The fast track
Some scientists believe fasting for two days a week could improve your health. Can you have your cake and eat it, too?
Every so often, a new diet comes along that captures the public's attention. And 2013 looks set to be the year of the 5:2 diet. Rather than restricting food on a daily basis, which is the traditional approach to dieting, 5:2 means you cut your kilojoule intake for just two, non-consecutive days a week – then eat normally the rest of the time.
On fasting days, men can eat 2500 kilojoules and women 2100 kilojoules, around a quarter of the recommended daily kilojoule intake. There are no rules on what you can and can't eat – you just need to stick within the kilojoule limit.
For women, a sample fast-day menu is a breakfast of two eggs with 50 grams of smoked salmon and black coffee or tea (1000 kilojoules) and another meal of 120 grams of grilled chicken with steamed vegetables (1100 kilojoules). You're encouraged to drink plenty of water and green tea throughout the day, and men can add a slice of multigrain bread and a handful of strawberries.
Published in Sun-Herald's Sunday Life. Copyright Fairfax Media.
Intermittent fasting - where you restrict calorie intake a couple of days a week and eat what you want on others - is being heralded as the secret to losing weight and living longer.
For years we have been told to "eat little and often" and "never skip meals" in order to lose weight and keep it off.
Now, scientists are discovering that short periods of fasting could not only help us beat the bulge, they may also protect against age-related diseases.
Intermittent fasting, where you eat about 25 per cent of your daily energy needs for a couple of days a week, is being touted as potentially "revolutionary".
Studies suggest it could lower the risk of heart disease and protect against diabetes, cancer and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Published in Sunday Telegraph's body + soul. Copyright News Limited.
I'm an Aussie journalist and content editor with experience writing for newspapers, magazines and online.