Health + Wellness

Ever Heard Of The 5:2 Diet?

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It seems like every year brings on another new type of diet to help us stay healthy.

This year, we see the popularity of the ‘intermittent fasting’ trend take off with the 5:2 diet. This is a diet currently recognised as a way to control our weight and help contribute to that healthy lifestyle.

What is the 5:2 diet?

The 5:2 diet is one where you eat normally for a total of five days a week and fast for two non-consecutive days. This is not a full fast where you can only drink water but one that limits your intake to 600 calories on fasting days.

For some perspective, consider this.

An average calorie intake for an Asian male (25 years old, 65 kg) is about 2,300 calories and taking into account age, probably 10-20 percent lower, leaving you with about 2,000 calories per day. When on the 5:2 diet, the person will be taking in about ¼ of the daily average.

The trick to making sure the diet works is to plan and keep to meals that help you keep below the 600 calorie level.

So what does a 600 calorie diet look like?

A standard-size bowl of century egg porridge is about 260 calories, a hard boiled egg about 92 calories while a Starbucks coffee with sugar can go as high as 150 calories. (calorie count from My Fitness Pal)

A suggested plan if you are seriously considering the 5:2 diet is to set limits for each main meal of the day.

Look at eating a hearty 200 calories breakfast, another 200 calories at lunch and a light 150 calories dinner with some room for snacks throughout the day. Avoid the peanuts though, those pack a high calorie punch! A known trick is to use low calorie drinks to help fill you up, such as water, green tea and black coffee.

Well, is the 5:2 diet for me?

The 5:2 diet is the beginning of a journey towards a healthier lifestyle.

Given the changes to lifestyle, you should consider whether it’s possible to cut down calories on specific, fixed days of the week or to get family involved in eating low calorie meals with you. Perhaps, weekends are reserved for family dinners or there might be a birthday celebration to attend mid-week. Being on the 5:2 diet isn’t about restricting both lifestyle and calorie intake, but about complementing your schedules and not getting in the way of living a quality life.

Also, no diet is an island on its own. Look at coupling, pairing and combining the 5:2 diet with exercise, proper hydration and enough sleep.

As a rule of thumb, you might want to consult your physician before starting on a new diet or exercise regime.

 

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