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5:2 Diet 'Rules' & Variations

71 posts Page 3 of 5
Hi Phil, the writers (at specifically pointed out that they found 'tendency for greater improvements in oxidative stress markers' in the intermittent (5:2) fasting group compared to the pure calorie restriction group, and noted that this was consistent with the assertion that 5:2 provided 'better disease prevention' (under Discussion/Comparison with other studies). They go on to say that 'declines in long term protein oxidation product aggregates suggest (5:2 fasting) as a possible activator of catabolism and autophagy'. Not sure what that means(!) but I think it's good.

So while their study doesn't prove that 5:2 is better than regular calorie restriction, it certainly doesn't prove that it is no better, either. Unless one reckons that all this cellular stress stuff is just hooey.
I'm new and I'm not sure if I'm managing to follow the rules properly.....can anyone help? For example if the last time I consume calories is 8pm Wednesday and then just water or green tea till about 12 noon thursday (soup) 130 calories and then dinner approx 300 calories at 5pm. During the afternoon I will have a cup of tea with soya milk. I then end my fast 8pm Thursday and then I think it's fine to eat something else?? Ie toast as I'm hungry??? But now I'm thinking I should wait till Friday morning to eat again? Today I have a big brekkie scramble egg on 2 slices of toast and 2 cups of tea then started my fast at 9.30 am I had dinner at 5pm which was 300 calories and won't eat till 7am a 150 calorie breakfast and then finish the fast at 9.30am which I imagine I will eat at noon Monday? Help
The good thing about this diet is that there are no hard and fast rules. You need to find the way that works for you. If you are getting the health benefits and losing weight at the rate that you want then that's fine.
I find that I would eat normally on Wednesday, wake up on Thursday and eat 500 cals during that day in one meal in the evening and then have nothing else until I start eating normally again on the Friday. But that is what works for me.
Hi Haylevvictoria and welcome to the forum, hope you have lots of success with 5:2 and enjoy being here! The usual way is to count the fast for a whole calendar day, that means the real fast time is about 32+ hours i.e. from dinner the night before to breakfast the day after. Your plan sounds perfect except the 'normal' way would say you can't take the brakes off at 8pm, you have to keep to your 500 cal total until the following morning. For some of us the late evening is the hardest part. But it is worth it and it gets easier. Lots of good info around here and lots of help too - just ask!
Thanks for your replies and advice, so I should wait till friday am? Got it! Am I right in thinking that at some point during the fast I should advoid calories for 12 hours solid (ie when sleeping?) So I also have gone a bit wrong today then having a breakfast that wasn't part of my 500 calories? And starting the fast at 9.30am?? Sorry I want to get it right asap so I don't adopt bad habits!
No problem to ask these are good questions. There is no 'rule' about not having any calories for 12 hours solid, although quite a few of us do that (or even longer) because we find it easier. (OK there is some suggestive evidence that it might be healthier too.) The important thing tho is just to stick to the 500 cals over the whole calendar day, and find the way of splitting it up that works best for you.

Have a look at the 'short answers' in the FAQ section and there is also a 'tips for newbies' thread there which has good ideas too.
I take it the 12 hr without anything is by far the most important part of it. I am on my second week and as others have stated the late evening seems to be the hardest . Even shortly after eating a decent 350 cal dinner
I, and others, find that saving all the calories until the evening works best. I don't feel too hungry in the evening at all because I've had a 500 cal dinner, which is fairly normal looking in fact.
Hi 4656kenny

I wouldn't say that a 12 hour period without anything is the most important thing unless you are focusing only on the direct health benefits of 5:2 and not considering weight loss. Most people however are coming to 5:2 initially for weight loss, and if you are overweight the health advantages of losing weight are substantial so it is reasonable to concentrate on this, quite apart from any other wins.

If you want to maximise the other health benefits then yes the evidence does suggest that a total fast (no calories) for a time may maximise these. This is not yet a mainstream view but there is a growing body of research in its favour.

