Your Heart – Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease in Women, Men & Children
The 5:2 Eating Plan
♥ If you look to the future in defeat and say to yourself there is no way I can lose 20, 30, 50 or 100 pounds. Ask yourself this: Can I cut back my calories one day each week? How about cutting back two days a week?
On the 5/2 Plan you eat about 500 calories one day, then eat a regular healthy Mediterranean cuisine or plant-based cuisine the next one or two days, then you eat only 500 calories the next day, resume regular eating the rest of the week and repeat this ongoing. Your overall calorie intake drops gradually and you lose weight.
In 2012, Dr. Michael J. Mosley shared his concept of eating less than your usual intake for two non-consecutive days a week. With this plan, you reduce your calorie intake significantly but it is not as mentally challenging as setting out to sharply curtail eating for the indefinite future. His concept is to have men eat about 600 calories and women about 500 calories on two non-consecutive low calorie days.
Dr. Mosley’s examples of food choices on the low-intake days are: two eggs and lean meat with water, tea or black coffee; a second meal of grilled fish or meat, with vegetables. You can make breakfast healthier by throwing out the yolks and eating a side of non-processed protein choices, such as a heap of steamed veggies. (Veggies high in protein include broccoli, mushrooms, soybean sprouts, tomatoes and onions, to name a few.)
Although fasting has been advocated for decades in many groups, harsh diets often fail miserably because metabolic changes related to starvation trigger the body to store up calories and as soon as you begin eating normally, you regain weight.
To be effective and long-lasting, the manner of eating must be sustainable. It must be a way of life — something you can do for the rest of your life. If you have a lot of weight to lose, this would be a life-changing method of gaining control of your eating and reducing weight. To review: one pound = 3500 calories. If your normal intake is 2500 calories/day and you eat 500 calories two days/week, your weight loss each week would be more than one pound. This is approximately 4-5 pounds per month and 48-60 pounds in a year. In addition, if you choose lower calorie foods, less fat and sugar, you may lose more. Most people find this plan easy to follow for long periods.
Animal studies examining the effects of fasting have shown heart benefit with reduced blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. Intermittent fasting also lowered diabetes development in lab animals.
Because Dr. Mosley’s unique concept of marked calorie reduction for two out of five days lacked scientific evidence to support the process in reduction of heart disease and diabetes in humans, I was hesitant to include it in this evidence-based book. However, as I was writing this portion of the book a very exciting scientific review in the British Journal of Diabetes and Vascular Disease was published!
An Aston University team in the UK, led by Dr. James E.P. Brown evaluated various approaches to intermittent fasting, looking for any evidence of advantage for its use in treating Type 2 diabetes. In their review, they found intermittent fasting was just as effective, possibly even more effective, than daily calorie restriction and calorie counting. Other favorable findings: markedly low calorie days (not true fasting) can reduce inflammation, reduce both glucose and lipids, and reduce blood pressure.
True fasting lowers metabolic rate and making it harder to burn fat and lose weight. Reduced metabolic rate is protective in a prolonged starvation state and impacts the ability of people today to lose weight. Researchers believe the gene pool of those who were able to survive periods of starvation has been retained in today’s population. Examples are the American Indians and many Polynesian cultures that are experiencing obesity and Type 2 diabetes epidemics.
Their bodies evolved to become efficient in saving calories for harsh times. The problem today is, food is plentiful and the ability to efficiently save the energy in fat stores has become detrimental instead of life-saving.
In the 5/2 plan, eating less on two non-consecutive days is unlikely to lower your metabolic rate and trigger the starvation response. For example, choose Monday and Thursday as your low calorie days and add daily exercise to your weight loss plan, Exercise is an essential component to health improvement and longer life.
Pregnant women and people with Type 1 diabetes should not fast.
If you are interested in the 5/2 diet, check with your physician and obtain guidance regarding your medications during the low calorie days, especially if you are a Type 2 diabetic taking medications to lower blood glucose. Monitor blood glucose carefully and avoid readings that are too low.
There are many studies showing great benefit by delaying Type 2 diabetes, reversing glucose elevations and reducing insulin resistance with weight loss. Dr. Brown and his team are preparing clinical trials to evaluate the 5/2 dietary format as interventions in various clinical settings.
An excerpt from: Your Heart – Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease in Women, Men & Children
Betty and Bev