|Photo taken from the diet website link|
I saw, yet another, article on 5:2 in a magazine today. This magazine was aimed at young women. This saddened me as I don't think 5:2 is something women should enter in to without doing research. Certainly not young, young women.
The point of this diet is that, in the western world, we are able to get food (and unhealthy refined foods) at any point. Our bodies normally regenerate when hungry, but this function has been slightly tampered with in modern world. Therefore 'controlled starving' yourself kick starts the brain into survival mode. It's a diet that reprogrammed the body- starting with the brain. It is supposed to have benefits for blood pressure, fighting Alzheimer's, reducing fats stored in the body and much more
|One recipe off my blog a while back... woops!|
It has become popular mainly duet to several instagram/twitter pictures of fat men who have 6-packs after taking part in the diet. Most seem to say they *just* did 5:2. Sound good? Hold your horses... there are a few things you might want to think about. Especially if you are a girl....
- There have only been a few legitimate clinical tests. More importantly these tests have only used a few people- mostly MEN. They are attempting to source more results through wider test cases.
- While there are some very promising results from initial test subjects, there are been no long term studies into the effects of 5:2. How does it affect your health long term? Do you need to keep this diet up for life?
- Worryingly initial indications seem to be towards the improvement of men's health, with little attention paid to women.
- With a little digging I found that women could have quite serious side affects from the 5:2 diet- including loss of fertility, hair loss, thinning of nails, dullness of skin, terrible mood swings, insomnia and disturbed sleep patterns...
- (Incidentally disturbed sleep and insomnia carry their own risks but that is a different post!)
- Those that claim to have reduced clothing size and cultivate a 6-pack without doing ANY exercise (and just 5:2) are probably lying and have had to Photoshop their Pinocchio noses back to normal size on the photographs. Diet and exercise work together. There is no quick (and lazy) fix.
Upon reading further into this diet, it appears that, if you are female then this type of diet could make your body shutdown and conserve resources. This is what happens to those with eating disorders as their bodies. As food and nutrients are withheld, the body stops non-vital functions (periods, making nice glossy hair, making strong nails etc) in order to maintain essential functions for as long as possible. Men's bodies are programmed to fight and put up with periods of low food as they 'go out hunting and gathering'. Lets face it, most men go bald anyway and they don't carry babies so they don't have as much to loose! Women's bodies do a lot, and the outside reflects what is going on internally. Some sports coaches love this diet for their athletes and I can see how it could hold many benefits depending on your goals.
|Marzipan fruit is healthy, right...? It is fruit after all ;)|
I'm not saying this diet definitely doesn't work. I'm not saying it does work. I'm saying that if you are a woman and hoping to have kids one day, then it's worthwhile doing some research. If you are beyond kids then this probably wont matter as much but it is still worth researching. In all cases, it is worth talking to your doctor and monitoring your health very closely. Please don't take magazine health at face value and find yourself with health issues later on.
I wont be taking part in the 5:2 diet. I might be sticking my neck out here, but I don't think it is something I will ever do. (I'm not afraid to eat my words!) Personally I'd rather eat healthily and in a controlled way, than drastically yo-yo between eating lots for 5 days and eating minuscule amounts on 2 days. I've always been told to 'eat breakfast like a king, lunch like Prince and evening meal like a pauper' i.e. a large breakfast, medium lunch and small evening meal.
For more information, please visit the NHS (link), the 5:2 website (link) or just visit plain old Google and ask it about female 5:2 experience and test cases.
Are you doing 5:2? Do you know anyone who is talking part? Do you eat large meals or small ones? Are diets and good or bad idea. I'd love to know your thoughts :)