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The Fast Diet The Intermittent Day Diet The 5:2 Diet by Dr Moseley

Updated on July 1, 2014

The Fast Diet Book by Dr Michael Moseley with Mimi Spencer Celebrity Nutritionist

Dr Moseley on the Fast 5:2 Diet

Another opinion on the Fast Diet

Opinion on the Fast Diet

The Fast Diet means lots of fruit and veg
The Fast Diet means lots of fruit and veg
The Intermittent Fast Diet
The Intermittent Fast Diet
The Fast Diet the book
The Fast Diet the book
For when the hunger pangs strike
For when the hunger pangs strike
The Fast Diet and going back to basics
The Fast Diet and going back to basics
Typical day on the Fast Diet
Typical day on the Fast Diet
The Fast Diet or the 5:2 Diet
The Fast Diet or the 5:2 Diet
Dr Michael Moseley
Dr Michael Moseley
The first few days on the Fast Diet aint easy
The first few days on the Fast Diet aint easy

The Fast Diet

Contrary to what the the title of my article says the Fast Diet is not specifically a quick fix immediate solution to any weight or health issues you may have. Because lets face it diets that are designed to lose weight rapidly usually mean that once you start putting any morsel of food back into your mouth again the weight piles back on.

The Fast Diet instead is more often known as the 5:2 Diet or the Intermittent Day Diet. This particular approach to weight loss recently received a lot of publicity on the UK BBC channel when they broadcast a documentary on their Horizon Program all about the benefits of the 5:2 Diet.

It was a Dr. Michael Mosley a Medical Journalist who delved deeply into the science behind the Fast Diet on the program. The 5:2 Diet basically works on the principal of restricting yourself to a low calorie diet two days a week and then being free to eat normally on the other five days. Dr Michael Mosley also gave a fascinating insight into the amount of science that also exists to back up the Fast Diet .

Mimi Spencer who is a very well established award winning fashion and food writer then later collaborated with Dr Michael Mosley on the publication of their book on the topic. I have just finished reading this book. The book is called The Fast Diet by Dr Michael Moseley and Mimi Spencer and is already a bestseller.

The book delves into all the science behind the diet. Also it explains that you just need to restrict yourself to a 600 calorie a day diet for two days a week (or 500 calories a day for us ladies) and then you can resume your normal eating pattern on the other five days. The great news is if you do this you will not only lose weight but will also benefit from a number of other health benefits too such as:

Health Benefits of the Fast Diet according to the book

  • Lower your risk of Diabetes
  • Lower your risk of Heart Disease
  • Lower your risk of Cancer
  • Lose weight and be healthier

The book The Fast Diet also includes sample menu plans for both men and women on the Intermittent Fast Diet as well as calorie counter charts.

NB: Please note too that I am not a Doctor or a Nutritionist and this article is merely my interpretation of the facts that I gathered from the book The Fast Diet by Dr Michael Moseley and Mimi Spencer. For the full details of this diet plan and the accompanying research completed as well as for other clarification on the diet please refer to this book.

The science behind the 5:2 Fast Diet

Dr Michael Mosley says that in order to delve into the science behind Intermittent fasting we have got to go right back to the start. When humankind had to rely on going out and hunting down something to eat for their dinner. Some days you might strike it lucky and you had steak but on other days you might have a bad run of things and have nothing at all to eat at the end of the day.

So basically the human body evolved during a time when feast or famine mode was the norm. Dr Mosley also maintains in the book that the body responds so well to intermittent fasting because it ideally mimicks the way humans have evolved i.e. when you had to go out and run after your meal, successfully pierce it with a spear and then drag it home you weren’t always successful.

Today however we are just not used to experiencing hunger. We have all become accustomed to three meals a day with countless snacks in between. That’s why Dr Moseley also maintains that the 5:2 Diet puts us back in touch with our bodies as well a s allowing us to regain control over our weight and health again. Also most importantly that it is the start of a lifestyle change that will improve the way we live and eat in the longer term. The Fast Diet helps to retrain our brains into realizing that feeling a few hunger pangs is not the end of the world. Which in turn helps our metabolisms to work more effectively again.

