What's the newest celebrity diet fad? Intermittent fasting, also known as the 5:2 diet. Among the celebrity converts are Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Aniston and Victoria’s Secret supermodel Miranda Kerr, according to Female First. The benefits range from fast weight loss to helping you enjoy a longer, healthier life. We've got the skinny on how to try it.
Most variations on the 5:2 diet call for eating your regular meals and snacks five days a week. Then, on two days, you'll cut your calories to 500 per day for women and 600 per day for men. Examples include "The 5:2 Diet: Feast for 5 Days, Fast for 2 Days to Lose Weight and Revitalize Your Health" (click for details) and "The FastDiet: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Live Longer with the Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting."
Advocates of the plan say that it supercharges fat-burning, extends your life, promotes overall health and provides rapid weight loss. In addition, it's one of the few diets that offer a way to enjoy food-filled holidays like Thanksgiving without pitifully bringing your own baggy of diet foods. Summary: You can eat your Aunt Martha's pumpkin pecan cake and lose weight, too.
So the big question awaits: What the heck do you eat on those minimal-calorie days? Gulp. Lots of water. Gulp, gulp. We've talked with dieters who say that sleeping late, gulping water and eating plates of lettuce doused with zero-calorie vinegar have helped. And in addition, they admit to spending time on their fasting days planning their next day's meal.
But the results and benefits, say these semi-starving dieters, are worth it. They can accept social invitations revolving around food without fear while shedding excess pounds quickly. And once they got into the rhythm of it, all whom we interviewed agreed it was surprisingly easy. They also noted that several cookbooks have been written to help. And even though it might sound like an oxymoron ("fasting diet cookbook?!"), we read the following and were impressed:
- "The 5:2 Fast Diet: Recipe Book" (click for details)
- "The FastDiet Cookbook: 150 Delicious, Calorie-Controlled Meals to Make Your Fasting Days Easy"
As for the science behind it? Researchers have found that intermittent fasting increases fat loss, can boost your mood and increase concentration. It's also shown to provide a way for dieters to keep off the weight once they've lost it. And for everyone who feels that they lose and gain and lose and gain the same pounds over and over again, that's an impressive promise.
Now as inevitable in the nutrition world, not everyone agrees with the idea of the 5:2 approach. Dr. Krista Varady and Bill Gottlieb advocate using an alternate day approach (4:3) in their book "The Every-Other-Day Diet: The Diet That Lets You Eat All You Want (Half the Time) and Keep the Weight Off" (click for details).
They contend that the Diet Day, Feast Day cycle is easier to follow, faster to promote weight loss and fat-burning and healthier overall.