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5:2 Diet 'Rules' & Variations

71 posts Page 4 of 5
Morning all, I posted this yesterday on another page but thought I'd paste it here in case anyone can advise me:

"Now this may sound daft but if I were to add a dash of skimmed milk to my tea, does that count as breaking the fast? The thing is I'm not only doing this for weight loss but also for the other benefits of fasting... repairing of cells as referred to in Dr Mosley's book and I thought that only happened if you fasted completely. I'm worried that even if I have a carrot stick half way through the day, that this would class as breaking the fasting hours, is that right? I aim to go for 12 hours straight but there's no way that I can drink black tea I've tried and it makes me feel sick. I guzzled a couple of herb teas on Monday only to discover that they do have a few calories in them, meaning 2 or 3. Author Mimi says one thing and Michael Mosley says another and... I'm confused."

My concern is that I'm worried that even 2-3 calories every so often throughout the day might put pay to the other benefits of this eating plan. I drank a couple of ginger teas yesterday only to find that they are 3 cals each. I thought they were zero so I guess I broke the fast even though those calories were included in my 500 cal limit :-/ Any info you can give me, most gratefully received.

Have a good day
Annie x
carorees wrote: 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?


Hi Caroline,

Thanks so much for this info, I had no idea a Vegan diet also worked this way.

It's definitely got to be worth trying, the only challenge will be to try to get enough calories into him, as he has very little appetiite at the moment. The hospital dieticians are pushing the 'Fortisip' drinks for complete nutrition, but these are mainly milk protein based, so quite the opposite to Vegan. It's obviously not something we'd discuss with the doctors/dieticians, as I'm sure they'd just pooh pooh the whole thing, but I'm definitely going to be working on this to try the get the balance right for him.

Once again Caroline, thanks so much for this, the information and help you provide on this forum is absolutely brilliant!
Hi Evie

I think there is starting to be some evidence that plants contain many chemicals that make life unpleasant for cancer cells. This combined with their lower protein content which lowers IGF-1 reduces cancer risk. Milk protein has been shown to increase IGF-1 so I am not sure that Fortisip would be the best option. How about nuts? They are high in calories and some appear to have extra health benefits too (I need to check this so it may be woo).

Good luck to you both.
Hi Annie (Mettamezzo)

I think the honest answer to the question of whether it makes any difference to break a total fast to a small extent, and if not then how small is 'small', is: we don't know. The 5:2 diet as espoused by Dr M and followed by most of us is not really about a total fast, and grazing through the day is quite within the rules.

But if you buy into the idea that a total break from calories is beneficial (Brad Pilon is particularly strong on this I think, and so are some of the experts in Dr M's Horizon programme, especially Dr Longo), then how 'total' is 'total'? In the Horizon programme Dr M fasted for 72 hours and was allowed one cup of miso soup per day (plus presumably unlimited calorie-free liquids). I have some sachets - each is just under 20 calories.

Caroline wrote somewhere here that small intakes of calories may not break a fast (ketosis?) - in which case milk in tea and coffee would be fine, also bouillon/miso soup.

As I see it there are 3 possible variants which are all '5:2 diets' but attempt to maximise the fasting benefits (as opposed to pure calorie restriction):

  • 5:20 Zero - literally zero calories for 20 hours, starting from your last food on the previous (non-fasting) night, but can anyone do this on a long-term basis? I guess if you love water it's okay...
  • 5:20 Max - minimal calories for 20 hours, I would say that this allows milk in tea and coffee, bouillon or miso soup, but cap the intake at 20 (?) calories per 'sitting' and 50 calories through the 20 hour period.
  • 5:20 Lite - allowing say up to 100 calories through the 20 hour period.

What I am doing at the moment would come under '5:20 Max'. I don't find it too hard, in fact it is easier than eating during the day, it stores up the calories for the evening. Hopefully it is healthier than grazing too; however so far my Ketostix haven't confirmed ketosis (fat-burning).

Caroline or Phil might be able to give a more scientific answer!
dom, I wouldn't read too much into the ketostix not being positive. If you are using the ketones produced for energy then they will not be getting into the urine. They probably wouldn't show positive until you use up all your glycogen stores and as you may have up to 2000 or so calories stored as glycogen and you do produce some ketones before you run out of glycogen, it could take a while. Some say as much as 4 days!
Thanks very much Dominic, I too would feel better with 5:20 Max. I actually went 16 hours without any food, so I think I could cope with another 4 hours on top. I will drink my ginger tea, water and have the occasional coffee with some milk and I should be ok. I'll give it a go on properly on Monday. I find grazing makes me feel more hungry. I get into a mindset that I'm not going to eat and once I get over the rubbling stomach and a bit of a headache, I start to feel better and can carry on. If I give into the 'rumble' and even nibble a carrot stick, it kind of gets my appetite going and I feel worse. I woke this morning after fasting yesterday and didn't feel hungry at all. I only ate an omelette this afternoon because I know I'm going to be going out to dinner later and we will have a glass of wine or two, I didn't want to drink on a completely empty stomach!

