Is 5:2 diet suitable for me? - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation

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Is 5:2 diet suitable for me?

DonMega profile image

Hello guys,

Had a heart attack and triple CABG 8 months ago.

Is a 5:2 diet / lifestyle suitable for me right now or ever? 5:2 being, for 2 days of the week cut calorie intake to 600 (500 for women).

Is there a minimum intake I need to maintain every day for optimum heart health?


84 Replies

Simple answer, no. You need a proper balanced diet, if you start starving yourself in that manner you body will literally not know if it's coming or going. You would be far better concentrating on exercise if you are worried about your weight.


You would need to do a hell of a lot of exercise to lose any weight, in fact if you have had Heart Surgery I would doubt that you would be capable of the intense exercise required to burn the calories needed/required to lose weight !!! Only way to lose weight is Calorie Control

2 Covid Jabs and Flu jab this Morning hoping to stay well !!!

Sorry, that does not make any sense. Since taking up running 2 years ago my wife has lost weight despite actually eating more. Exercise is bound to increase the amount of calories burned, the problem is that people then go over the top and eat more, often as a "treat". It is simple science, if you exercise and keep your food intake the same, you will lose weight against the same intake with no exercise.

All studies show that while exercise is beneficial, it does not help with weight loss.

AubreySo profile image
AubreySo in reply to RufusScamp

I am a Physiotherapist and lifelong trainer and athlete. I am not sure what studies you are reading but that is most definitely FALSE. As others have commented, controlling your diet through caloric intake, the types of foods you eat and the timing of your meals are all important. If you combine that with a good exercise program…. Even if you walked daily bringing your target heart rate to 75% of your max heart rate for 30-45mins. (This is not a Sunday afternoon stroll type of walking), you will be guaranteed to lose weight. You have to be honest with yourself with being consistent with keeping that diet control as well. I have not trained a single client who did not lose weight! There are so many other factors such as other medical conditions such as hypothyroid issues, women during menopause, age, and sometimes just simple Genetics will determine how quickly or slowly you are able to change your natural weight… up or down!

I am not trying to be condescending, but you may need to source some more studies before quoting that “studies show” exercise does not help with weight loss.

Some common sense at last.

Calories from different sources differ in the way then body metabolises them. Protein has a much higher thermic value than sugar for example. Fructose has the same calories as sucrose but can only be metabolised by the liver and consequently have more detrimental effects physiologically including leading to metabolic syndrome. CICO works very well in the world of Newtonian physics but can’t be translated directly into human physiology because of the complexity of our endocrine system. And for those of us with metabolic syndrome what we eat is enormously important in terms of avoiding insulin resistance.

From the NHS website:You can prevent or reverse metabolic syndrome by making lifestyle changes, including:

losing weight

exercising regularly

eating a healthy, balanced diet to keep your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels under control

stopping smoking

cutting down on alcohol

I rest my case.

I have a genetic issue that means that I have low level metabolic syndrome and pre-diabetes. I do all of the above however the only way I can get my HBA1C down is by very low carb. Nothing else works and this is supported by the endocrinologist. It’s not one size fits all as we haven’t all been given the same genes. My husband eats the same as me with probs more carbs and his HBA1c is 10 points lower without even trying.

Flipflopper profile image
Flipflopper in reply to JennyRx

The only lasting way I have lost weight and kept it off was by lowering my carb intake and cutting out refined products. Basically shopping the outside isles of the grocery store. ( meats, veggies, some fruits). I actually had to eat more to lose weight. In saying that, I mean eating more of the correct foods that would nourish my body. I lost 22 lbs while I was in an arm cast that covered from my fingers to my shoulder. No excercise at all other than lifting that horrible cast lol.

. I have done CICO and ridiculous amounts of excercise my whole life…I always went down and right back up again.

DaveSpice profile image
DaveSpice in reply to AubreySo

If you are an athlete you quite likely have little understanding of overweight people, attempting to burn calories doesn't work and suggesting a vigorous walk (not a Sunday afternoon stroll) could be quite dangerous. I know a few people who have been to "trainers" and without exception they have lost a little weight and then put it all back on and some!! later when the novelty wears off.

Getting away from processed food is the very first step and cooking should exclude any deep frying Any weight loss system is totally counterproductive if is not easily maintained as a comfortable way of life.

