You may lose weight in the short-term while on the 5:2 diet, but it’s not more beneficial than cutting your daily calorie intake in a less restrictive manner, a new study has discovered.
The famous 5:2 way of eating sees people tuck into a normal amount of food five days a week, while cutting back dramatically for two days.
Researchers from Austin Health and the University of Melbourne looked into 24 obese male war veterans aged 55-75 for six months, setting them five counselling sessions with a dietitian over this period. While one group when on the U.K. generated 2:5 diet, eating just 600 calories two days a week, the rest cut their usual average of around 2,400 calories a day by 600 calories all week.
It was found that both groups lost body fat and girth, with the calorie-reduced diet group losing an average of 2.3 per cent of their body fat and shedding 6.4cm from their waistlines.
Meanwhile, those on the 5:3 diet came in at around 1.3 per cent and 8cm. After the six months, the mean weight loss of the former group was 12lbs, and 11.6lbs for the 5:2 participants.
“Compliance rates were similar for the two groups, but the 5:2 diet group reported being hungrier, especially early on in the study,” researcher Margie Conley told the Dietitians Association of Australia’s national conference in Melbourne.
“Interestingly, weight loss slowed at the three-month mark for both groups, which was when the dietitian follow-up tapered out, showing support may be the key element in continuing success.”
These findings don’t necessarily mean the 5:2 diet is a fad, but it goes to show that being healthier overall has the same results without the extremes.