Does 5 2 diet really work or is it just another fad diet? Read on to find out as we delve into this subject matter in-depth.
There are thousands of different diets out there with each one claiming to be the best way to help you lose weight. But unfortunately most of these claims turn out to empty promises.
This leads to a lot of folks getting their hopes of losing weight using these diets dashed over and over again.
Having said that, a few of these diets have also been found effective at helping people lose weight.
So is the 5:2 diet among the few that works or is it one of the “fads”? Keep reading…!
What is the 5 2 Diet?
The 5:2 diet is an intermittent fast plan designed to simulate the way food was available to our ancestors.
They were far more likely to go hungry periodically and eat larger meals when food was available than they were to consume the same amount every day.
Studies have shown that calorie restriction might be a way to help people live longer and healthier lives, along with potentially losing weight.
This specific form of intermittent fasting is designed to prevent starvation by allowing a small amount of food even on “fasting” days.
Men get about 600 calories and women receive about 500, to account for differences in metabolism between the sexes.
This keeps your body from shutting down completely while still providing the benefits of occasional calorie restriction.
The 5:2 diet recommends eating normally for five days every week, then fasting for just two.
It’s important not to plan these two days over a weekend or without a normal eating day between them. Otherwise, you can choose to fast at any time that’s convenient to you.
Some people choose to schedule their fasts during busy workdays, when they don’t normally have a lot of time to eat. Others prefer to eat less on days where they don’t need to get much done.
No matter who you are or when you decide to fast, however, you might encounter one common problem on the 5:2 diet.
About 90 percent of people report problems controlling their hunger while fasting, and around three quarters of 5:2 dieters experience problems with their energy levels.
Solving this issue is an important part of making the 5:2 diet work for you.
How Does 5 2 Diet Work?
If you want to be sure that your intermittent fasting program will be effective, it’s important to understand how it’s supposed to work.
The idea behind the 5:2 diet and most other intermittent fasts is controlling your hormonal impulses.
Eating the same amount and the same kinds of foods day after day produces very even hormone levels. But that might not be how the human body functions best.
After all, our distant ancestors were accustomed to dealing with periodic deprivation.
When you change the way you eat, you also change the way your body reacts to food.
Regular meals, especially those composed mostly of carbohydrates, mean consistent blood glucose levels.
Fasting allows your body to use up the extra glucose and begin converting stored glycogen into energy instead.
Eventually, you run out of the stored glycogen and your body begins to use fat instead. Thus producing ketone bodies to fuel your brain.
Intermittent fasting also changes your hormone levels. One, called insulin-like growth factor 1, which is similar to insulin, reaches very low levels during fasting.
High levels of both this hormone and insulin have been linked to diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cancer.
The effects of a fast are greatest when the fast goes on for several days, but this can be hard on your system.
After all, you do need plenty of energy to keep going day after day. That’s why some doctors believe that short term fasts work best.
A total fast for only two days has been shown to stunt the growth of lab animals, but fasting for just a short period allowed them to live normally.
Does 5 2 Diet really Work? The Science Behind Cravings
Despite all the potential benefits of intermittent fasting plans like the 5:2 diet, it can be hard to stick with it.
Your body is designed to encourage you to eat. After all, in times gone by, starving to death was a real risk!
These days, that’s a lot harder to do, but we haven’t managed to change our bodies’ internal mechanisms. They’re still trying to keep us alive through a famine that’s not going to happen.
That’s why you might experience strong cravings for food on your fast days.
If you’d been on an intermittent fasting diet for more than a week or so, you’ve probably even noticed that these cravings are for the most calorie-rich foods possible.
Almost no one ever craves carrot sticks and celery. Instead, you’re a lot more likely to find yourself reaching for meat, cheese, chocolate cake and candy.
This is your body’s way of trying to fight you. It’s getting ready for a period of no food, so it wants you to eat up and build those fat reserves. That’s the opposite of what you’re trying to do.
So Does 5 2 Diet Really Work for Weight Loss?
5:2 diet can work to help you lose weight. But the problem with this diet plan and others for that matter is in following the program correctly and consistently.
Truth be told living on 500-600 calories a day for two consecutive days is not is not as easy as a lot of people may think. However, you can reduce the hunger pangs on these fasting days by using a good appetite suppressant.
Even if you manage to survive those two days, there is the tendency to try to make up for the shortfall the next day. This can lead to overeating in the days after the fasting, thereby negating the benefits of the fast.
The truth is no diet program is easy to follow, that is why there is always a high failure rate with these programs.
I believe that you can still lose weight without following any fancy program. Just eat healthy foods (and mindfully) and add some moderate exercise to your routine and you are good to go. The pounds may not come off overnight, but with consistency, you will surely reach your weight loss goal.