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Pros and Cons of the 5:2 Diet

fasting days

Some of the pros of the 5:2 Diet include the following:

  • You’ll never go a full day without With the start of a new week, having your first fast day fall on Monday may make the most sense for you. But again, pick what works best for you. Just know that you never have to fast for a full day.
  • You have flexibility in choosing which days to fast each Those days may vary from week to week, depending on your engagements and obligations. You may find that fasting not from dinner to dinner but from lunch to lunch is most convenient for you. You’re allowed to do  so. While following the 5:2 Diet, you’re encouraged to make it your own.
  • Play with what days and times work best for you. It’s more important to complete two successful modified fasts per week than to force your- self into following a rigid schedule of fasting days/times. To that end, because family and social functions typically occur on Saturdays and Sundays, you may find it best to avoid fasting on the weekends.
  • To avoid getting burnt out on fasting, try not to fast on consecutive days. The emotional and psychological challenges that a back-to-back fast pose may set you up for failure or for an overly indulgent feast on your next day back to normal eating. Besides, as the science has shown, the majority of fasting benefits are had within the first 16 hours. There’s no need to push further and make yourself miserable.
  • You have the freedom to enjoy food without guilt with common Because the 5:2 Diet only requires a biweekly fast, you’re left with five days in which to eat as you normally would eat. However, we caution that doing so doesn’t mean overcompensating or treating yourself for having made it through your fast days. This fasting method works on the premise that you’re greatly restricting your weekly caloric intake.
  • Though you may feel like you’ve earned it, don’t go hog wild on your nonfasting days. Eat sensibly, and don’t try to make up for the calories you didn’t eat by piling on second — or third — helpings, treating your- self to extra dessert, or by grazing constantly throughout the day. If you try to make up for those calories in the other five days, you won’t be get- ting the benefits of the 5:2 Diet. Let fasting work its magic!
  • You experience a reduction in body Because your weekly calorie consumption will be lower, you can expect an overall reduction in your body fat levels in a safe and reasonable manner.
  • It’s uncomplicated with no tricky rules to You simply eat as you normally would five days out of the week. The other two days, you stick to either 500 calories (for women) or 600 calories (for men).

As with all fasting methods, expect opposition. If it’s one of your biweekly fasts, expect doughnuts to show up at the office or your friend to invite you out to an impromptu happy hour. Life happens, but remember, whatever you’re craving or confronted with on a fast day will be there tomorrow.Delayed gratification is enhanced gratification.

5:2 Diet cons

On the 5:2 Diet you don’t abstain from food entirely; you simply restrict how many calories you eat some of the time. You still get to eat breakfast and dinner on your fasting days, although the meals are quite small. Here are a couple disadvantages of the 5:2 Diet:

  • You don’t achieve a full On the 5:2 Diet you don’t completely abstain from food on your fasting days, which means that you still experience a rise in blood sugar during your fast. A rise in blood sugar can stall fat loss. It can also make you uncomfortably hungry in the middle of your fast as your body comes down from the rise in blood sugar it experienced after having a small meal.
  • You may experience an arousal in Some people have reported that eating 500 or 600 calories on a fast day makes them hungrier. Over time, as you dedicate yourself to full fasting, rather than a restricted fasting program such as the 5:2 Diet, you may find that you adjust to fasting and that your feelings of hunger subside. However, the 5:2 Diet may prolong that adjustment period.

What You Can Eat 5:2 diet

Although the 5:2 Diet allows you to eat during your fast days, what you eat matters, specifically in terms of choosing foods that have low GI scores and are able to keep you feeling sustained.

Overall, a general rule that you can use when figuring out what you can eat on your fast days is to pick those foods that are highest in nutritional value and that will keep you feeling satisfied for the longest period of time. Focus on foods high in protein and choose your carbohydrate sources wisely. Opt for carbs that are complex and thus slow burning, rather than simple and quick-burning, such as breads, pastries, and other junk food.

Choosing foods that spike your blood sugar unnecessarily will make completing your fast that much more difficult. If you’ve ever experienced a sugar crash, then you know just how unpleasant it can be. Usually, to compensate for such a surge and then decline in blood sugar, people either feel like they need to take a nap or that they need to eat something more wholesome and sustaining, like a proteinrich, lowcarb meal.

If you happen to find yourself in this situation on a fast day, you run the risk of using up your daily caloric limits on less than optimal food choices and then, when the inevitable seems to happen and you’re uncomfortably hungry and maybe even a little light headed, you may wind up going over your 500  or 600-calorie limits just to try and make yourself feel better. Before you know it, you’ve just negated the fast entirely.

