The 5:2 diet originated in the United Kingdom in the 2010s and was popularized by Micheal Mosley, a medical journalist. As a form of intermittent fasting, the diet involves restricting calories for two days of the week. Followers of the plan can eat what they like for the remaining five days, and there is no need to restrict or monitor calories on these days. The plan allows an unlimited choice of foods and drinks on all days of the plan, so patients are in complete control of what they eat and can choose foods they enjoy.
Many individuals will consider the 5:2 diet when they are searching for the best fasting diet for weight loss. Of course, there are a few ways to adapt this diet, including engaging in clean fasting as well as keto fasting. Patients should always check with their doctor before beginning any fasting diet for weight loss to ensure they can complete the program safely. They also need to understand intermittent fasting, including the 5:2 diet, before they begin.
Intermittent Fasting Basics
Intermittent fasting involves fasting for a short and specific period. Some of the most popular methods involve confining eating times to a set number of hours per day. For example, patients may choose to fast for sixteen hours of the day and consume all of their food within an eight-hour timeframe. This method is often used by individuals who are new to intermittent fasting. As individuals become more comfortable with this eating method, they may decide to have a smaller eating window. Common approaches ask the patient to consume all of their meals within six hours while fasting for eighteen hours. Some patients choose to allow themselves a four-hour eating window with a twenty-hour fast.
During the eating window, the patient eats all of their meals as normal. This means that there is no requirement to count calories or change their regular diet in any way. Instead, the patient eats as they normally would, though they must do so within a set number of hours. Many patients start by fasting overnight and eating breakfast a few hours later to make their fasting hours easier to handle. They can then restrict their eating window more after adjusting to this. Patients are typically advised to consume no food during the fasting periods. However, they are allowed to drink unlimited water, herbal tea, and other calorie-free beverages. An advanced variation of intermittent fasting involves a total fast (with no food) for twenty-four hours on two or three days of the week. The patient follows their normal eating pattern on the remaining days.
Get familiar with how the 5:2 diet plays into this next.