Friday, July 6, 2018

The "5:2 Fasting Diet" - Not Just For Celebs - And It DOES Work!

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No, you do NOT want to eat like this on non-fast days! Yours truly (left) and my late brother John, at a Vegas 'all you can eat' buffet  in May, 2006. (John lived in Vegas at the time)

Type II diabetes is currently wreaking havoc on this nation's health system as virtually everyone not living under a rock knows. It also runs in my family, forcing my mom, and all my now deceased younger brothers including one, (John, shown in the photo)  who also later suffered blindness from diabetic retinopathy,  to partake of diabetic meds.  Mike, my youngest brother who died from stage IV liver cancer barely a month ago, had been on three different diabetic meds totaling 2130 mg, as he wrote me in one of his last emails.

My own wake up call arrived June 10th after getting back the result of the latest a1c blood test and seeing it at 6.0 %, classified as "pre -diabetic".    Fortunately, I'd just begun - with Janice -  the so-called "5:2 diet",  recommended to us by Alan Emtage who invented the original search engine known as Archie.  Alan told us it worked to keep his weight down as well as preserve insulin sensitivity - something you don't want to lose.

So far, after being on the diet for nearly 3 weeks, Janice has dropped 6 pounds and I've dropped over 5 and finally gotten back below 190 lbs.. I hadn't been at that level since before my gall bladder removal two years ago.

The diet, actually an intermittent fasting program, is pretty simple. In a nutshell, you can basically eat anything you want (within reason, i.e. no ice cream sundaes  three times a day) on the plan...for five days a week. But the other two days are fast days.  That means - or did mean- no more than 500 calories a day for women, and no more than 600 a day for men.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that over any given extended time interval x (say x =  4 weeks) you end up consuming fewer calories—so you also end up losing weight.  Two separate payoffs are lowering your blood pressure (high BP also runs in my family) and regulating serum glucose levels, which includes the a1c which refers to those levels over an extended bloc of time.

It should also come as no surprise that this  intermittent fasting diet is blowing up online after a new study found that people on the diet had a lowered risk of heart disease (and a faster metabolism) than people who counted calories.  I had tried the calorie counting gimmick before - like Janice- and simply wasn't able to sustain it, not day in and day out.  I have been able to sustain this intermittent fasting for going on 4 weeks.  Somehow, I am able (like Janice) to mentally accept the lower amounts of food and work within that framework.

Yesterday, for example (the 2nd fast day, following Tuesday) I had the following:


Jumbo egg-  hardboiled (90 calories)

6 oz,. cooked spinach:   70 calories

2.5 oz.  Atkins chocolate shake;   40  calories


1 1/2 cups low calorie tomato soup  (120 calories)

1 slice thin, low fat ham:   30 calories

1/2 pkg.(6 oz.) steamed veggies:  60 calories


1/2 pkg.(6 oz.) steamed veggies:  60 calories

1/2 cup low cal  tomato soup :   40 calories

2 slices low fat ham:                  60 calories

The daily total of calories here came to:

200 (B)  +   210 (L)   +   160 (D)  =   570 cals.

Now Michael Mosely,  who originally created the plan in his book  'The Fast Diet’,
 has  loosened the caloric rules so guys can have up to 800 calories per fast day, and women up to 700 calories.  See e.g.


"It’s the diet which trimmed down the waistlines of countless celebrities and politicians, with former chancellor George Osborne and Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch among those who have used it to slim down.  But the 5:2 diet always came at a price: the willpower dieters required to limit themselves to just 500 calories a day, rising to 600 for men, for two “fasting days” each week.  

 Now the diet’s creator, Dr Michael Mosley, has loosened the rules. But he insists his new version of the “Fast Diet” - which increases the limit to 800 calories on fasting days, is just as effective.  

“You don't need to stick to 600 calories. Cutting down to 800 calories a day seems to be almost as effective and for some people much more ‘doable’.”“It's low calorie, without being superlow-calorie. And if you want to have lunch, you can slip those extra 200 calories in there.”

This loosening of the caloric restrictions means I can still allow myself say a half of an Atkins shake (5.5 oz. or 80 calories) before turning in on the fasting night.  This will bring the total calorie intake to only 570 cal. + 80 cal. =   650 cals. or still 150 calories below the new allowed total. (I am still determined to staying as low as possible in terms of calories)

Another point made by Mosely, the "best results" come via fasting at least 12 hours, from previous night's dinner, to breakfast.  Well, truth be told, I am still working on that!

See also:


JoMarie Stahl-Grinkiewicz said...

Thank you, Phil! I just ordered the 5:2 Fasting Diet and cookbook on Amazon :-) We are looking forward to trying this. The results you and Janice have had are amazing.

Copernicus said...

Good for you, Jo! I believe you will see some amazing results!