MAR 21, 2018 09:44 AM PDT

The 5:2 Fasting Diet Benefits the Heart

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker
3 20 656

A popular fasting diet called the 5:2 or “Fast Diet” may actually be better than traditional calorie-restricting diets for heart health. Scientists from the University of Surrey found recently that the 5:2 diet lowered levels of fat in the blood and reduced blood pressure.

The 5:2 diet was popularized by British doctor and journalist Michael Mosley. The diet contains no requirements about which foods to eat, only about when you should eat them. Five days of the week are normal eating days, and the other two days of the week restrict calories to 500-600 per day, with at least one non-fasting day in between the two restricted calorie days.

In a unique new study, researchers compared the effects of both the 5:2 diet and a traditional daily calorie restriction diet on metabolism and clearing fat from the blood after eating. Unlike past studies, the present project shifted attention away from blood risk markers taken in the fasted state.

Researchers recruited overweight study participants who were randomly assigned to either the 5:2 diet or the traditional diet. Those on the traditional diet advised to eat 600 calories or less per day than their estimate requirements for weight maintenance (for women, 1400 calories, for men, 1900 calories).

Those on the 5:2 diet successfully lost five percent of their weight in an average of 59 days, while those on the daily calorie restriction diet took an average of 73 days to lose the same amount. Researchers found that the participants on the 5:2 diet cleared a fat called triglyceride from a meal given to them more efficiently than the participants on the daily restriction diet.

Additionally, researchers saw a larger decrease in systolic blood pressure in the participants on the 5:2 diet, a well-studied risk factor for cardiac events like heart attack and stroke.

Twenty percent of patients from both groups dropped out because they either could not tolerate the diet or could not lose five percent of their weight at the beginning of the study. Researchers are working on ways to make the 5:2 diet more tolerable.

“For those who do well and are able stick to the 5:2 diet, it could potentially have a beneficial impact on some important risk markers for cardiovascular disease, in some cases more so than daily dieting,” explained the University of Surrey’s Dr. Rona Antoni. “However, we need further studies to confirm our findings, to understand the underlying mechanisms and to improve the tolerability of the 5:2 diet."

The present study was published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Sources: Healthline, University of Surrey

About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
MAR 27, 2018
Cardiology
MAR 27, 2018
Stroke Drug Reduces Potentially Dangerous Inflammation
Reducing inflammation as soon as possible after stroke symptoms begin to appear could save patients from devastating brain damage. In a new study from the
APR 28, 2018
Cardiology
APR 28, 2018
Eating Dark Chocolate Reduces Stress, Improves Mood
We’ve heard that dark chocolate is good for us in reasonable amounts, but two unique studies from the Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences
MAY 09, 2018
Cardiology
MAY 09, 2018
Single Cells to Thank for Rebuilding Blood Vessels
During a process called angiogenesis, new blood vessels form as cells divide continuously to create new layers of tissue. But is the division of those cell
JUN 04, 2018
Cardiology
JUN 04, 2018
What the Zebrafish Heart Says About Congenital Heart Defects
Heart defects are the most common congenital defect, yet scientists still struggle to understand why they occur. A new study from the Max Delbruck Center f
JUN 26, 2018
Cardiology
JUN 26, 2018
Micropacemaker Provides New Cardiac Pacing Options
Scientists are working on the world’s first micropacemaker system designed to be implanted in the pericardial sac surrounding the heart. From the Chi
JUL 07, 2018
Cardiology
JUL 07, 2018
Hybrid Imaging of the Heart Predicts Heart Attack Risk
The combination of two different types of imaging seems to be the most accurate way to predict heart attacks. Based on studies from the University Hospital
Loading Comments...