5:2 diet

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Jump to: navigation, search

The 5:2 diet, also written as 5/2 diet, is a fad diet[1] which involves severe calorie restriction for two non-consecutive days a week and normal eating the other five days, which originated and became popular in the UK, and spread in Europe and to the USA.[2] It is a form of intermittent fasting.[3] The diet is claimed to promote weight loss and to have several beneficial effects on health. According to the UK National Health Service there is limited evidence on the safety and effectiveness of the diet; they advise people considering it to consult their doctor.

The diet[edit]

The diet became popular in the UK after[2] the BBC2 television Horizon documentary Eat, Fast and Live Longer [4] was broadcast on 6 August 2012.

The diet specifies a low calorie consumption (sometimes described as "fasting") for two days a week, which should not be consecutive, but allows normal eating for the other five days.[5] Men may eat 600 calories on fasting days, and women 500.[6] A typical fasting day may include a breakfast of 300 calories, such as two scrambled eggs with ham, water, green tea, or black coffee, and a lunch or dinner of grilled fish or meat with vegetables, amounting to 300 calories.[5] The daily 500 or 600 calorie limit requires small portions.


There is some evidence that 5:2 diet can achieve short-term weight loss similar to a calorie controlled diet, in females.[7] However, such results are fairly common for fad diets like this[8] and there is no data on how safe or healthy, even a short term use of the diet is, nor how good it is for weight loss in the long term. The NHS says that there is still limited evidence for this diet, and "compared to other types of weight loss programmes the evidence base of the safety and effectiveness of the 5:2 diet is limited. If you are considering it then you should first talk to your GP to see if it is suitable for you"[9]


Mosley's book, The Fast Diet (co-written with Mimi Spencer), became the top selling book in the United Kingdom in February 2013.[10]

The Complete 5:2 Diet App (by Papertrell and HarperCollins) became the top selling Diet app in the United Kingdom in September 2013.[11]


  1. ^ http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/loseweight/Pages/how-to-diet.aspx
  2. ^ a b Forbes magazine: The UK's Hot New 5:2 Diet Craze Hits The U.S. - Weight Loss Miracle? 17 May 2013
  3. ^ Emma Young, New Scientist (2 Jan 2013). "Hunger games: The new science of fasting". Thomasville Times Enterprise. Retrieved 3 Jan 2013. 
  4. ^ Eat, Fast & Live Longer, BBC2 Horizon television programme, August 2012
  5. ^ a b "The 5:2 diet: can it help you lose weight and live longer?". The Telegraph. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  6. ^ "The 5:2 diet - Can starving yourself twice a week make you live longer?". Yahoo! Lifestyle. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  7. ^ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23591120
  8. ^ [http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/loseweight/Pages/how-to-diet.aspx] "Most [fad diets] do lead to fast – sometimes dramatic – weight loss, but only for the pounds to creep back on again at the end of the diet."
  9. ^ http://www.nhs.uk/news/2013/01January/Pages/Does-the-5-2-intermittent-fasting-diet-work.aspx
  10. ^ Stone, Philip (22 February 2013). "Public appetite for fasting grows: four intermittent fasting titles earn bestseller status; Mary Berry beats Paul Hollywood in a baking battle; and children's sales slump due to a calendar quirk". The Bookseller: 17. 
  11. ^ "Apple iTunes Top 10 Lists". Apple iTunes. Apple iTunes. Retrieved 5 October 2013.