Chapters 9 and 10 provide plenty of recipes for the 5:2 Diet to help you make smarter fast-day food choices and to keep you motivated and on track. In the following sections, you can discover how to stick to your 500- or 600-calorie limits on your fasting days, as well as some tips you can employ to make sure you have a successful fast.

Sticking to 500 or 600 calories

The 5:2 Diet allows 500 calories to women and 600 calories to men for the two modified fasting days each week. But what does 500 or 600 calories look like? Well, depending on your food choices, they may not look like much. That’s where your understanding of the GI, as well as knowing how to make optimal food choices, is the key to your 5:2 Diet success.

On your fasting days, you should choose foods that keep you satisfied and that also stay within the 500- or 600-calorie per day limits. You can do this by selecting foods that are higher in protein and that have low GI scores. This strategy can help keep your blood sugar on an even keel and keep you feeling satiated.

Choosing foods that have a low GI score and/or that are higher in protein will make sure that you don’t experience any wild blood sugar swings, subsequent food cravings, or that uncomfortable empty feeling in your stomach.

Doing so doesn’t mean that you have to live on a high protein, low carbohy drate diet forever, but on your two fasting days each week, we do advocate choosing those types of foods.

Furthermore, remember that eating 500 or 600 calories on your fasting days doesn’t guarantee that you won’t be hungry at all. When you consider how much you eat during the day or what kinds of foods you typically eat, 500 or 600 calories is really just a drop in the bucket. For example, if your typical morning involves a large sugar-laden latte and a bagel with cream cheese from your favorite coffee shop, you may be consuming your entire fasting day’s caloric limits before you’re even halfway done with breakfast. Not only that, due to the high GI scores coupled with the moderate to low amounts of protein in those foods, the rise (and fall) in blood sugar that you’ll inevitably experience will make it that much more difficult to complete a successful fast.

On the other hand, instead of buying your typical high carbohydrate to moderate to low protein breakfast, you choose a cup of black coffee or green tea, a hard-boiled egg, one strip of bacon, and a bowl of strawberries, you’ll have consumed less than 250 calories, which isn’t even half of your fasting day caloric limit. Even better, you’ve now chosen an all-around healthier break- fast, you’ll stay fuller longer, and even when you start feeling hungry again, it will be a mild, tolerable feeling, not a crash and burn one.

Here are plenty of other tips you can employ to ensure your successful completion of two fasting days per week:

  • Fasting days are not no-fat days, but they are low So apply healthy fats judiciously (for example, a teaspoon of olive oil on a mixed-green salad rather  than  an  unmeasured  amount  that  drenches  everything).
  • If you need that full-stomach feeling, opt for Overdoing your caloric limit on dark leafy greens is difficult, so you can eat extra spring mix or baby spinach leaves. Just be sure to check how much healthy fat you’re adding.
  • Opt for healthy Whether you’re on a fasting day or not, be sure to opt for healthy fats, such as extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, walnut oil, avocado oil, ghee, or organic butter from grassfed cows.
  • More flavor equals more The more flavorful a food is, the more satisfied you’ll feel eating it. Adding some lemon or orange juice or some citrus zest to your meals can add that flavorful punch to really brighten the foods you’re eating and make them more enjoyable.
  • To get the most accurate calorie count, weigh and measure your food after it’s been Doing so does require a kitchen scale. Kitchen scales are relatively inexpensive. You can purchase one online or in most stores  that  have  a  cooking/kitchen  section.
  • Avoid white starchy carbohydrates on fasting These white carbs, which include white bread, white rice, pasta, and white potatoes, have high GI scores. If you eat them, you’ll experience a not-so-welcome insu- lin surge and blood sugar crash. Instead, stick to fresh fruits and veg- etables to help curb your carb cravings.
  • Drink plenty of Thirst can often mask itself as hunger. So grab a cup of herbal, green, or unsweetened black tea, a cup of black coffee, or a big glass of water and see how you feel afterward. Doing so not only can help fill your stomach, but it can also take your mind off the hunger. The human body is more than 70 percent liquid, so drink at least eight cups of fluids especially water each day. On fasting days, we recommend drinking even more fluid than that, in the range of 10 to 12 eight-ounce glasses.

Want something refreshing to drink that isn’t plain water, coffee, or tea? Try infusing filtered water with cucumber and mint or strawberries. Add some ice (but if you’re in the middle of a fast, skip eating the fruit) and enjoy!

Steer clear of alcoholic beverages on your fasting days. A 2012 study found that many Americans consume more than 300 calories per day from alcohol. That’s a lot of empty calories when you’re limited to 500 or 600 on your two weekly fasting days.

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