New diet craze offers five days of feasting for two days of famine

Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:52am EDT
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By Constance Watson

LONDON (Reuters) - Forget abandoning carbohydrates or detoxing. The new dieting craze sweeping Britain and taking off in the United States lets people eat whatever they like - but only five days a week.

"The Fast Diet", also known as the 5:2 diet, is the brainchild of TV medical journalist Michael Mosley and journalist Mimi Spencer and allows people to eat what they want for five days but only eat 600 calories a day on the other two.

Their book, "The Fast Diet", has topped bestselling book lists in Britain and the United States this year and been reprinted more than a dozen times.

Mosley said the diet is based on work by British and U.S. scientists who found intermittent fasting helped people lose more fat, increase insulin sensitivity and cut cholesterol which should mean reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes.

He tried this eating regime for a BBC television science programme called "Eat, Fast, Live Longer" last August after finding out his cholesterol level was too high and his blood sugar in the diabetic range. He was stunned by the results.

"I started doing intermittent fasting a year ago, lost 8 kgs (18 pounds) of fat over 3 months and my blood results went back to normal," Mosley told Reuters.

Mosley said he had been amazed at the way the diet had taken off with a list of websites set up by followers of the 5:2 diet or variations of the eating regime to share their experiences.

Following the success of "The Fast Diet", Spencer joined forces with dietitian Sarah Schenker to bring out "The Fast Diet Recipe Book" in April which has topped's food and drink list with 150 recipes containing under 300 calories.   Continued...

A woman holds a plate of fried food at the Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona, California September 5, 2012. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson