You're not allowed to eat, you're starving and you're in a bad mood all the time. When we are confronted with the term "fasting", we often only associate negative things with the diet and quickly turn away. After all, we need our nutrients, we have to take care of our bodies properly and we don't want to run around all the time in a hangry state. Not to mention the muscles we've worked so hard to build...
Yes, fasting can lead to muscle breakdown and irritability. And yes, you can also be hungry and tired. But, and this is the good news, not every fasting method has these disadvantages. For example, with the 5:2 method you don't have to worry about your muscles, you are much more flexible than with more extreme forms of fasting and also ensure that your body is purified, your cardiovascular system is healthier and your intestines are supported .
If that doesn't sound good, does it?
What is 5:2 intermittent fasting?
As different as we humans are, there are as many different fasting cures. It doesn't matter whether it's therapeutic fasting, juice cures, alkaline fasting... The internet is full of approaches. Fun fact: even our ancestors fasted - albeit involuntarily, if there was no mammoth around to kill.
All fasting cures have one thing in common: they purify. Intermittent fasting according to the 5:2 method also fits in here. This option is particularly suitable for beginners, as you neither go without food for long nor do you eliminate certain foods from your menu.
The 5:2 method is also called 'intermittent fasting'. Intermittent means "interrupted". In plain language: The normal eating rhythm is interrupted in a certain way, depending on the type of fasting.
For example, with the so-called 16:8 fast, you have an 8-hour window in which you eat normally. For the next 16 hours you don't eat anything, but fast.
The numbers in 5:2 intermittent fasting, on the other hand, do not stand for hours, but for days of the week. You eat normally five days a week (ideally, of course, in a balanced and healthy way) and on the other two days you limit your calorie intake.
Instead of the recommended 1800 to 2500 calories per day, you only consume 500 calories (for women) / 600 calories (for men) on the fasting days. So you don't eat nothing - you just screw down the calorie intake. It doesn't matter whether you spread the allowed calories over one larger meal or several smaller ones. The important thing is that you don't exceed them.
You should make sure that the two fasting days do not follow each other and that you always have a non-fasting day in between. Most of the time, days during the week are better, as you are not usually seduced by “we're going out to eat” opportunities as much as on weekends.
It is also important that you tend to eat vegetables and protein-rich foods on fasting days. In this way you prevent muscle loss and stay full longer than if you eat carbohydrate-rich food. We also advise against sugary snacks and alcohol on the fasting days - they don't fill you up at all, but they do have a lot of (empty) calories. Also essential: enough water! Unsweetened tea and black coffee are also allowed.
On the other five days you eat as usual. In this way you adjust your metabolism in such a way that after 14-18 hours the fat metabolism is stimulated. Since the fasting period is only 24 hours, the body does not (yet) switch to starvation metabolism.
The goal of 5:2 fasting: eat more consciously, stimulate fat metabolism and give the body time to “take a breather”.
Is intermittent fasting healthy?
In short: Yes, it is!
Although some myths about fasting still persist, we can refute them with a clear conscience. Your heart does not weaken, nor are you constantly tired or hungry. Of course, we cannot generalize. In the end it always depends on the person. Maybe you've tried it before and are convinced that it's not for you? On the other hand, if you do the fasting properly, you will do something very good for yourself and your body in both the short and long term.
Benefits of the 5:2 Fast
- Flexibility: Every week you can choose your fasting days yourself. Even if someone asks you Monday evening if you want to have breakfast on Tuesday (although your fasting day was planned then), you can easily postpone fasting to Wednesday. In addition, strenuous sports units are allowed on the five "normal" days, so you don't have to change your training plan much. It is best to put cardio units on the fasting days.
- No sacrifices: You don't have to change your diet or do without anything completely. A piece of black chocolate? The burger at the weekend? No problem!
- Improved insulin sensitivity: A study conducted on mice showed that fasting allows cells to absorb insulin better than without. If future studies prove that the same is true for humans, it means we'll have an easier time building muscle. Because insulin prevents muscle protein breakdown and ensures that amino acids are transported to the muscles. The more insulin sensitive, the better!
- Conscious Eating: By avoiding large meals, you learn to better distinguish between appetite and hunger. The result: You eat much more consciously – especially on the non-fasting days.
- Prevention of chronic diseases: Blood lipids such as cholesterol and triglycerides are reduced . Cholesterol is used and burned for energy during fasting. This lowers the cholesterol level and thus the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
- Byebye, yo-yo effect: The small meals on fasting days do not lower your basal metabolic rate, so the unpopular yo-yo effect usually does not occur.
- Autophagy: After 14 hours of fasting, this self-cleaning process of the cell is stimulated. Cell components that are no longer required are broken down and utilized and the aging processes of the cells are slowed down.
- Intestinal health: Due to the breaks, our intestines do not have to worry about digestion, which usually takes up a lot of energy. In his “free time” he can better produce antibodies and render harmful germs harmless.
As you can see, there is almost nothing that speaks against the 5:2 method. You purify your body, develop a different attitude towards hunger vs. appetite and stimulate your fat metabolism. This method is perfect, especially if you want to slowly approach the topic first.
What do I have to consider?
With the 5:2 fast, it's not uncommon for you to lose a pound or two. This is completely normal and nothing to worry about. Eventually, more fat will be burned than if you don't fast, which in turn can affect the scale.
Are you afraid of muscle loss? This is usually (fortunately) unfounded. If you eat little or nothing for just one day, you will keep your muscles. The advantage of this method is that you have maximum flexibility in terms of your diet on the non-fasting days. You can get enough nutrients and don't have to forbid yourself anything. If you also make sure to eat enough protein on the two days of fasting, you can even build muscle with the 5:2 diet.
However, if you keep the calorie restriction permanent, muscles can of course be broken down and the immune system weakened. However, since you only consume fewer calories than usual 2 days a week, this danger is averted. Your training performance will not change either, as you will still have enough strength - as long as you don't put the hard strength training sessions on the fasting days.
You also don't have to worry about your nutrient intake. In general, it is more useful here to think not per day but per week. After all, as long as you're on target in a week, it doesn't matter if you're under two days - it's the total that counts! In addition, your body stores most of the nutrients anyway in case you don't consume them every day.
Another important point: If you suffer from eating disorders, are diabetic or have other chronic diseases, it is best to clarify your diet with your family doctor! Under certain circumstances, the - even if not complete - renunciation of food can not go well with your illnesses, can be a trigger, etc.
Fasting according to the 5:2 method + Löwenanteil = Perfect Match!
So the theory is settled. Now let's get down to business. As mentioned, you can eat normally five days a week and don’t have to change anything. Switching to 500/600 calories two days a week, on the other hand, may take some getting used to. But don't worry: if you make sure you're eating enough protein and fiber, you'll stay full longer, properly nourish your muscles and do something good for your body.
And how could that be better than with one of our dishes? All our organic ready meals have between 480 and 612 calories per glass - so they are perfect for your two fasting days! How about half a glass of Italian bean stew for lunch and half a glass of Chili Vegano for dinner?
Of course, you can also start the day with a breakfast of low -fat quark, an apple and berries and treat yourself to our chickpea curry for late lunch... No matter what you choose: all our dishes are made for the 5:2 diet. They score with a lot of protein and a full load of fiber and thus ensure a long-lasting feeling of satiety even on fasting days.
And you'll see: With the Löwenanteil, even the difficult days of fasting will pass in no time...