Wednesday, 18 January 2017 03:05

5:2 Intermittent Fasting

The fast diet is based on the theory that animals, including humans evolved in environments where food was often scarce developing adaptations that enabled them to function at a high level both physically and cognitively when in a food deprived “fasted” state.

Recently there has been an increased interest in the concept of intermittent fasting and the possible beneficial effects on health and prevention of the progression of disease. We know that overconsumption of food is linked to many metabolic diseases (insulin resistance, excessive visceral fat, dyslipidaemia, etc.) particularly when accompanied with a sedentary lifestyle. Recent studies have shown positive health benefits of intermittent fasting (60% energy restriction 2 days per week) including weight loss and improvements in health indicators such as insulin resistance, blood pressure, blood lipid levels and risk factors for cardiovascular disease.



The Pros:

-          The fast diet is flexible and you are able to choose the 2 fasting days during your week that will suit you and won’t interfere with your social life / schedule.

-          It is a non-restrictive diet and there are no banned foods or avoidance of any particular food groups which reduces the risk of nutritional deficiencies and prevents the formation of negative views and relationships with food.

-          You’re able to choose how you split up the calories on your fasting days. While some prefer to fast until lunch time and split the calories over two meals, others prefer having 3 low calorie meals per day.

-          It can be easier to comply when it’s only 2 days over the week that require restriction and calorie counting.

-          Less feelings of deprivation than when following a calorie controlled 7 day diet, you’re able to have small treats without feelings of guilt.

-          You’re less likely to switch into “starvation mode” or negatively impact your metabolic rate as is the case with some drastic calorie restriction / fad diets.


The Cons:

-          If you over eat on non-fasting days to compensate for restrictions on the fasting days it won’t be effective for weight loss.

-          Regular consumption of energy dense, nutrient poor foods on the non fasting days will prevent weight loss.

-          You may feel lethargic / lack concentration on fasting days which may impact on your ability to work / exercise.

-          The fast diet is not suitable for everyone – pregnant woman, type 1 diabetics (on insulin), children, or those with eating disorders are advised against intermittent fasting.


The Bottom Line:

The fast diet is not for everyone but if you have struggled with weight loss in the past and are looking for a less restrictive approach that won’t interfere with your social life or negatively impact your nutritional status then it may work for you. Before making the decision to start a new diet plan it’s advised that you speak with a dietitian to discuss your suitability and to help get you started. To make an appointment with one of our Accredited Practicing Dietitians, please call us on 8244 0450 or book online.



Mattson, M.P., Longo, V.D. and Harvie, M., 2016. Impact of intermittent fasting on health and disease processes. Ageing Research Reviews.