I love a crazy diet, and the 5:2 Diet seems to fit that bill. Probably more for food obsessesers than those with a balanced approach to eating, this diet is perfect for you if you like a bit of self-flagellation and are down for a quick(ish) fix. But will it help you lose weight? Is it safe?
What is the 5:2 diet?
It’s pretty simple, really. You eat ‘normally’ for 5 days and fast for 2 days. A ‘fast’ day is about 500 calories for women, and about 600 calories for men, ideally spread across just 1 or 2 meals that day. On the ‘normal’ days, you can supposedly eat ‘whatever you want’ but you’re told to keep within moderation and to eat consciously.
You’ll be, “restricting your calorie consumption to 25% of your energy (calorie) needs. This means you’re consuming less calories – so you will lose weight,” according to the official site.
Who should try the 5:2 diet?
Well, the theory is anyone. Because you’re not restricting any particular kind of food, you should be OK. This would be a bad diet plan to do if you suffered from diabetes, low blood sugar, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. “Children or teenagers, or those who suffer from a chronic illness, (should) check with your GP to ensure this diet is OK for you,” according to Body + Soul.
How much weight can you lose on the 5:2 diet?
Well, about a pound a week (or half a kilo). Meh – that doesn’t sound massively impressive to me. “Your initial weight loss was mostly water weight. The weight loss will not be ‘constant’. You will lose a couple of pounds, not lose for a week or two, and then lose again,” says The Fast Diet website.
One of the dieters on that site, Emily Ashen, says, “I have been losing about a pound a week. However, before 5:2, I hadn’t been able to lose anything and had been slowly gaining for 4 years, so I’m excited for the scales to be moving down.” Good on her, I say!
Is the 5:2 diet safe?
Ummm, yeah…mostly. The official website says that you’ll enjoy a “health bonus”, that is intermittent fasting. The idea is that you’ll “help your body repair its cells, which may help prevent diseases including heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, type 2 diabetes and cancer.”
Other experts suggest that, “Many people also report improved results in health tests like blood pressure and cholesterol testing, alongside significant, and sustainable, weight loss.” But could it affect your periods? Glamour says, yep. “Studies conducted on animals are scarier still, with biotechnologists in India finding decreases in ovary size, irregular menstrual cycles and infertility, all due to intermittent fasting.”
What can you eat on the 5:2 diet?
Whatever you like – it’s purely about calorie control. Fat, meat, oil, butter, ice cream – you name it – you can eat it. The only thing to do is to stay under 500-ish calories (or 600-ish if you’re a man – check this calculator for exact results). I have fasted lots on the past – once fasting on nothing but water, herbal tea and spoons of honey for 5 whole days – and I can tell you that 500 calories is not a lot.
What are some other crazy diets I could try?
Go ahead, diet all you like, but don’t say that I told you too. I am not a nutritionist, but I have studied widely on the subject and experimented on myself. I am also in relatively good health – if you suffer from any conditions, even mental health conditions, I wouldn’t recommend doing anything as drastic as this.
- Cabbage Soup Diet
- Eating Cotton Balls
- Eating Only Grapefruit
- Wearing Corsets
- The Mars Bar Diet
- Eating Only Celery
- Valley of The Dolls Diet
Tried any new, cool, crazy diets lately? Did they work without making your hair fall out? Tell me below!