AubreySo profile image
AubreySo in reply to DaveSpice

People seem very passionate about this discussion. I give my credentials only to state that I am not a novice at this and I do get people results safely depending on the person’s fitness level, medical history and commitment. There is no one simple answer or solution but long term lifestyle changes including exercise is ultimately the key. You can be not “overweight” or even “thin” and have high blood sugar issues, high blood pressure and cholesterol (LDL) or even have cardiovascular disease. These health markers and “possible” need for weight loss all coming together to determine your overall health. You can be 10-20lbs “overweight” based on height/age charts but be perfectly healthy, have lots of energy, and have no particular need to lose weight. We must all look at health from a bigger perspective. Don’t focus on weight alone.

Hi Donmega, I found the 5:2 an excellent weight loss programme. Dr Michael Mosley definitely knows the science. Intermittent fasting puts your body into repair mode so it’s a double plus. However it’s as much about what you eat as calories you consume so less meat, more vegetables and pulses, not too much fruit, and cut down on the white carbs. But each person reacts differently to food. I hope you find your ideal way forward to weight loss. And of course exercise keeps the heart muscle strong. Good luck.

What do you mean by "repair mode"?

As I understand it, and I’m not a professional nutritionist, if your body is not concentrating on digesting food, it starts to repair cells in the body. I’m sure Dr Mosley has a website, if not there is a book.

Mmmm. I have done a bit of research into this since your post. I have to admit, I think it's just another "fad" diet from someone trying to make a name for themselves, as another member has eluded to. The body is quite capable of doing all the things it needs to do to function, "repairing" is largely what sleep is for amongst other things, it does not need a period of fasting or low calorie intake to do this. If you decide to starve yourself for 2 days all it will do is throw your metabolism into panic mode - I have personal experience of this from someone I know who goes without regular meals for periods of time, does her best to run fairly large distances, and basically fails at either keeping her weight down or improving her performance. What is needed, is a regular, balanced diet that satisfies the bodies calorie requirement for the workload it is undertaking. It is not rocket science, if the number of calories in exceeds the number out the individual will gain weight.

We’ll have to agree to differ. It’s the only way I have lost weight and kept it off in 60 years, it worked for me. The technical term is autophagy, I believe.

I think you will find that the degrading of cells is a natural process that takes place continually in our bodies, and does not require periods of fasting or low calorie intake to occur. It is certainly not going to account for shedding excess weight to any measurable degree.

Look up autophagy and 2016 Nobel Prize inPhysiology and Medicine. Hardly fad medicine

37Polly profile image
37Polly in reply to 37Polly

BTW. I find 16 /8 eating provides enough of a daily fast period. Lots of benefits besides autophagy. Easy to adapt,

Wooodsie profile image
Wooodsie in reply to Ruthwuth

Dr Mosely has a podcast on BBC iPlayer. He's very good, I agree with you.

I would check with your GP before going on this. Seems a bit extreme. And with respect to Ruth she has not had the surgery you have had

A 5:2 diet worked for me, even more importantly I’ve kept the weight off for nearly three years now by adopting a “maintenance” version of a 5:2 where I only eat in a daily window of eight hours from 1.00pm to 9.00pm, for the other 16 hours I don’t eat anything and drink only water or black coffee.

Having said that I’ve noticed that people can get very evangelical about diets. That seems a bit crazy as what works for one person may be a disaster for someone else.

Consequently all any of us can say is that a 5:2 may work for you…or it may not! But if it fits with your lifestyle, family situation, and temperament then give it a go, if it doesn’t look elsewhere.

Good luck!

Maintaining a healthy weight and reducing that visceral fat has to be top of the list for anybody with arterial plaque build up. You've got to get that chronic inflammation down. On that basis, anything that works for you and is sustainable will help.

I tried the 5:2 some years ago and it worked but it was difficult. I never looked forward to the two days of calorie restriction and it was hard to get through. I don't think it is sustainable long term. But it is important to understand why. Like most adults, my metabolism was broken. I would feel hungry most the time anyway, despite my body having plenty of energy reserves I could see around my midriff. Fix your metabolism and weight loss becomes easy.

