A clinical trial has found people prefer the 5:2 diet to standard weight loss management for long-term diet, despite both methods achieving similar modest weight loss results.
5:2 diet involves two days of heavily restricting calories (500 calories for women, 600 calories for men) and five days of wisely eating.
The 5:2 diet is a popular fasting weight loss whereby dieters restrict their caloric intake on two not in order days a week and then apply wisely eating on the other five days. The diet became popular first in the UK due to the BBC Horizon documentary, which was followed by a bestselling book.
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The research at the Queen Mary University of London found that at six months, the group of the 5:2 diet had lost about 1.8 kg (4 pounds) compared to 1.7 kg (3.7 pounds) to the standard diet advice group. After one year 18 percent and 15 percent of participants lost over five percent of their body weight. At the end of the year the first group lost 1.9 kg (4.2 pounds) and the second 1.8 kg (4 pounds).
The 5:2 diet group was more likely to recommend the diet method to others or continue with it for a long time because it was easy to follow.
In addition, the researchers found that whilst initially, a weekly support group effects better in early-stage and improved devotion to the 5:2 diet, these effects weakened over time.
The research published in the scientific journal PloS One studied the long-term effects of the 5:2 diet compared to traditional weight loss advice in 300 UK participants with obesity.
Dr Katie Myers Smith, Chartered Health Psychologist and Senior Research Fellow at Queen Mary, said:”Here we’ve been able to provide the first results on the effectiveness of simple 5:2 diet advice in a real-life setting. We found that although the 5:2 diet wasn’t superior to traditional approaches in terms of weight loss, users preferred this approach as it was simpler and more attractive. Based on these findings, GPs may consider recommending the 5:2 diet as part of their standard weight management advice.”
The study consisted in a 20-minute session in which patients traditional weight loss were explained the program and key tips provided in supporting materials such as the British Heart Foundation guides ‘Facts Not Fads’ and ‘Get Active, Stay Active,’ the NHS ‘Change 4 Life’ series of booklets, and a leaflet listing local exercise resources.
While participants in the 5:2 group received a pamphlet on limiting their caloric intake on two non-consecutive days each week, with samples of meals containing the required amount of calories and recommendations to additional online help as part of an individual 20-minute session.