Yes, it appears that the people of Britain have put down their digestive biscuits and cups of tea and are doing something drastic: they are fasting. Weekly.
It’s called the 5:2 diet (eat for five days, don’t for two) and it’s sweeping the nation almost as if people had been waiting for it to be suggested, with the rate that it’s being taken up. I asked my mother if she’d heard of it, to which she replied (rather snappily) “of course I have, my pilates teacher in the village hall is doing it.” I didn’t know that pilates had penetrated the depths of the Dumfriesshire countryside but it does seem that almost everyone is giving it a go.
Firstly, fasting is not actually as petrifying as it sounds. 5:2 works on the principles of five days of eating, more or less, what you want with two severely calorie controlled days, (500 calories can be eaten on these non-consecutive fast days, lucky boys get 600; the picture above shows you what that actually looks like…we are not talking nil by mouth) Tuesdays and Thursdays for instance.
What’s really interesting about this all is that weight loss is the side effect, not the main goal. The whole of point of the 5:2 diet is that it’s incredibly good for you and the two days of hunger allow your body to – remarkably – regenerate itself, cutting the risk of cancers and other diseases (clinical trials are being undertaken right now, with results being released next month).
Anyway, don’t take my word for it, I only heard about this on Friday and hate the idea of 500 calories a day, even if it is only for two days a week (I wonder how many are in a bowl of mee goreng?). Click here to watch the BBC Horizon documentary that started it all. Presented by Michael Mosley, (pictured on the right at the top of the page) the aptly titled ‘Eat, Fast & Live Longer’ is compelling (running time of one hour).
Food for thought.