Fad Diet Book Club: The Fast Diet (5:2)

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So you’ve all heard about the Fad Diet Book Club some other dietetic interns and I are doing. First it was Wheat Belly, then The Fast Diet, which we met to discuss this week.

I’m totally, totally biased when it comes to intermittent fasting. I did my undergraduate research in intermittent fasting for cancer and Alzheimer’s, so it is near and dear to my heart. I also completely believe in it for weight maintenance, disease prevention, and lifestyle improvement.

It doesn’t help that my mentor and our research were mentioned within the first 20 pages of the book, but I lovedThe Fast Diet.

The Fast Diet is all about the 5:2 diet, in which you eat regularly 5 days per week and limit calories to around 500-600 kcal the other 2 days. Why did I love the The Fast Diet? Glad you asked.

  1. It’s super easy to understand. It’s not written in over-sciency or medical language, it’s extremely approachable.
  2. It’s not condescending. Wheat Belly was like an obnoxious ego attacking dietitians and all things conventional and science-based. It wrote as if the reader was a moron who needs to just eat up everything the big doc wants to say. The Fast Diet works with science and uses it to its advantage without attacking anyone with its tone. On that note…
  3. It uses science ETHICALLY. Wheat Belly twisted the words of research papers to say what it wanted to say. The Fast Diet noted the extensive research and clinical trials behind fasting without making arguments that were never made in the original papers.
  4. It contains extensive ‘case studies’ (which are really just long testimonials) to the diet, giving you real people’s opinions on their experiences.
  5. It uses numbers in an approachable way. It breaks down blood values like IGF-1 or triglycerides to give them meaning without being overwhelming.
  6. It has tons of great lists (like tips to make fasting easier!) and ‘how-to’s to make intermittent fasting easy.
  7. It has great resources for gaining a grasp on how many calories are in foods you typically eat and how to control that more effectively.
  8. It is written by two people, a man and a woman. This totally changes the motives and tone, and makes you feel as if you’re hearing from a team, rather than an egotistical doctor on his gluten-free throne waiting for his big Dr. Oz break. (Sorry, not that sorry William Davis.)

fasting report card

Intermittent fasting seems overwhelming or difficult, but it’s actually much, much easier than other ‘diets’. It’s what I personally do, despite not keeping to a strict 5:2 schedule. I treat it as I treat everything surrounding the word diet: lifestyle first. I never, ever say ‘no I can’t go out tonight, I’m on a fasting schedule!’ I never, ever deny myself food when I’m hungry or uncomfortable or don’t want to. (When I first tried intermittent fasting 4 years ago I had to deny hunger, but got used to it quickly.)

The way I do it, I simply don’t eat 2-3 meals a day for a couple days a week. For instance, I eat one small-medium (~400 calories) meal on either Saturday or Sunday, and then again one weekday. All other days I eat regularly (fat, protein, carbs, the usual!) and don’t restrict myself in any way. It’s very, very easy and enjoyable.

If you want to learn more about the 5:2 diet, why I believe in intermittent fasting, or my research, please contact me with questions or comment below! I’m moreeee than happy to write as much as you all want to read about it!

The next book we’re reading is about my favorite (to rant about), the alkaline diet! We’re going to be discussing The Alkaline Cure Nov 17th!

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  • Jen Rawson @ Pretty Little Gru

    I haven’t read that book. But does it talk about what you eat on your 5 days on. If I was really hungry after a day of fasting and overate the next day to compensate, wouldn’t that negate the benefits? Like I said, I haven’t read the book so I don’t know the guidelines.
    I couldn’t see myself happy fasting 2 days a week, I get hardcore hangry and need food.

    • http://www.theskinnyonhealth.com/ Lisa @ The Skinny on Health

      AWESOME question! I wanted to get into all this but I thought I’d save it for a separate post on fasting…

      Basically, it wouldn’t. On your days off, you might eat a little bit extra in your first couple weeks, but that doesn’t seem to negate the effects at all. Better yet, after your body adjusts, you actually end up eating less on your days off fasting than had you not been fasting. Trippy, right? So, eating extra on days you’re not fasting does not change the effects of the fasting.

      As for getting hangry on fasting days, I feel you! But, ‘fasting’ doesn’t necessarily mean eat absolutely nothing! Fasting means 500 or so calories. I tricked my body a bit and do mid day to mid day fasting, so I’m asleep for most of it. 😉 I’ll eat a nice brunch or lunch on day, and then only eat less than 500 calories until late lunch the next day! It’s really not that crazy if you think about it that way.

      Thanks for reading, all your comments are always great!