What Is The 5:2 Diet And Does It Really Work?

While you can improve your mood through dopamine dressing and enhance the way you look by finding a fabulous skincare routine, it's just as important for both your mind and your body to ensure that you're eating nourishing food in a healthy way. That's why you may have considered trying out the 5:2 diet.

If the concept is new to you or you need a little refresher, the 5:2 diet is a form of intermittent fasting that involves unrestricted eating for five days of the week, according to Byrdie. On the other two days — which can't be back-to-back and need to be separated by at least one non-fasting day — the goal is to only eat a limited amount of calories. For women, the maximum is 500 calories on each of those two days. The number goes up to 600 for men. Because that's quite a bit less than the recommended daily calorie intake for adults, Byrdie notes that the body goes into a state of fasting which can supposedly cause a few different things to happen to your body.

But what exactly are those things, and does the 5:2 diet actually work? Well, there are a few reasons to believe that this might be an effective and efficient, if potentially tricky, option when it comes to how you choose to eat.

The 5:2 diet can do more than just help you lose weight

While it may seem like cutting calories for two days each week is an obvious way to lose some weight — and that's true — there are a few other potential benefits to the 5:2 diet, according to Healthline. This intermittent fasting option also reduces issues with inflammation and improves the body's response to insulin. Beyond that, it can help to target any fat that you might have around your midsection while keeping your muscles in great shape. With those kinds of results, it's no wonder Kelly Plowe, M.S., R.D., told Verywell Fit, "The 5:2 diet is one of the most popular intermittent diets."  However, Plowe also noted, "It's a highly regimented diet and can be hard to follow, especially on fasting days."

Indeed, during a 2021 study by the U.K.'s Queen Mary University of London, the number of participants who stuck with the 5:2 diet dropped to 74% after just six weeks, and that number was down to 31% by six months. After a year, only 22% of the participants were still using the 5:2 diet. With that in mind, it's important to remember that this option isn't ideal or easy for everyone, which is why you may want to talk to a dietitian or your doctor before giving it a try.