January is dieting season and if you’ve made a resolution to lose weight this spring you’ll no doubt have been trawling the internet, magazines, papers for advice on how to do it. 

One of the most convincing sources of information about what does and doesn’t work, is our friends and family.  People who have actually done it; are doing it; have succeeded; and can tell you how much pain might be involved and how determined you need to be, are the ones we listen to most. 

It seems to the Conscious Communications team that almost everyone we speak to has tried, or is doing, the 5:2.  The regimen has captured everyone’s imaginations with its sheer simplicity and one-day-at-a-time pain philosophy.   The thought that we can fast for two days each week, then eat whatever we like on the other five, and still lose lbs and lbs, sounds just too good to be true.  So, is it?

Conscious Communications was privileged to be at a British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) conference last week, frantically scribing press releases in the back row.  It was here that we learned that the original version of the 5:2 was titled ‘The 2-Day Diet’, developed by Dr Michelle Harvie, Research Dietitian at the Genesis Prevention Centre, University Hospital of South Manchester, and based on extensive scientific research. 

The 2-Day Diet comprises two days of 500-600 calories, plus five days of healthy eating and, yes, it really does work.  But here’s the rub, you can’t eat whatever you like on the five days -that just won’t work. 

However, the good news is, unlike other diets where keeping the weight loss off seems impossible, if you succeed in losing weight with this one, you can then cut back to just one day per week of ‘fasting’ to successfully maintain the weight loss.

Palaeolithic diets were also on the agenda at the conference and, as well as discovering that the Stone Age menu contained many more phytochemicals and fibre than the modern day diet, it seems that they also had a big impact on satiety hormones and feelings of fullness after eating. 

The Conscious Communications team thinks, therefore, that in theory if we combine a healthy eating plan, based on the Palaeolithic diet, with an intermittent fasting plan (2-Day Diet), the weight loss process would be even easier.  Not so much ‘no pain, no gain’; rather ‘just a little, intermittent pain, and big gain’! 

Against the backdrop of all of this scientific evidence, the NHS in association with the British Dietetic Association (BDA) has launched its own 12 week weight-loss plan – yet another healthy eating plan with exercise included.  It sounds like so many other diets and surely adds to general dieting confusion.  No wonder the 5:2 seems so appealing in comparison.

Follow us on Twitter: @Conscious_comms. 

Recordings of four of the BNF conference presentations are available on: www.nutrition.org.uk

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