For me this was a whole foods, carb restricted diet. No processed food, no refined carbohydrates, no grains, no sugars, no takeaways, no vegetable seed oils, no potatoes. I say "diet" but this is a lifestyle choice for me now. I'm over a year into it and seeing good results. I look back to when I used to struggle the days I restricted calories to 600, whereas now I can and often do go 24 hours without eating and it presents no problems. I never count calories.

You'll need more time to prepare your food, but I don't think that is a big price to pay for improved health.

The fact is, you shouldn't be getting hungry if your body has plenty of energy reserves. It us a sure sign that something is not working properly in your body.

I hope this helps a little.

I agree, it is not sustainable long term. If you are consuming as many calories from the right sources as your body needs, and no more, then there is no need to adopt these types of diet. Most certainly we should be cutting out refined carbs, sugars, processed food (which includes most white bread), takeaways and so on. Also, as you say, if you are eating properly you shouldn't be getting hungry between regular meals - I think one of the problems is people tend not to have them, I know quite a few who don't eat breakfast, which is crazy.

I don't eat breakfast. Like many people I'm just not that hungry in the morning. But in return for extending the overnight "fast" I get a massive benefit that's particularly relevant to me, namely it measurably reduces my insulin resistance.

I can see this in my HbA1c scores and blood glucose levels, which from being close to the pre-T2 diabetic level at the time of my bypass, are now well down in the safe zone. None of my medication could have delivered this. So the overwhelmingly likely causes are weight loss, regular exercise, the low carb twist I give to my Mediterranean diet, and my "restricted hours" eating policy.

My GP believes that insulin resistance was the primary cause of my atherosclerosis. So for me this is a regime that makes a lot of sense, especially as it fits well with my personal preferences and life style.

However, having said all this I certainly wouldn't promote it as a universal solution. Whatever works for the individual is all that matters. We're all in the same boat in trying to gain ourselves a few additional years of healthy life, but I guess we each need to discover our own road towards that objective.

Good luck!

Chilling last paragraph there Chappy! Like you say if it works for you and you can tolerate it then crack on, personally I don't understand how not eating before 1.0pm helps, I have always been under the impression (and still am) that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and for me I could not possibly imagine not having it, and the current advice seems to be to have regular meals to maintain correct blood sugar levels.

Tongle profile image
Tongle in reply to lateguitarist

It’s to do with insulin levels. Briefly;

When you eat, insulin is released .

Insulin is a hormone which tell the body to store energy (in the form of fat).

Carbs spike your insulin much more than other foods.

Not eating till later keeps your insulin low which encourages the body to burn energy stores (fat).

So if your goal is weight loss it’s probably counterproductive to eat breakfast and even more so if it is carb loaded.

Look up Dr Rob Cywes on YouTube if you want to know more.

lateguitarist profile image
lateguitarist in reply to Tongle

Oh please not more Keto nonsense this diet is NOT SUITABLE for people with heart disease.

Tongle profile image
Tongle in reply to lateguitarist

In your opinion which is fine. Others beg to differ. As he is a bariatric surgeon I would tend to think his suggestions have some credibility.But each to their own!

lateguitarist profile image
lateguitarist in reply to Tongle

It is an accepted FACT, not my opinion that the keto diet is NOT suitable for people with heart disease. As you do not appear to have heart disease I think you should refrain from promoting it on this forum.

Tongle profile image
Tongle in reply to lateguitarist

Wasn’t promoting anything just making a response to a question with a science based answer. Made it quite clear it’s about opinion, people are free to choose. Also making a number of assumptions there, my profile may not state all my personal details.Finally I understood this to be a forum for debate and support and passive/aggressive replies are probably not in the spirit of the site.

lateguitarist profile image
lateguitarist in reply to Tongle

Well then it may help if you actually filled your profile in? This is a forum for debate and I am at a loss to see where you think I am being "aggressive" as you put it, but extolling the virtues of a Dr that promotes the Keto diet is not in the spirit of a forum that is concerned with heart disease. If you think that is aggressive then fine but I think you will find it is a fact, not opinion. If you disagree go and ask your cardiologist or GP what they think of a high saturated fat diet.

