The 5:2 Weight Loss Method: Should You Try It?

By | November 23, 2022

All the information you want on the 5:2 weight loss plan here’s a decent probability that you’ve looked into or at least heard about intermittent fasting if you’re attempting to lose weight. Eating is limited to a certain time period when intermittent fasting is practised. One common method of putting this into reality is to allow yourself an eight-hour window for eating and fast for the remaining sixteen hours.

The 5:2 Weight Loss Method: Should You Try It?

The 5:2 diet is another method of intermittent fasting, however it contains rules governing full days as opposed to dividing fasting times into time blocks. Following the 5:2 diet entails eating normally five days a week while restricting calorie consumption to 25% on the other two days (typically between 500 and 600 calories).

This is an extreme kind of intermittent fasting, thus licenced dietitians advise you to carefully examine how it will really effect your body and mind before giving it a try.

What Is the 5:2 Diet?

As previously established, the 5:2 diet is a kind of intermittent fasting in which adherents eat normally five days per week and limit their caloric intake to 25% (usually between 500 and 600 calories) on the other two days. It is advised not to have the two fasting days back-to-back but rather to divide them apart.

This eating pattern gained popularity as a result of a 2012 BBC Horizon broadcast and a book called The Fast Diet that was published shortly after, according to the academic journal PLoS One. The 5:2 diet hasn’t been the subject of many research, but one that did concluded that it was effective for losing weight quickly but not permanently.

The fact that you may virtually eat anything you want for five days a week is one of the diet’s selling qualities, according to Dr. Dara Ford, PhD, RDN, a registered dietitian and health studies lecturer at American University. According to Dr. Ford, there are no restrictions for these five days; those who follow this diet are free to consume as many calories and other foods as they choose.

What about the additional two days? Once more, there are no precise restrictions on what a person may or may not eat; the only requirement is that they limit their calorie intake to no more than 25% of what they would typically eat.

Dietitians’ Opinions on the 5:2 Diet

Simply put, Dr. Ford does not like this diet. She adds that this is particularly risky if a person is physically active on such days, saying, “Eating just 500 or 600 calories a day is not sufficient enough to cover your micronutrient demands.”

Registered dietitian and PhD candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of Nutrition David Gaviria, MPH, RD, LDN, concurs. “The body enters famine mode when calorie intake is this low, which is another thing that occurs.

In other words, when you can eat regularly again, you’ll probably want to eat everything you see and your body will want to hang on to those calories because it believes you’re starving, the doctor explains. In the end, according to Gaviria, this will probably nullify any weight reduction advantages the two-days-per-week fasting may have provided.

According to studies, while some people who follow the 5:2 diet do lose weight temporarily, doing so is not any more effective than cutting calories gradually during the week, according to Gaviria. He claims that the outcome will be the same whether someone consumes 400 calories fewer per day or 1,500 calories less twice per week.

There is no proof that the 5:2 diet may aid in long-term weight loss, according to registered dietitian Jess Cording, RDN, author of The Little Book of Game Changers. She claims that this is because it cannot be sustained. Small improvements, not big ones, she claims, are the key to lasting weight reduction. She continues by saying that those who have diabetes and must closely monitor their blood sugar levels, as well as those who are pregnant, may be most harmed by this diet.

The 5:2 diet, according to Gaviria, can harm someone emotionally in addition to physically. He claims that because the calorie intake is so low on the two fasting days of the week, feeling drained, hungry, and irritable is quite natural. Additionally, Cording notes that it would be challenging to consume less than 500 calories throughout the day while still enjoying a meal out with friends or even a family meal at home. She claims that eating is about more than just getting the right nutrients.

Another problem associated with the 5:2 diet’s strictness is that it raises the possibility of eating disorders, according to Dr. Ford. She concurs with Cording that making incremental, enduring adjustments is essential for losing weight in a healthy way as opposed to any diet plan that substantially cuts calories—even if it’s just for two days a week.

All three dietitians agree that they are not lovers of this specific kind of intermittent fasting, despite the fact that some people may find it to be advantageous. Not only is the research flawed, but you will undoubtedly experience two days of utter misery each week. You can cross this eating regimen off your list.


  • Registered dietitian Dr. Dara Ford is a professor of health studies at American University.
  • David Gaviria, a registered dietitian and PhD candidate at the Nutrition Department of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, has an MPH, RD, and LDN.
  • Registered dietitian Jess Cording is the creator of The Little Book of Game Changers.
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