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Guest womenshealthmag.com

9. Intermittent Fasting

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Guest womenshealthmag.com

9. Intermittent Fasting

The 5:2, essentially you eat what you want for five days. Fast for the other two. Sounds easy. But try telling that to someone after ‘lunch’ on a fast day. For women, fast days involve eating 500 calories (600 for men).

Typical meal: Fishcake served with asparagus and a poached egg

What the diet advocate says: Michael Mosley, the scientist behind 5:2, claims women will lose 1lb a week, as well as seeing reduced cholesterol levels, a lower blood pressure and insulin sensitivity.

What the expert says: ‘Over 50 years ago researchers realised they didn’t have to restrict energy every day and they still got a protective effect. In animals, these diets were shown to reduce visceral fat, oxidative stress and reduce cell proliferation, which is involved with the development of cancer. The models that were used in humans were two consecutive days of 650kcal then five days following a normal, healthy diet, versus a healthy med diet of 1500kcal.
This research found the weight loss was slightly greater in the group fasting for two days compared to the other group. It’s worth noting that the participants in these studies were given a huge amount of support, which wouldn’t happen if you were just picking up a book on the 5:2 diet. Overall, there isn’t actually much evidence and we need more data on the long-term success of these diets.’

Verdict: The jury’s still out on 5:2. And the danger is that if you literally eat anything you want on non-fast days, your daily diet could lack nutrition in favour of sugary treat-style foods. But with the research around IF stacking up, and more in the works, fasting is going nowhere, erm, fast.
 

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