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Is Intermittent Fasting the Key to Fast Weight Loss?

March 6, 2013

What’s the biggest food trend in London right now? The answer is, well, not eating.  Thousands of Brits are eating little more than 500 calories a day at the recommendation of Dr. Michael Mosley who introduced his new book, The Fast Diet this year. With a title like that, it’s not surprising that the book has consistently held the number one slot on Amazon’s UK site since January.

Before we are quick to judge this book by its cover, let's take a look at the theory behind this new diet. It started with Dr. Mosley’s BBC program “Eat, Fast, Live Longer” which documented his personal weight loss journey though intermittent fasting.  After trying extreme fasting – his first trial included one cup of low-calorie soup every 24 hours – he eventually landed on a 5:2 ration fasting diet.

People following Dr. Mosley’s advice are encouraged to eat a normal diet five days out of the week, and fast for two. This ratio makes it much more manageable for individuals to stick with a fasting diet. Five days of regular eating allows for a relatively normal lifestyle, without hindering social and work calendars too much.

The fasting days are very low calorie, about 500 for women and 600 for men. As stated in a recent New York Times article, “the secret to weight loss, according to the book, is that even after just a few hours of fasting the body begins to turn off the fat-storing mechanisms and turn on the fat-burning system.” It has been proven that the body goes into automatic recovery mode once it doesn’t have to focus on digesting food, so even just two days of fasting can make a major difference for those who want to lose weight.

The book itself is divided into two parts; the first is an outline of the program and the science behind fasting written by Dr. Mosley. The second half is written in a more approachable manner by co-author Mimi Spencer. Mimi motivates readers to stick with the diet and provides tips on how to survive your first few days of fasting. She also includes calorie information as well as fasting recipes. The US version of the diet was released last week on Amazon.

It’s important to remember that this diet certainly isn’t for everyone. A diet that works for one person isn’t guaranteed to work for another.  What do you think about The Fast Diet? Is it a diet that you think could be effective for long term weight loss?