Undoubtedly today despite all the knowledge we have about food and health obesity is now becoming a health issue of mammoth proportions. Back in the 1970’s the average child was expected to go four hours in between meals without any snacks but now this is down to three hours. Then when we factor in the countless snacks that we all have readily available constantly these days then that adds up to a lot more calories.

Dr Moseley also states in the book that he believes that the theory that it is best to eat little and often has largely been fueled by food manufacturers and certain diet groups

He also looks into the term Hormesis which he basically summarizes as meaning that which does not kill us will really make us stronger. The Fast Diet goes into this process in great detail but just to summarize: For example when you lift weights it is actually very stressful on the body and can actually tear or damage your muscles. So in order to counteract this, the body ups its game so to speak to deal with this new challenge and as a result of hormeis your muscles become stronger and then your body can can cope with the weightlifting much more effectively.

So the principle of Hormesis is what makes the 5: 2 Fast Diet work i.e. as Dr Moseley say the The Fast Diet book on page 25: ‘..A little poison is good for you,’ is a colourful way of describing the theory of hormesis – the idea that when a human, or indeed any other creature, is exposed to a stress or toxin it can toughen them up..’

Doctor Valter Longo and the Fast Diet

Dr Moseley goes to visit Professor Valter Longo who is the director of the University of Southern California’s Longevity Institute. He is a long term convert of the Fast Diet. His family are of Italian descent and he also follows a high vegetable low protein type diet that seems to work very well for him.

Professor Valter stays slim by skipping lunch to keep his weight down and then maybe twice a year he goes on a fast for a number of days. He maintains that going without food for even short periods switches on a number of ‘repair genes.’ So he also believes that continuing with intermittent fasting over a longer time frame can also help the body to fight ageing and disease.

Valter has a number of mice who live by the intermittent fasting method and amazingly they all live twice as long as any other mice. Also these mice are also very healthy and don’t seem to get diabetes or cancer. There is a lot more technical detail than this in the book but so if you are interested in knowing more you should definitely purchase same.

How to start the 5:2 Fast Diet

So after Dr Moseley had spoken to a number of advocates of Intermittent Fasting he came up with his version of the the 5:2 Intermittent Fast Diet.

Dr Moseley said that for him it was simply the most workable eating plan that he could easily stick to.

For full details on what you should do before you begin the diet see pages 60 to 70 of The Fast Diet book. Or Just to quickly summarize this is what it is recommended that you do before beginning The Fast Diet.

Preparation for the 5:2 Intermittent Fast Diet

  • Weigh yourself i.e. face your demons head on so you know where you are.
  • DXA (used to be called a DEXA Scan) stands for Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry Scan. This test is very expensive and not strictly necessary unless you are completely determined to be very precise. What it does is measures your body fat as a percentage of your total weight. Or if you are on a budget or eager to get started there is always the old faithful Body Mass Index estimator.
  • Instead you could use the old fashioned method of calculating your Body Mass Index here is a link to a website that will even do all the hard work for you
  • Keep in mind that if you have a high amount of muscle (I wish) this reading might not be totally accurate.
  • Measure your stomach and note the horrible truth.
  • Dr Moseley also recommends the following Blood tests: (1) Fasting glucose (2) cholesterol (3) Triglycerides (4) IGF-1 test. Full details of all these are available in the book The Fast Diet by Dr Michael Moseley with Mimi Spencer.
  • Or if like me you just don't really feel you need to know all the science then you might just want to note your cholesterol, weigh yourself, do your BMI and measure yourself too. That much was scary enough for me.

Which way do I do the 5:2 Fast Diet?

The options for doing the diet include the following:

  1. Two consecutive days per week you must stick to a low calorie diet i.e. 500 calories for a woman or 600 calories for a man for two days a week. Then on the other five days of the week you can eat what you like. Some people like to get the pain over with relatively quickly in the week by doing the fast on a Monday and Tuesday. Others might choose two other non-consecutive days that fit in best with their lifestyle or work with their own particular routine. Like a Monday and Thursday. The biggest drawback to doing the two days together is that it is a forty eight hour commitment altogether and that just seems a bit daunting for some people (me included). So instead it is okay to pick two separate days a week and just work with whatever suits your life the best.
  2. How will you eat your calories i.e. will you choose to have one meal a day or decide to split your calorie allowance into two or three smaller meals? Dr Moseley says to remember that it is a fast diet which is going to get your body working more effectively by prolonging the period's in between when you eat. So you should try to have a good gap in between when you eat. Dr Moseley himself chooses to eat at 7 in the morning and not again until 7 in the evening. During the day he just has Herbal tea or a dash of lemon juice in water to stave off the hunger. This is what Dr Moseley has said about his eating habits on a Fast Day.