Tongle profile image
Tongle in reply to lateguitarist

Looking back at the replies, I didn’t mention Keto. I was talking about how carbs spike insulin as a way of explaining why calorie intake is not the whole story when it comes to weight loss. I mentioned Dr Rob as he explains it better than I can and actually doesn’t advocate one diet over another…he makes that very clear.Science is a constantly shifting area of study which all doctors accept. Cardiologists work with the data they currently have and the understanding of how dietary choices interact with the body is changing as more information and studies become available. There are a growing number of them who are not as convinced about previous recommendations as before.

I agree that discussion with cardiologists /GP is always a good idea but asking the right questions is just as important.

My post was a genuine attempt to be helpful by sharing what I’ve found out and experienced (2.5 stones down and all other risk factors improved through a low carb approach). Members of the forum can make up their own minds as to whether it’s of any use to them.

Last paragraph absolutely spot on. Excellent words Chappy.

We're all unique and what works for one maybe won't work for another. Find something that works for you by trying different things, maybe in consultation with the experts, once found embrace it and the benefits it brings you.

MONIREN profile image
MONIREN in reply to Chappychap

I know my cardiologist, when he found out I was skipping breakfast told me to skip lunch as well. Something I can't do, just late breakfast. But everyone has such different opinions, you can't get 2 dietitians to agree, I had that at cardiac rehab. Moderation probably best. Take care. Moni

Raylpa profile image
Raylpa in reply to Chappychap

Hi Chappychap, as a guy who is constantly on the pre diabetes threshold despite maintaining a healthy heart type lifestyle CHD I am interested in your means of measurement ref your comments ‘it measurably reduces my insulin resistance.I can see this in my HbA1c scores and blood glucose levels’ I am keen to measure between my annual GP review and response appreciated

Kind regards


I never eat breakfast because I'm rarely hungry in the morning. I don't think that's crazy, in fact there's potentially an upside through triggering autophagy.

I was recommended the Mediterranean diet on here restricting carbs to somewhat over 100gm per day. Worked for me. You need to lose weight steadily and permanently. A lot of dodgy doctors have made a fortune out of fad diets!

Totally agree.

Of course it doesn't. If you are going to stuff your face with all the things you shouldn't, then no amount of exercise will help, for a start you will not be able to undertake it. If you have a proper balanced diet then exercise is most definitely the best way of staying healthy. This does not mean you have to go on fad diets that are not sustainable. As the article states:-- "one of the new study’s authors, said: “Exercise is really important for your health. That’s the first thing I mention to anyone asking about the implications of this work for exercise. There is tons of evidence that exercise is important for keeping our bodies and minds healthy, and this work does nothing to change that message. What our work adds is that we also need to focus on diet, particularly when it comes to managing our weight and preventing or reversing unhealthy weight gain.” They are not saying you need to diet, you just need a proper diet.

You have lost me. The plain fact is, exercise will burn calories in addition to those burnt during "normal" activity, this is just obvious. People who start exercise programs who wish to lose weight fail to do so because they either do not maintain the program or eat excessively whilst doing so in the belief that they are now living more healthily and are able to continue to eat all the wrong things because they are now doing a bit of jogging. As I said it is not rocket science, exercise will not bring about weight loss if the person involved eats more than they are burning, it's simple, however if that person is disciplined regarding their calorie intake then it most certainly will enable them to lose weight.


You don’t say what reasoning you have for doing it i.e. if you want to lose weight, but I’m assuming that’s the case. Intermittent fasting never worked for me. I was hungry and found it hard to stick to, mentally fixating on when and what I could next eat on the fasting days, desperately waiting to get through to the next non fast days. My personal opinion is that it’s neither a sustainable nor particularly healthy way of losing weight and maintaining it. I tried pretty much every diet under the sun, but ultimately lost 10 stone in about 2 and a bit years by reducing carbs, and using whole grain options for the carb intake I did have, increasing protein, and calorie counting/portion control alongside regular exercise. Quite literally eat less of the wrong things, move more. I’ve been maintaining at a healthy weight for the last 4 years simply by keeping to that lifestyle. I still have the things I like, I’m just actively conscious of my relationship with food and the choices I make around eating each day. I was officially morbidly obese, but my 3xl top half is now a medium, my trouser waist went from a 48 to a 32. It’s entirely sustainable, and whereas with other ‘diets’ I was fixated on food, and often feeling hungry, food is only on my mind when I’m deciding what to make. The evidence does support the idea that when we have insufficient energy intake, it becomes harder to lose weight because the body thinks we might not get fed and hangs on to fat stores rather than burning them. The jury is very much still out on 5:2 dieting generally, and Michael Mosley who came up with it, but personal experience over many years is all diets are rubbish. What’s needed is a shift in attitude and mental relationship with food, and life in general, to make meaningful, permanent lifestyle changes.

