Intermittent fasting is any diet that includes regular periods of not eating, or fasting.
This article will explain the 5:2 diet and give a basic example of how to eat on each type of day.
What is the 5:2 diet?
The 5:2 diet is a type of intermittent fasting.
The 5:2 diet gets its name because it involves eating regularly for 5 days of the week while drastically limiting caloric intake on the other 2 two days.
While the 5:2 diet is a popular form of intermittent fasting, the term fasting is slightly misleading.
Unlike a true fast, which involves eating nothing for a set amount of time, the goal of the 5:2 diet is to cut caloric intake on fasting days to 25 percent or just one-quarter of a person’s regular intake on the remaining days.
For example, a person who regularly eats about 2,000 calories per day would eat 500 calories on fasting days.
Importantly, fasting days are not consecutive because it is vital to give the body the calories and nutrients it needs to thrive.
People typically space their fasting days out, for example, by taking their reduced-calorie days on Monday and Thursday or Wednesday and Saturday.
Part of the diet’s appeal is this flexibility. Instead of severely restricting the foods a person can eat, the 5:2 diet focuses on strict caloric restriction on only 2 days of the week. This may help some people feel more satisfied with their diet, as they will not feel that they are missing out all the time.
The 5 normal days of the 5:2 diet should still involve a healthful diet, however. Loading up on sugary or processed foods for 5 days and then having a small break may not be as helpful as keeping a trend of clean eating during the entire week.