 5:2 Diet is an intermittent fasting diet, which supposedly lets you eat whatever you want five days a week. However, it may not be a sustainable diet for everyone and might encourage bad eating behaviours.

There are many different diets that claim to promote fat loss and may help you to achieve your weight loss goals. One of the newest diets, which seems to be growing in popularity, is the 5:2 Diet. It is supposedly a new approach to dieting, which is reported as easy to follow and apparently allows you to still enjoy your favourite foods. But, just how effective is the 5:2 Diet for losing weight? It is important to examine what the 5:2 Diet is, how it may aid weight loss, any associated clinical studies and if there are any side effects in order to come to a conclusion on how effective the 5:2 Diet might be for weight loss.

What is the 5:2 Diet?


The 5:2 Diet is a form of intermittent fasting that claims to benefit your health and may help you to lose weight. It is thought to be an easy to follow diet that consists of fasting on two days and eating normally on the other five days in the week. On the two fasting days, it is recommended that women eat only 500 calories and men only 600 calories. It is supposedly your choice whether you consume those calories in one meal or spread them out throughout the day.

This calorie guideline is believed to have come from the concept of eating 25% of your recommended calorie intake; 2000 calories for women and 2400 calories for men. It is claimed that by doing this, it can help you to lose weight without restricting calories or what you eat every day. It is also believed that the 5:2 Diet may have other benefits for your health. It is said that it might improve insulin sensitivity, which is supposedly good for reducing the risk of diabetes. It is also claimed to have other health benefits, such as the potential to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol and might even increase your life span.

How does the 5:2 Diet aid Weight Loss?


By following the 5:2 Diet, it is claimed that you may be able to lose a minimum of one pound per week. Supposedly, by only eating a quarter of your recommended daily calorie intake for two days, your body will start to burn off existing fat stores for energy. Intermittent fasting has been found to decrease body weight and percentage of body fat, which may help you to get into shape. As it is marketed as only fasting two days per week, it is thought to make weight loss more achievable for those that might not be able to stick to a consistently low calorie diet.

However, there are concerns that the 5:2 Diet may have negative effects for our bodies. It is thought that drastically cutting calories might send your body into ‘starvation mode’, which is supposedly when the body starts to store food as fat. Also, it is believed that cutting calories may slow down your metabolism, which might make it harder to lose weight. But, there are no studies to back up these concerns for intermittent fasting. It is thought that by only fasting twice per week and eating normally on the other five, this might avoid these negative effects. It is even thought that intermittent fasting may help to preserve muscle whilst losing fat.

Although the 5:2 Diet is supposedly easy to follow and allows you to only calorie count on fasting days, it may not be as easy for everyone to stick to. It is thought that you may feel very hunger and less energetic on fasting days, especially when you first start. This might impact on your daily activities, which could affect your work or other tasks. This may even affect your ability to exercise, which is thought to be important for maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle. Thus, the 5:2 Diet might not be a sustainable diet for everyone.

Another concern with the 5:2 Diet is that it might encourage or lead to bad eating behaviours, such as potentially binging on non-fasting days. As it is advertised as a diet that lets you eat want you want five days a week, you may be more likely to make bad food choices. This might jeopardise your weight loss goals.

Therefore, the 5:2 Diet may be a different approach to dieting that some people might find easier to follow. It is supposedly linked to a reduction in body weight and percentage of body fat, whilst apparently maintaining muscle. However, it may not be a sustainable diet for everyone. You may have to think about your activities on fasting days, which might not be convenient. It may be best to incorporate healthy foods into your diet and get regular exercise, in an attempt to achieve your weight loss goals and improve your health.

Clinical Studies on the 5:2 Diet

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There are clinical studies available that examine the 5:2 Diet and intermittent fasting. They suggest that it may be a suitable diet for achieving your weight loss goals. One study found that women following a 5:2 diet experienced similar weight loss results as those that followed a calorie restricted diet for 7 days. This may mean you can achieve the same results from only watching your calories two days a week. This might be more realistic diet for some people to stick to. Indeed, another study found that there was greater compliance with the intermittent fasting diet, especially with those that were overweight. This suggests that the 5:2 Diet may be a more effective way to lose weight that other traditional approaches, such as consistent calorie restriction. It has also been found that intermittent fasting may be better for the retention of lean muscle mass.

However, one study found that although fasting and dietary restriction might increase fat oxidation, the hunger on fasting days did not decrease. They thought that this might indicate the unlikelihood of sustaining this diet for extended periods of time. Although, this was a study based on fasting for long period of time without any food, but it is important to take into consideration. It may suggest that the 5:2 Diet is only a temporary weight loss diet.

Another study reviewed several publications and suggested that while intermittent fasting was a valid way to lose weight, it might not be a superior diet. They thought that it did not improve weight loss efficiency. But, it was accepted that the reviewed publications were not assessing that outcome. There may be a need for more long-term studies on the effect of the 5:2 Diet and to test how sustainable a diet it is.

Side effects associated with the 5:2 Diet

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It is thought that the 5:2 Diet is safe for most people to follow, but it might not be suitable for everyone. It is believed that intermittent fasting may not be suitable for women that are pregnant or breastfeeding, those that have diabetes or anyone who has a history of eating disorders. Also, it is not recommended for those that are under 18 years old. If you are feeling unwell, it may be best not to fast during this time and if you are taking certain medications, such as warfarin, it might be best to consult your doctor before trying out the 5:2 Diet.

Not many studies have been carried out to look for side effects of the 5:2 Diet. However, it is thought that you may feel very hungry and less energetic, especially when you first start. Other possible side effects may include bad breath, irritability, anxiety or daytime sleepiness. Also, you may experience headaches, constipation or dehydration, which might result from not drinking enough water during fast days.


In conclusion, the 5:2 Diet seems to be a new approach to dieting, which might help you to achieve your weight loss goals. It is thought to be an easy to follow diet, which means you can supposedly eat normally for most of the week. Studies have linked intermittent fasting to a decrease in body fat percentage, whilst also supposedly maintaining muscle. But, it may not be suitable for everyone and might only be a temporary diet. It may be hard to stick to due to its side effects and there is the possibility of overeating on non-fasting days, which could jeopardise weight loss goals.

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