Many longer-term 5:2ers (I am tempted to say 'most') have found it easier to put off eating until the evening, although the majority of these might still have a few calories (milk in tea/coffee, soup/bouillon say) over the course of the day.

However 5:2 is about what 'works for you' and the last thing I would want anyone to think is that a 'grazing' approach to a fasting day is 'breaking the rules'.

If you can last out long enough, you might find that delaying your evening meal a bit makes the late evening less of a trial. Oh, and if all you ate over the day was your 350 cal meal then you could have a little something later on...
To add to that, it seems that you need enough food to reach your small intestine and to slow down the emptying of the stomach before you actually stop feeling hungry. This means that small meals don't cut it as far as stopping you feeling hungry and so having all the cals in one low cal, high bulk meal is probably the best way to avoid feeling hungry in the evening.
Weight loss is a side effect not the primary reason for any sort of intermittent fasting.

Those who are losing weight while doing it are doing so because they were over weight to start with

Those who are at a healthy weight are then able to get the maximium benefits of repair mode caused by fasting - 24 hours being entirely feasible within a normal social life - while eating healthily around the fasts.

That has been the art of the diet industry since the 1950's - setting people up to fail.
Put the beggars out of business
So many interesting posts in this thread.

I'm particularly interested in the debate about the milk/IGF-1 relationship. Like Dominic and many others, I can't give up milk in my tea and coffee, even on fast days, but I have read that Organic milk isn't as bad, so I've just switched to that. I'm assuming that because the cows are allowed to roam freely and graze rather than be kept inside and given hormones etc that the effect on IGF-1 wouldn't be so great, but I might be completely wrong.

As a woman of 58, I'm also aware that I need to protect myself against Osteoporosis by including Dairy products in my diet, but I do worry about the link with Cancer.

Would love to know what everyone else thinks and if there's any conclusive science about it.

Hi Evie, since my posting on this topic I have had some success with herbal teas on my fasting days. Also lemon green tea. Black tea without milk though I can't do, I just avoid it on a fasting day!

I have seen some evidence (sorry no links, but you can google it) from America that organic milk has lower IGF-1 than conventional milk but the difference was apparently quite small. Anyway I think UK conventional milk is from cows that are less messed around than US cattle (hormones, GM feed). So in short I don't think drinking organic milk will make much odds as far as IGF-1 goes. It may be good in other ways.

There is probably more than you ever wanted to know about IGF-1 in this thread! I don't think milk in tea or coffee is an issue for IGF-1, the quantities would be tiny. As usual(!), carorees has the best advice:
Unless you are getting through lots of dairy (several bowls of cereal and milk, milk shakes, lattes, custard etc every day) I wouldn't stress about it. Very low IGF1 is also bad for us so no need to go all out to change your diet.
Hi Dominic,
Thanks for the reply and the link to the IGF-1 thread. Lots of sensible advice from you and Caroline and I'm sure you're right. It does seem daft to get hung up on this when I'm sure that there are far worse things going on in my diet, otherwise I wouldn't be 2 stone+ overweight! Think I'm being a bit obsessive because my husband is recovering from cancer at the moment, having just finished 6 weeks of gruelling treatment, so I'm just at that stage where I want to know every bit of research that's out there, to see if we can influence our future health in a positive way. Would love my hubbie to be able to try this, but he's 2 stone underweight at the moment, so need to get him back to full strength first I think.

Like you, I've also discovered that I actually like Green tea with Lemon, who'd have thought it? Still need my normal cuppa with milk first thing, but enjoy drinking the lemon tea throughout the day and it really does help on fast days.

I'm only at the start of week 4, but really excited at the long term prospects of this WOE, it's just so simple to follow, but the rewards could be so great.
Evie, it seems that a vegan diet does pretty much the same things as fasting with respect to IGF1. Would your husband consider that or at least going as far plant based as possible in his diet?
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