The Fast Diet (5:2 Diet) doesn’t only help you lose weight. Read on to find out five unexpected benefits of the 5:2 diet.
After a break of about 18 months, I recently started doing the 5:2 Diet again.
You know the one – also known as the Fast Diet, it’s where you restrict the amount of calories you eat for two days of the week, and then eat what you want the rest of the time. On my fast days, I consume around 600 calories.
As someone with an addiction to beer, crisps and chocolate, this diet suits me fine as it means I can stuff my face at the weekends.
It works too – last time out I lost and kept off half a stone.
Lately though, whether its due to my age (less likely) or that dastardly beer, crisps and chocolate (more likely), my weight’s been creeping back up. Hence my decision to get back on the 5:2 bandwagon.
It’s too early to know whether revisiting the diet is going to help me lose my beer belly. But I have found these unexpected benefits of going on the 5:2 Diet
5 unexpected benefits of the 5:2 Diet
1. The 5:2 Diet saves time
Because I skip lunch on my fast days, I don’t need to make it the night before or buy it on the day.
And, because I eat a quick breakfast mid-morning on fast days, I can spend a bit longer in bed.
The time saved isn’t significant in the grand scheme of things. But it’s amazing how relieved I feel when I know I don’t have to put together a salad of an evening or get in a long queue in the work canteen.
2. The 5:2 Diet makes you more disciplined
I find it hard to say “no” when someone thrusts some cake or chocolate in front of me or when someone suggests popping for a pint.
Now though, because I’m used to sticking rigidly to certain foods at certain times on fast days, I find it easier to stay strong in the face of tasty temptations.
3. The 5:2 Diet makes hunger feel natural
In the past, I’d reach for some food as soon as I felt remotely hungry.
Now, after getting used to being hungry on fast days, it’s a more natural feeling. So I don’t feel the need to eat as soon as the pangs kick in on non-fast days either, meaning I’m eating less on those days.
4. The 5:2 Diet improves concentration
After initially struggling to get through fast days I now find that not eating during the day helps me concentrate.
There’s actually some science behind this – researchers at the University of Leuven in Belgium found that muslims who fast during Ramadan enjoy improved concentration as well as better short-term memory.
This all makes sense when you think about it. Years ago, when we hunted and foraged for food, we’d have to be alert when we were hungry. Otherwise it would reduce our chances of finding something to eat.
Research has also found that restricting calorie intake on some days of the week can boost brain cell growth. This can make our brains more resistant to brain conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease. It can help manage epilepsy in young children, too.
5. The 5:2 Diet makes you more grateful
Experiencing hunger on two days of the week reminds me how lucky I am to have easy access to nutritious food and treats like cake, chocolate, chips and beer.
Luckily I can get my fill my face on non-fast days. But others aren’t so lucky. Even now, half of the world’s population live on less than £2 a day and more than 800 million people don’t have enough to eat.
Have you tried the 5:2 Diet? Did you experience any unexpected benefits?