Losing weight and achieving an overall healthier state is a constant goal for so many people around the world, not only Americans. When a new diet suggests a simple solution, it go from guideline to dogma in a matter of days.
The latest diet manual, The Fast Diet, by Dr. Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer, has taken the United Kingdom by storm with its simple concept and the news has spread across the pond to the United States.
The Fast Diet is actually rather simple and quick to remember -- blink and you might miss it. Five days out of the week a person is allowed to eat whatever they please without limitations. The other two, non-consecutive days a person fasts, but not in the traditional sense. Men are allowed to consume 600 calories on these days with women consuming 500. That's it. There aren't any other rules.
Why would it work?
The basis for the "5:2" method is that the process of fasting awakens the fat burning systems instead of the fat storing systems which cause weight gain. While Dr. Mosley admitted the first few days of fasting will be difficult, he says the repeated process will lead to weight loss. A study conducted by the University of Illinois at Chicago did find a correlation between the calorie restriction in intermittent fasting and weight loss. The study also found the diet has an effect on cardio protection for women.
Another study from Laval University in Canada supported these claims but found the most substantial weight loss occurred in the first five weeks, proving a person need not remain on the diet for an extended period of time.
Downfalls of the Fast Diet
While this diet has certainly gained its supporters, experts have pointed out some flaws with the overall philosophy. The first is the 600/500 calorie amount allowed on days of fast. While eating a substantially smaller amount of calories will probably lead to you losing weight, the difficulty with which its achieved is remarkable. Having too few calories for as little as a day can lead to a person feeling irritable and fatigued. How is a person supposed to be successful in other aspects of life if they don't have the proper nutrients in their body?
The reverse could also be a possibility. In preparation for their fasting day, a person could eat in extreme excess, defeating the purpose of the diet in the first place. This can quickly become a slippery slope. For those individuals who want to lose a great deal of weight fast, what would be the downside of increasing the number of fasting days to three? The reality is, you're robbing your body of essential vitamins and nutrients for multiple days, creating an unhealthy pattern.
Since this diet is so new, there hasn't been a great deal of clinical studies conducted proving or discrediting its validity. While on the surface this diet seems to be effective, the effectiveness could come at a cost.
Those with type 1 diabetes, the extremely lean, children and pregnant woman shouldn't partake in the Fast Diet. Remember, before beginning a new diet plan, to consult your doctor to best understand the possibilities.
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