Very well put Charlie.

Lateguitarist,I have just read your bio and you state that you have had a lifetime of exercise and healthy eating.

Despite this you have developed 3 vessel coronary heart disease by the time you are 60.

Clearly what you think is healthy is not otherwise you wouldn't have developed heart disease.

Maybe you should be a bit more open minded to some of the options regarding your diet and exercise because you clearly don't know what you're doing 😊

I think you need to go back and read it again, you seem to have totally misunderstood it and also made an assumption that I have 3 vessel disease, which I do not.

Yep I misread it so my apologies.I still think that some of the comments regarding intermittent fasting, increasing fibre intake and reducing simple carbohydrates to avoid insulin spikes are valid.

I'm a former marathon runner and am proof that exercise will not protect you from heart disease.

I believe that diet is crucial and some of the recommendations on the bhf website are incorrect.

Milkfairy profile image
MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to fergusthegreat

There is more to heart disease than plaque blocking your arteries.

Heart disease is complex.

Diet is important, however concentrating on diet alone can make people feel they are somehow to blame for their illness.

This judgemental attitude of blame helps no one.

Depression is a risk factor for heart disease. Apparently it carries the same risk of smoking.

That's OK it does ramble on. Well, you might be proof from the fact you are fortunately still with us. The cardiologist told me that the blockage I had was very typical of the sort that has bad or fatal outcomes and he suggested the fact I had always exercised had probably prevented me from having a HA. As you say it obviously won't stop your arteries bunging up. To be honest I don't pay much attention to the BHF diet information, so can't comment, but I still think this intermittent fasting lark is unnecessary. Are you still running?

Yes I still run regularly, half marathons at most.Although I have always exercised, my diet was awful so I decided to try everything I could to slow down the progression of my atherosclerosis,

Intermittent fasting is one of many things I do including low carbohydrates, staying lean, controlling stress, exercise and taking my medication including statins.

I'm not sure if it's working but I'm still here, take care 😊

Glad you achieved success. For me, low carb is a penance. I cannot live on that.

Depends what you mean by low carb, though. There’s a big difference between zero carb (might as well kill me now), something like keto where the carb limit is typically 20 to 30g but always below 50g (hell no and kill me now) and low carb or carb restricted which is defined as having anything between 50 and 150g of starchy carbs a day. I try to have about 80g a day. Including fruit and veg, my total intake is around 150g. A slice of the seeded, higher protein supermarket bread I eat is 14g. If I splurge on speciality low carb/high protein bread (like Hi Lo), that’s only 5g a slice. A whole reasonable potato you’d want for a jacket is about 40g. A 75g (uncooked weight) portion of whole wheat penne is 48g. I can have a sandwich for lunch and a decent bowl of pasta for tea and still be within my goals. It’s also been proven that the more starchy carbs we have, the more we want courtesy of the way our brains are wired, so restricting carbs does get easier if you stick to doing it. I’m also not fanatical - if I want frozen pizza for tea, I have pizza for tea, enjoy it, and not give a fig that I’m well over my day’s carb target and haven’t cooked from scratch. The aim for me is to generally maintain a low(er) carb high protein lifestyle across the week rather than fixating on every day.

Thanks that's helpful. I do try but it seems for heart health and t2 diabetes they are two opposites almost from diet point of view. I guess I ought to keep on the side of the heart.

I was very surprised that the cardiologist told me before my triple bypass not to worry about keeping my weight and eating the right diet to do so. She said I will need all my strength during the procedure and after and that I shouldn’t worry about calories at that stage and that there will be time afterwards to be concerned about weight watching.

I've done a few of Michael Moseley's diets. They work very well. I've had 5 stents. Not sure if I should have done them but did anyway.

I'm an ex racing cyclist and weight management plays a big part in cycling. Whilst having a moan to my coach about my surplus pounds he said....." Don't get obsessed about body fat, its simple, less in more out".

