There are a wide variety of diets and eating regimens that allow you to meet certain objectives , from improving the quality of life, reducing body weight or even increasing muscle mass. 

In the following article we will talk about the 5:2 diet , what it is about, how it is done, its benefits and risks to take into account if you decide to carry out this type of eating plan. 

What is the 5:2 diet?

The name of the 5:2 diet originates from the type of food that is carried out within the regime. It consists of five days a week with a normal and balanced diet, and two days a week with a very low calorie diet and fasting.

Note: The two days of the week used for a consumption of 25 percent of normal calorie needs can be consecutive days or fasting on alternate days .

On the other hand, this diet is also known by the name of ” The two-day diet “ and was born in 2012 through a book with the same name. It was created by Dr. Michael Mosley and after several studies carried out with overweight volunteers, very good results were obtained , especially in the levels of cholesterol and sugar in the blood of individuals. (1)

How do you do the 5:2 diet?

There are certain parameters and factors that apply to the 5:2 diet , regardless of the two days of intermittent fasting and five days of normal eating. They will be mentioned and described below for your contemplation:

1. Foods that should be consumed

The diet has few restrictions, but contemplating that there are days where few calories should be consumed, the diet focuses on the integration of a diet of vegetables and proteins. However, fats, carbohydrates and dairy are also included. Therefore, below we detail what can be consumed in this diet:

  • Slow absorption and healthy carbohydrates such as vegetables and nuts .
  • Infusions (mint tea, chamomile, green tea , lemon balm).
  • Soups ( pumpkin cream, carrot cream, spinach cream).
  • Raw and cooked vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower , chard, eggplant, zucchini).
  • Good fats (nuts, seeds, avocados )

2. Foods to avoid

Although there are very few rules, there are certain elements that we must distinguish to reduce intake as much as possible . We mention them below:

  • Pasteurized fruit juices.
  • Complex carbohydrates.
  • Heavy dairy.
  • Refined sugar.
  • Processed foods and fizzy drinks.

What are the benefits of the 5:2 diet?

The application of this diet does not seem to be a sacrifice for individuals, since the time of restrictions is minimal. Therefore, this diet confers certain benefits to the organism of its consumers, which will be mentioned and described below.

1. Balance cholesterol 

A diet rich in foods of plant origin will always be a reason for lowering cholesterol levels or their balance. Therefore, the increase in the consumption of fruits, vegetables and legumes, in addition to the moderation of the intake of total fat, leads to obtaining this benefit. (two)

2. Regulates blood sugar levels

The inclusion of nuts and reduction of complex carbohydrates in the diet allows a reduction and balance in blood sugar levels. 

Notable: Added to that, an article done for Medicinal News Today talks about how intermittent fasting of the 5:2 diet and programmed diet greatly benefits patients with diabetes, even improving insulin sensitivity and insulin requirements in the organism. (3)

3. Helps burn fat and lose weight

A research article carried out in 2018 on the 5:2 diet showed that to some degree they cause weight loss, reaching from 2.5 to 9.9%, in addition to loss of fat mass. (4)

Note: Weight loss is a clear goal for people with health conditions and risk of cardiovascular disease , so a 5:2 diet with few restrictions and good results is a great alternative.

On the other hand, an intermittent restriction demonstrated higher quality of life style and better results than a continuous energy restriction. (5)

4. Reduces the risk of chronic diseases

As we mentioned before, the intermittent fasting of the 5:2 diet and a healthy diet controls the risk and unwanted imbalances that can compromise our health and body.

You should know: It is also important to highlight that carrying out a gradual and less aggressive or demanding process allows it to be more appealing to consumers and their objectives are achieved with greater success, thus reducing the possibility of developing cardiovascular and liver diseases, diabetes, among other. (6)

What are the risks of the 5:2 diet?

Like any diet, the 5:2 diet has certain risks in its application . They will be mentioned below for your knowledge, thus taking the necessary preventive measures:

1. Lack of energy and tiredness

The caloric, sugar and carbohydrate restriction required by the diet will cause fatigue and lack of energy as one of the main side effects . It is important to take this into account and that if it really becomes a chronic and constant symptomatology, seek medical assistance immediately .

2. Hypoglycemia

Among the existing warnings for the 5:2 diet is hypoglycemia , which is understood as a significant decrease in the normal amount of glucose present in the blood. 

Important: Hypoglycemia is due to an aggressive restriction of sugars, which can result in symptoms with the presence of headaches, dizziness, tremors and other symptoms.

3. Digestive disorders

The lack of fiber can be the main reason for the presence of digestive disorders, especially constipation. The deficiency of food to be processed, can produce modifications and conditions in the correct functioning of our digestive system, so it is important to take care of the proper eating behavior. (7)

4. Rebound effect

The rebound effect is produced by an alteration in the metabolism, and therefore the lost kilograms can be recovered. Not enough with this, it is important that individuals are responsible in complying with the diet and there are no binge eating after existing withdrawal on intermittent fasting days.

Note: The rebound effect is one of the risks most likely to occur when abandoning the habit of the eating regimen that is being fulfilled or carried out.

Key Findings

  • The 5:2 diet consists of a diet where during five days of the week you eat as usual, but healthy and during the remaining two days you must reduce calories on a large scale. 
  • It is also known as the two-day diet and was developed in 2012 with no idea of ​​how successful it would be.
  • It is a diet that confers a large number of benefits to the health of its consumers because it is a diet mainly of vegetables and proteins.
  • It allows the prevention of chronic diseases due to its ability to reduce cholesterol, blood sugar levels and lose weight.
  • It is important that the existing risks are considered and if any appear, seek medical supervision immediately.

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