Thanks for taking the time to write Dominic, much appreciated.

Regards
Annie

PS. Where do you get Ketostix from?!
Hi Annie, I know what you mean about once you start eating, it's hard to stop - better never to start! The Ketostix were from here. Regards Dominic
Mettamezzo

I drink tea CONSTANTLY while fasting
BUT its just liquid - so my digestive tract is getting a 24 hour break from having to deal with any solids at all
which it seems to like :-)
Thanks Dominic :)
dominic wrote: As I see it there are 3 possible variants which are all '5:2 diets' but attempt to maximise the fasting benefits (as opposed to pure calorie restriction):

  • 5:20 Zero - literally zero calories for 20 hours, starting from your last food on the previous (non-fasting) night, but can anyone do this on a long-term basis? I guess if you love water it's okay...
  • 5:20 Max - minimal calories for 20 hours, I would say that this allows milk in tea and coffee, bouillon or miso soup, but cap the intake at 20 (?) calories per 'sitting' and 50 calories through the 20 hour period.
  • 5:20 Lite - allowing say up to 100 calories through the 20 hour period.

What I am doing at the moment would come under '5:20 Max'. I don't find it too hard, in fact it is easier than eating during the day, it stores up the calories for the evening. Hopefully it is healthier than grazing too; however so far my Ketostix haven't confirmed ketosis (fat-burning).

Hi dominic,

I have read an old version of Brad Pilon's Eat Stop Eat (ESE), he who advocates a 24h fast (7pm to 7pm for instance) and I succeeded for a few weeks, but I couldn't do it on a long-term basis. The hunger pangs usually became too difficult to quell past 3pm and, when I did succeed in fasting for 24 hours, I found that I was over-eating after the fast.

Based on that experience, I have found it much easier to not eat between 7pm (non-fasting dinner) and 4 pm the following day, when I'll have a 60 kcal snack (crispbread + artichoke dip), thereby achieving a 20hr-fast during which I drink black coffee (I have always had my coffee unadorned, so no hardship there) and liberal amounts of plain mint herbal tea.
This keeps me going until 7 pm, when I'll have a fasting dinner of around 400 kcal and nothing else until (non-fasting) breakfast the following day, thereby achieving a short (12-13 hr) overnight fast.

I fast 3 times a week (Mon-Wed-Fri), and find that much easier than my attempts at ESE.
Hi Keihira, interesting to hear that you have found the 20-hour fast works so well. On a non-fasting day I tend to like having a few things later in the evening (fruit, chocolate!), so I reckon my 20 hours as being say 10:30pm to say 6:30pm, otherwise very similar. But I am only doing 2 days in 7.

I'm hoping we are aren't all going to learn that you really need a much longer fast than 20 hours to get the serious health benefits!

P.S. If you are over the rainbow does that put you in Oz?
dominic wrote: I'm hoping we are aren't all going to learn that you really need a much longer fast than 20 hours to get the serious health benefits!


Relying again on Brad Pilon's research into the benefits of fasting (well worth a read), I aim for 15 hrs minimum.

Based on the timetable above, I would have a non-fasting dinner at 7pm (I don't nibble after dinner :wink:), have a light snack for lunch (17 hr-fast) and a light dinner around 7pm... but I get on well with the 20hr-fast, so I keep this as a back-up, should something go awry with my plans...

dominic wrote: P.S. If you are over the rainbow does that put you in Oz?
I wish! :lol:
If seeking maximum ketosis or minimum insulin I would avoid carbs & sugar for as long as possible in the fasting day. Milk might be a bit high in lactose but the alternatives like unsweetened soya / almond / coconut milk could help.

I differentiate the carbs from other calories, 10 ml of MCT oil would be 90 cals and promote ketosis but 25g of carbs or 100 cals would knock ketone for six.
Phil, do you think a little milk in tea or coffee is enough to break ketosis? What is MCT oil? The only carbs I have on a fasting day before evening are milk in tea/coffee (and then only because people at work make it for me and it seems rude to refuse it!) I also try to keep carbs lowish on the evening before a fast - seems to make fasting (even) easier.
dominic wrote: What is MCT oil?


MCT = Medium-chain triglyceride

They're fatty acids which are easily absorbed by the bod without necessitating energy (inert source of energy).
Some research shows that they can promote fat oxidation and reduce hunger.

Coconut oil = medium-chain triglyceride
Human milk = long-chain triglyceride
Cow, goat, sheep milk = short-chain triglyceride


Black coffee + coconut oil = reduced(~ish!) hunger pangs
71 posts Page 4 of 5
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