Intermittent fasting alongside keto worked great for me personally…I looked and felt great. Was never hungry and was never sick.

It was also probably why my cholesterol was 6.9.

Hi, I have done this diet few years ago... I persevered for 3 weeks, it was a very unpleasant period of my life! I was obsessed by counting the calories, I was unhappy, hungry and developed an awful bad breath during this time! That took a while to disappear even after I returned to my normal eating regime. The book went to a charity shop!!

Although I don't doubt Dr.Moseley's knowledge and achievements, this diet or any diet isn't for me!

I believe in eating healthy food, home cooked from fresh ingredients, and staying away from processed junk.

I'm not a sporty type, never liked exercise, but all my life I walked fast ( I never learned to drive), moved fast, I went swimming and practised yoga.

I am aware of the fact these activities are mentioned in past tense, sadly as I got older, and my bicuspid valve was on it's last legs, I became breathless and tired easily, I slowed down.

Getting a bus pass also contributed to more sedentary life!🤔

Looking at my own weight over my lifetime, I believe in eating healthy, all in moderation, occasional treats allowed, and moving!!!

I know why I am not shifting the weight, it's simply because I don't burn calories!

And my opinion is that diets are not necessary. Hope you will find a suitable way to keep healthy weight. Monica

Hi DonMega, I’m with ChappyChap on this one. I also do a version of this but more time restricted eating where is eat between 11am and 7pm. I kind of follow the Fast 800 diet but probably eat more like 1200-1500 calories with a couple of days at perhaps 1000. I think as others have said, as long as you don’t eat ‘bad foods’ on your non fast days, it’s pretty sensible. However for me, eating within an 8 hour time window and eating a balanced diet is the key rather than true fasting. At the moment, I’m not too concerned as my surgery was only a few weeks ago but still follow the same balanced diet, just with a few extra calories to help the healing process.

In a word, no! You should try eating a balanced diet every day and perhaps eat a little less?Good advice from BHF on the website. Maybe also discuss with a dietitian? Fad diets don't work in the long term.

Good luck!

The is a article by a American cardiologist called Dr Leslie tay about the problems of fasting for Ramadan after open hart surgery, and also on the side effects of fasting on some of the common medication prescribed. Basically he says don't do it.

I don't have the link but you can Google it, it is mount Elizabeth hospital health plus magazine.

But you need to ask your cardiac team, not a internet forum.

And ask yourself are you after answers to a question, or just looking for comfemation on a idea you will do anyway.

Good luck whatever you decide to do.

Hi.I've done the 5:2 diet and it's a tough one. Lost weight but wasn't a nice way of losing.

I lost more weight without struggling or being diet miserable on Slimming World.

A week of getting your head around how it works and food buys it was fab.

It basically teaches good balanced low fat diet and much as I was skeptical you never have to feel hungry (if course still need stubbornness of what u eat). And no horrid calorie counting.

It's not free but worth the small cost tbh and your not tied in.

I must stress I'm in no way marketing or working for the company, just saying it's good.

Good luck, however you choose to lose weight.

After my heart attack I lost 2 stone without trying or even thinking about it. I simply followed the advice I was given to cut out carb heavy food; cut down on red meat and increase vegetables. My husband was and still is obsessive about pies, yorkshire puddings, pizzas, meat with every single meal. I use quorn instead of mince ( he has no idea), swapped to more chicken and fish; chopped veg which I mixed in with everything and bought some smaller plates. I cut out cakes, biscuits crisps and such to get my cholesterol down. I was not trying to lose weight but when I got out my summer skirts and hey fell off me I checked my weight and got a surprise. The only way to lose weight is to eat less and eat more healthy foods.

Ex physiotherapist here.

There are a lot of strong opinions here but just stating your opinion assertively and saying "research" without a citation, doesn't magically mean you actually know what you're talking about. I completed my training fairly recently and was instilled with the general idea that the best way to lose weight is to reduce the amount of fuel you put into your body. Exercise does help to a degree because you are burning some calories, though people are often surprised just how much exercise it takes to burn a relatively small amount of calories. Where exercise comes into its own is in maintaining a healthy weight, improving your strength and fitness and also importantly, boosting your mental health. Having a greater proportion of muscle will also increase the amount of calories you burn.