    'My method is to wake up on a Fast Day morning and have breakfast of around 300 calories at about 7am, before going to work. Then I drink lots of calorie-free fluid but go without food until 7pm, when I have a 300 calorie supper with my family (I eat the 300 calories, they tend to eat rather more).

    I think of it is as ‘a day of fasting’. This makes it straightforward to explain and understand. However, as some of you have pointed out, if you eat supper at 7pm on the night before a Fast and then have a normal breakfast on the day after a Fast, you can argue that you are actually eating 600 calories over the course of 36 hours (7pm Fast Day 1 until 7am two days later).'

    However some people find that this is just too long to go without food and after experimenting over the past two weeks I have settled on a 100 calorie breakfast at 7am, a 200 calorie lunch at 2pm and a 200 calorie dinner at 7pm. With lots of herbal tea or just normal tea with a tiny dash of skimmed milk throughout the day.

    You could also decide to do the Fast Diet from 2pm one day to 2pm the next day or from 12pm to 12pm just whatever fits for you really. Dr Moseley has the following to say about this version.

    'If, however, you decide to fast from 2pm until 2pm, as some fasters do, you would have a normal lunch on Day 1, then a 300 calorie supper on Day 1 and a 300 calorie breakfast on Day 2. If you have a normal lunch on Day 2 this would be a 24-hour fast, full stop. You can, of course, decide to skip lunch on Day 2 and wait till supper to break your fast.

    On the 2pm-2pm method, because your fasting window is diminished, your overall weekly calorie count will probably be higher than with the 7am-7am method. You will probably lose weight more slowly.

    Some people find it hard to sleep when they are hungry and for them a 7pm to 7pm method might be easier. That way you never go to bed hungry. Again weight loss will be slower.

  3. Or if you are very enthusiastic you can do three days of fasting a week if you want for faster results but this can cause you to lose interest faster.
  4. Dr Moseley has also decided to keep up the diet one day a week in the longer term to maintain his health benefits and weight loss.

The most important element to the diet is to find a pattern that works and stick to it. For me I am trying two non-consecutive days i.e. Tuesday and Friday from 7am to 7pm with the calories spread 200, 100 and 200. I have added a couple of sample recipes in this Hub also although once you stick to the calorie limitations you should be okay although obviously a bowl of salad is going to be highly beneficial to your body whereas as a bar of chocolate as one of your meals is definitely not recommended. Good luck.


Irish Split Pea Soup

Cast your vote for Split Pea Soup

200 Calorie meal

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 35 min
Yields: 12


  • 1/2 Ham Steak, Chop up
  • 8 Cups of fat free broth
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Parsley
  • 1 medium onion, Dice onion
  • 1lb of dried peas


  1. Chop the onion and dice the ham steak.
  2. Add the olive oil and the onion to the pan and sauté for 5 minutes.
  3. Then add in the peas your stock and the seasoning to the pan. Then bring to the boil. Once this is done reduce the heat, cover and simmer while stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. Cook ham steak until brown and cooked through. When pea mixture is done, add mixture to a blender and add half & half, puree until desired consistency (more half & half can be added to adjust). Empty blender contents back into pan. Add cooked ham to the mix, and stir in good. Ready to serve.
Nutrition Facts
Calories 193
Calories from Fat0
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.


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    Post Comment

    • thewritingowl profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Kelly Godley 

      5 years ago from Ireland

      Thanks for reading Chitrangadasharon and hopefully the fast diet will help me get healthier too.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      5 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very nice and important information for dieters, because dieting does need some understanding and planning. This will definitely help many, who want to do fast diet methodically. Shared and voted up!

      Thanks for sharing!

    • thewritingowl profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Kelly Godley 

      5 years ago from Ireland

      Thank you for your nice comment. As diets go it certainly one of the easiest I have come across to date but of course still requires some work and will power.


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