Regular fasting or a 5: 2 diet plan is one of the more popular plans that allows people to eat what they want 5 days a week and limit calories for the remaining 2 days.
This plan prolongs the time between meals so that your body stops burning calories and then starts burning fat.
This type of diet not only helps you manage weight, but can prevent or even eliminate some diseases. Experts say that many people find occasional fasting more manageable and can stick to it longer than with a traditional diet.
While some people use fasting to lose weight, the biggest benefit is that occasional fasting seems to help stabilize insulin levels.
Fasting diet 5: 2
One of the better known diets with periodic fasting is the 5: 2 fasting plan.
Under this plan, eat what you want for 5 days each week, then limit the remaining 2 days to 500 calories.
In a recent study conducted at Queen Mary University in London, researchers said the results of a 5: 2 occasional fast are similar in effectiveness to a traditional diet.
However, they also found that people prefer to fast occasionally and tend to diet for longer periods of time.
The study included 300 obese adults – 100 received information on traditional diet, 100 received information on occasional fasting and 100 received information on occasional fasting along with 6-week support.
Researchers monitored participants for one year and observed weight loss. At the end of the study, they found:
- Fifteen percent of participants in the traditional diet group lost at least 5 percent of their body weight.
- Eighteen percent of people who received information about occasional fasting lost at least 5 percent of their body weight.
- Twenty-eight percent of people who received information about occasional fasting, as well as support for 6 weeks, lost at least 5 percent of their body weight.
While weight loss in groups is similar, the number of people who have lost weight is increasing by using a fasting diet.
The researchers mentioned that groups who used the 5: 2 diet found it easier to stick to the diet than people who used the traditional diet.
Types of fasting diets
Depending on your schedule, personality and lifestyle, you can choose the fasting protocol that best suits your needs.
No matter which type you choose, it is important to remember to eat healthy food through your chosen dining room. These fasts will not work if you choose dishes that are full of processed foods.
In addition to the 5: 2 plan, other types of occasional fasting include:
- 16: 8. This type of occasional fasting involves eating only for a certain 8-hour period each day.
- Eat Spray Eat. This includes a 24-hour fast twice a week. This is similar to 5: 2, but the fasting days of the week are not one after the other – eat one day, then fast the next day, then eat again and fast again the second day of the week.
- Warrior’s diet. This diet includes 20 hours of fasting, followed by 4 hours of unlimited intake, usually a hearty meal in the evening.
- Spontaneous skipping of meals. This is when you miss a meal – breakfast, lunch or dinner. You can take advantage of occasional fasting according to your needs, such as skipping meals when you’re not hungry instead of eating because it’s time to eat.
The health benefits of fasting
Intermittent fasting has many health benefits.
In addition to losing weight, fasting can lower cholesterol, reduce liver fat, improve glucose control, and improve blood pressure. Improved motor coordination, greater endurance and better sleep are also associated with occasional fasting.
It can also lead to longer life, a sharper mind and protection against type 2 diabetes, heart disease, age-related neurodegenerative diseases, inflammatory bowel disease and some cancers.
Side effects of occasional fasting
It can take 2 to 4 weeks for your body to adjust to your new diet. According to some experts in the field, headaches can occur during this time.
Other possible side effects include indigestion such as nausea, diarrhea, constipation and bloating. Low blood sugar caused by occasional fasting can make you tired and weak. You may notice sleep disturbances that lead to fatigue during the day.
Experts say there are a few groups of people who should not follow a fasting diet:
- children and adolescents under 18 years of age
- pregnancy or lactation
- people with diabetes or blood sugar problems
- people with a history of eating disorders
Although occasional fasting is beneficial, it is not for everyone. If you have a history of eating disorders or are taking medicines that cannot be taken on an empty stomach, talk to your doctor or dietitian before starting treatment. The type of food you eat is the same, if not more important, than the time of day or hours you eat.