Please don't be put off by people saying 5:2 sounds a bit extreme, it really isn't. If you were planning on trying the Cambridge 1:1 diet, which is consistently fairly severe calorie control then I would say you should definitely check with you GP first but as long as you listen to your body you should be able to give 5:2 a punt safely, though please don't hesitate to talk to your GP about it for your own peace of mind. You may even find he/she is positively encouraging as the health benefits of losing weight are so great. It is interesting to hear from the people on here who have actually tried 5:2, they are the ones who know what it's actually like, and their experience seems fairly positive (though clearly not everyone is a fan and that's fine).

I have also tried 5:2 and I found it useful for maintaining my weight. It wasn't without side-effects though. I did find I would get headaches on fast days and I also found it difficult to sleep on those nights but you have to weigh up the costs and benefits of any regime you try. Personally, in order to lose a significant amount of weight (I needed to lose 4 stone), I had to go on the Cambridge diet but, as I say, that is not for everyone and our medical histories are very different.

I hope you find what works for you, often it's a case of trial and error and you may find that a combination of different strategies is best.

Ultimately, however you do it, losing weight is a brilliant way of looking after your amazing, unique body. It's some piece of kit and deserves a little TLC!

Good luck!



Like you, I suffered a heart attack and had triple CABG. This was two years ago now. Since then, and following a real change of lifestyle in terms of both diet and taking regular exercise, I have lost 3 stone in weight and feel so much better for it. I've done the Couch to 5K programme (twice!) and now take part in my local parkrun each Saturday (number 11 completed yesterday).

As others have suggested, I would personally recommend a combination of proper, healthy diet and regular exercise. Some good advice on eating well on the NHS website as a guide:

Maybe you could refer us via links to these studies? You have seen the post from a professional person, who has made the situation regarding exercise very clear. These are not views, they are FACT. There is no point trying to "understand" another viewpoint when it contradicts scientific fact. My wife has lost weight (not that she was overweight anyway) by sticking to the same, balanced, proportionate and regular diet (as outlined by AubrySo's post) since becoming involved in running, she does not need luck to keep it off, luck has nothing to do with it, she has merely lost weight and become more toned because the regular exercise has burned off more calories than she has consumed. It is really not rocket science and I cannot understand why people cannot grasp this simple fact - we are nothing more than machines with an ability to store fuel by means of turning it into excess fat if it burns less than it takes on board. If you research Dr Moseley you will discover, as has also been pointed out, that the jury is still very much out on his theories. We don't need fad diets and autophagy or anything else we just need to eat less and exercise more, people are making the mistake of making something simple needlessly complicated, possibly in order to avoid the hard graft bit!

Thanks all.

Crux of it all is: eat less, exercise more!

Look at the BHF advice book on food. I had a HA 2 years ago. I was 15.5 stone but ate healthy and ran 40+ miles a week. Never smoked and hardly drink at all. I removed meat from my diet for 5 days a week and very rarely eat red meat these days . I try to keep my fat intake to 50g a day rather than 70g, and watch my salt and sat fat intake carefully. I still have a treat if I want one but not as much as I used to. I took up walking a minimum of 5k per day and I lost 3.5 stones and have kept it off. You don't need a fancy diet, just a sensible approach to food and exercise.

Lets get this straight then. If a person continues to eat exactly the same as they have been eating, and then begins a program of exercise, they will not lose any weight, or maintain the same weight rather than increasing it? Simple yes or no.

Calories are not that issue, it all depends what form they are in, sugars and carbs, especially heavy processed form are the bad ones. Psychology is 50% of the battle too, so being comfortable and stress-free is as important as the actual diet. Exercise is important, but within you limitations, stretching and flexibilty being much more important than calorie burning, which is something of a myth in the weight loss process. With all the covid fear going around at the moment happiness and wellbeing has never before been more important.

The 5-2 works really well for me! But follow the rules. The book has lots of important information and not just meal planning. I also joined the Facebook group. There’s an explanation and demo of the type of exercise that works well for weight loss and rehab. I’m using a modified HITT routine, which is research backed up😊

OK lets take the steam out here and take this example: Person X eats 3000 calories each day for a week, their body burns 2500 calories a day during their normal activities, and so they put on weight. Now person X starts to run 5km every day, keeping the same calorie intake and normal activity. Lets say that 5K run burns 500 calories, so now they are burning exactly the same as they are consuming each day. Are you saying that they will still put on weight?

