The 5:2 intermittent fasting diet is one of the most popular weight loss methods around and it’s not hard to see why. You eat what you want for most of the week and then you drastically reduce your calorie intake for just two days – down to 600 calories for men and 500 for women – supposedly seeing big results on the scales with just this simple change.

Typical daily menu (for a fast day)

Breakfast: 2 Ryvitas with 2tsp Marmite

Lunch: Mushroom soup

Dinner: Halloumi salad


  • You can eat what you want for five days a week. You’ll only feel as though you’re ‘on a diet’ for two days a week, the other five days you can eat whatever you want (within reason).
  • On fasting days, you can consume your calories in one go. So you can have one 600 calorie feast or you can have a few small meals.
  • Fasting may have a lot of health benefits, including increased lifespan, improved testosterone production and improved cognitive function.


  • You can’t eat much for two days out of the week and that kind of restriction can be a strain on willpower.
  • Fasting can lead to dehydration and malnourishment, resulting in fatigue and insomnia. Some people find they get grumpy or a headache for the two days they fast until they get used to it.
  • If you don’t track what you eat on non-fast days then you can still gain weight.

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