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Basics of 5:2 Diet

What is the 5:2 Diet?

The 5:2 diet is currently the most popular diet around – the basic principle is eating normal for five days while the other two you restrict calories to 500-600 per day. So, it’s probably more of an eating rather than an actual diet.

There are no actual food requirements of what you can and can’t eat but of course you should ideally be making healthy choices, if your goal is to maintain or lose weight. A lot of people prefer this way of eating as it means they are not constantly counting calories.

If you are short on time and you cannot handle preparing specific meals and juices, it’s quite an easy eating pattern to get used to. You eat pretty much what you like within reason, still relatively healthy of course. It is recommended to eat a ‘normal’ number of calories five days a week and for two days that don’t have to be consecutive, you eat just 25 per cent of your usual calorie total which is on average 500 for women and 600 for men.

The ease of the 5:2 diet and the fact you can eat pretty much what you like five days a week, are key to its popularity. Dieters are recommended to consume a ‘normal’ number of calories five days a week and then, for two, non-consecutive days, eat just 25% of their usual calorie total – 500 calories for women and 600 for men.

Even though there are no restrictions on the types of food you eat, obviously we would encourage you to have a diet rich in raw, living, plant-based foods if your goal is to reach optimal health. This eating pattern is not a diet but a simple adjustment to your way of life which will help achieve long term weight loss.

You should still keep in mind that weight loss varies from person to person and definitely depends on different factors, such as; the amount of the meals you consume, your age, lifestyle and health conditions.

How to do the 5:2 diet?

Before starting the 5:2 diet, make sure to define your body’s needs. If you want to lose weight by reducing your calorie intake, this diet suits you. But if you are looking for a cleanse or detox, we recommend other plans, such as juicing or a raw vegan diet. Because solely doing the 5:2 diet and not monitoring what you eat strictly, you will only create a calorie deficit for weight loss.
Diabetic Food Plan

Learn about Intermittent Fasting program at TheLifeCo

Benefits of Calorie Restriction and 5:2 Diet


Modern science has proven that 5 2 fasting has some of the following benefits:

  • Improving brain function
  • Reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer
  • Weight-loss
  • Improving cholesterol levels and blood-sugar control.
  • Balancing ghrelin levels, also known as
    your “hunger hormone”
  • Helps suppress inflammation 
  • Fights free radical damage 
  • Boosts fat burning 
  • Promotes anti aging effect 
  • May improve sleep quality


During your low-calorie days on 5:2 diet, you may experience symptoms similar to detoxing such as headaches and dizziness, to combat this make sure you hydrate yourself with lots of water and herbal teas.

On the days where you reduce your calorie intake make sure you eat nutritious options such as fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Avoid fasting on two consecutive days – instead break your week up, for example, by fasting on Monday and Thursday – this helps prevent tiredness and low energy.

If you’re struggling to lose that extra 3kgs, or just looking for a way to kick-start a health journey, the 5:2 diet, intermittent fasting program is a really great way to reset your body and make you think effectively about how you eat.

If you want to know more about intermittent fasting to apply 5:2 diet, you can download free intermittent fasting e-book to start learning about this method. On the e-book you can find about what is intermittent fasting about, what are the benefits of it and more info!

Healthy weight loss

Calorie restriction is a key aspect of the 5:2 diet and other intermittent fasting methods. When you restrict your calorie intake on fasting days, your body is forced to use stored energy (fat) to meet its energy needs since it isn’t getting enough calories from food.

When the body is in a calorie deficit, meaning it is burning more calories than it is consuming, it begins to tap into its fat stores for energy. Over time, this can lead to weight loss. By consistently practising calorie restriction on fasting days, the body continues to burn stored fat, helping to promote weight loss.

Reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes

Taking type 2 diabetes under control mostly depends on lifestyle choices and nutrition is the most important. With healthier nutrition choices such as including more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and reducing alcohol intake while also moderating the consumption of highly processed food, it is possible to reverse type 2 diabetes.

The 5:2 diet helps individuals manage their calorie intake day by day, advising them not to eat more than their body needs and having a lower calorie intake 2 times a week. The diet also advises to get these calories from nutritious meals. It was proven that days of fasting and calorie restriction are beneficial for balancing insulin levels and reducing insulin resistance.

Learn about Intermittent Fasting program at TheLifeCo

Which days should you fast?

During the 5:2 diet, you can choose the fasting days according to your weekly schedule. If you work, you can pick your less tiring days as your fasting days or leave the weekends as free-to-eat days. This is all up to your decision and how energized and motivated you feel during the days of the week.

The only rule here is to put at least one day of regular eating between two days of deficit to balance your energy levels. People who try the 5:2 method generally space their fasting days; for example, day choose Monday and Thursday as low calorie days.

water fasting plans

Fasting days: when should you consume your calories?

The 5:2 diet does not determine when you should be eating during the 2 fasting days. But we recommend eating during lunch and after lunch hours and leaving a fasting gap until the next day. This way, your body will have the chance to experience some level of autophagy and be renewed.

This way, you will be combining the method of intermittent fasting with 5:2 diet. But remember that even if you cannot stick to this recommendation, that is fine because the 2 days of fasting in the 5:2 diet is not about when you eat but how many calories you take.

Feeding days: can you really eat anything?

In the feeding days, or the “5 regular days” of the 5:2 diet you are free to eat! However, not everything is done without calculating their portions. Our only rule here is not to consume more calories than you need. Otherwise, the calorie deficit made in the 2 fasting days will only make up for the extra calories taken during these 5 days, and you will lose no weight.

Please remember that even though weight loss is a serious goal and important for your overall health, we should not give up on nutrition while trying to lose weight. We do not recommend taking all your calorie needs from junk food or carbs and leaving whole grains, vegetables and fruits out. While the calorie amount is highly important, so is the quality of your calorie sources.

Does the 5:2 diet work?

As weight loss depends on calorie deficit, the 5:2 diet is well-functioning. By not overeating the 5 days and reducing the calorie intake to a quarter of your average need, you can create a deficit in the other 2 days. While still feeling fulfilled and not cutting out eating throughout through the week, you can still drop the body weight you desire. The good part of the 5:2 diet is that there is almost no exception that a calorie deficit would not work for weight loss!

Frequently Askes Questions on 5:2 Diet

The 5:2 diet is a dietary approach based on the principle of a person eating normally for five days a week and consuming low-calorie meals for two days, often referred to as fasting days, typically involving an intake of around 500 calories for women and about 600 calories for men.
We cannot talk about the same and definite result for everyone. This depends on factors such as individual metabolism, starting weight, the number of fasting days, and the total calorie intake on both fasting and regular days. On average, some people may lose between 0.45 to 0.9 kilograms (1 to 2 pounds) per week.
The general principle for the 5:2 diet is that fasting days consist of 24-hour periods.
Of course. It depends on the person’s eating habits and what makes them feel comfortable. The important thing is not to exceed the total calorie limit for the fasting day.
The 5:2 diet may not be suitable for children, teenagers in their growth phase, pregnant and breastfeeding individuals, those with eating disorders, individuals with specific medical issues, and those with a very low BMI or underweight concerns.