'The Fast 800 diet' by Michael Mosely is a good book and should answer your queries about the 5:2 combined with mediterranean style food. He suggests based on science 800 cals on 2 days a week. I find it very achievable and I feel great with a 16hr window between supper and eating the next day + keeping carbs down. Lots of science behind it, and that it is good for the cardiovascular system, blood sugar, longevity and more. There is a cookbook to accompany it with lots of easy to prepare healthy meals (plus his book itself has recipes). I see this is a subject causing controversy in the ensuing dialogue... So I just suggest reading the book and see for yourself what the science has to say.

I quite agree Warm Heart. Worked for me and easily achievable. Great book and sensible diet

The only thing 2 "special weight loss diet" promoters agree on is that the third is wrong. Noone has mentioned the gut microbiome which is different for each person. In time analysis of what food is appropriate for each person will be accessible however..... it feels uncomfortable for me that these choices are available to us while people throughout the world are unable to have enough food.

Milkfairy profile image
MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to Bagrat

The Predict study carried out at Kings College London shows the importance to the biome to human health.

The research was carried out by Prof Tim Spector and his team.

Bagrat profile image
Bagrat in reply to Milkfairy

Yes indeed, I report on Zoe covid19 app and that's how I got more interested, thanks for link

lateguitarist profile image
lateguitarist in reply to Bagrat

I agree with your opening statement wholeheartedly. However, I am going to be a bit "tongue in cheeky" now, with respect :) I have just googled "gut microbiome" and to be honest I lost the plot after a paragraph. Now I know I am only a simple lad but we never had this huge problem of obesity years ago, it is something that seems to have got much worse in a fairly short space of time, so where were all the gut microbiomes then? Personally I feel it is down to the fact that people have busy lives or just cannot be bothered to exercise along with the fact there is far too much rubbish fast food available cheaply. In other words I think we are in danger of over complicating it and possibly giving some people a good excuse to be overweight - "oh you see the thing is I run every day and eat hardly anything, but I've got a gut biome problem". I am just being facetious here and not trying to cause offence by the way. I have just come back from a 10 mile run this morning and this bit of technology on my wrist tells me I have burned 1230 calories, now I know it's not accurate but it will do for me. I also agree with your last statement as well, I wonder if the passengers in Mr Basos's rocket last week looked out the window and managed to see all the starving folk in Africa?

Bagrat profile image
Bagrat in reply to lateguitarist

Spot on!!

Milkfairy profile image
MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to lateguitarist

The biome is effected by what we eat and our environment.

Babies are given a dose of their mother's biome an birth, a greater diversity of bacteria if a baby is born vaginally.

Breast feeding of any length another dose, along with skin to skin contact between a mother and baby.

Antibiotics kill off the biome.

A highly processed diet also has an impact.

It is possible to reestablish a healthy gut flora by eating a varied mixed diet.

There are even studies going on into the transplantation of the healthy biome of one person, to a less healthy individual, faecal transplants 💩

I am normal weight, BMI of 21,

I can't exercise because of my heart condition.

I manage a 3 mile walk every day....I couldn't run to save my life😂

Yeah but a 3 mile walk is brilliant, and I know that people can only do what they can do. If more people did a 3 mile walk even once a week they would feel better and lose a bit of weight, as long as they didn't reward themselves with a mars bar on return home. So many people use their car's for distances they could easily walk - these are things that don't need Biome science! I'm not sure about faecal transplants though - I think my traditional diet of Marston's Pedigree and Prawn Vindaloo has set the scene on my gut biome front.

One thing missing from all this

What effect does Medication have on the process of Digesting Food ??? 10mg of Bisoprolol lowers most peoples Heart Rate down to low 40s does that cause a slowing of digestion ?? or even how the Body breaks down the calorie intake. Complicated thread but enjoyed it.

Just one other thing Facts is a word I love The Facts speak for themselves Yes but they are speaking something totally different to Me than to You.

Awaiting Booster to be fully vaccinated 2 Astras and a Flu done

That' s a good point regarding slowing down digestion, and yes it has been a good debate. I think we should take the parting advice of the OP personally, move more eat less :) Sorry couldn't resist it.

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