healthy food

The 5:2/ Fast Diet

Dr MoseleyPhoto ©BBC.

Dr Moseley of the 5:2/Fast Diet fame.

So like the millions of others, I too have succumbed to sampling this ‘new’ (I say new, but it’s based on ancient principles of fasting) diet from Dr Michael Moseley. Like many, I watched his Horizon documentary: ‘Eat, Fast and Live Longer’ on BBC2 in total awe, rewatching it with my mother, both resolute we would give it a go, eating far less, and far more healthy stuff.

healthy food

The promise of preventing cancer, diabetes and reversing the impact of ageing if you fasted for two days a week, eating normally for 5, had us eager to try it. At least it saves on Creme de la Mer, right?

Here comes the science bit:

Humans have a growth hormone called IGF -1 which helps us grow as children but ages us in adulthood.  High levels of this hormone leads to diabetes, heart disease and cancer in men and women so if you lower these levels (as demonstrated in Horizon through fasting and reducing protein substantially), cells switch from growth mode to repair mode and it uses up glucose so burns fat and you lose weight. Simple.

Moseley’s transformation in just 5 weeks was encouragement enough. He lost over a stone in weight and his blood markers, like IGF-1, glucose and cholesterol, improved meaning if he continues, he will greatly reduce his risk of contracting age-related diseases like cancer and diabetes. He literally changed his body chemistry.

This is my second week and much to my amazement the fasting days were not as hard as I’d imagined (I pretty much thought I’d eat my right arm by midday or run to my local corner shop and raid the penny sweet counter but I didn’t). Yes I was hungry but no way as irritable as I (or my husband) had worringly first thought.

The rest of the week I ate sensibly and not as much as usual (the tummy must shrink from the fasting days) but I did eat treats too and witnessed results pretty quickly. Many say they lose 4 lbs a week. Perhaps this could be a healthy way to lose my baby weight?  I think what keeps me going on the days where 500 cals only (although I usually go to 700 in all honesty) are consumed (they recommend 600 for men on fasting days) is the thought I can eat normally the following day and studies show it doesn’t actually matter what you eat on non fasting days.

It’s important to add that you’re not meant to fast on consecutive days (your body might go into starvation mode which defeats the purpose and holds onto the weight) or exercise, so it feels doable and so far, has been. I can’t say how long I will continue but for now, it appears to be working.  An example day would be to eat a small breakfast of poached eggs on spinach, lots of water and homemade vegetable soup in the day, before a small dinner of chicken and salad in the evening.

This diet is not for everyone so please check with your Dr before starting it.

Here are some interesting articles shedding more light on Moseley’s journey: The Telegraph and BBC News.

Here is  my father George Psarias (award winning restaurateur’s) recipe for Greek Bean Fassolada at 233 calories a portion:

Greek beansPhotograph © Peter Broadbent

Tomatoes, olive oil and dried beans: the proud harvest of many a country family in Greece. Some people consider Fasoladato be the national dish of Greece; it is certainly a staple diet in many homes as it’s economical and healthy. Why not try it on your fasting day?



Often served at the Olive Greek Restaurants in Leeds as a special.

Recipe © George Psarias.

You can also buy books on Moseley’s diet as well as recipe books.


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