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Questions over two-day diet that lets you eat what you like


Amanda Byram says she is now more careful about what she puts on Twitter

Amanda Byram says she is now more careful about what she puts on Twitter

Amanda Byram says she is now more careful about what she puts on Twitter

IRELAND'S leading nutrition body has said that a new fasting diet is promising, but requires a lot more research to establish if it is healthy.

Fasting diets where you eat 500 or 600 calories a day for two days a week and whatever you like the rest of the time have been sweeping Ireland in recent months.

The Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute (INDI) said yesterday that it was a hugely popular diet, but there was not enough medical evidence yet to endorse it as a weight-loss method.

INDI spokeswoman Sarah Keogh said that even though some short-term studies were promising, another 10 years of medical studies were needed to confirm if the diet was a healthy formula for weight loss.

"It's a fad, it's not the worst fad, but there haven't been long-term studies to show if people can follow it for a year or two years," she said.


Ms Keogh said it was extremely popular at the moment in the way the Atkins Diet had been a few years ago, but of the people she had encountered doing it, only one had followed it correctly, while others tended to overeat on non-diet days.

It was also possible that people who were already low on micronutrients such as calcium or iron would become further depleted by eating such a small amount on diet days.

"My advice would be don't do this if you're pregnant, diabetic or on medication, and if you are planning to do it take advice from a dietitian to make sure you don't miss out on vital nutrients," Ms Keogh said.

Fasting diets shot into the public eye last August when Dr Michael Mosley presented a 'Horizon' documentary claiming they had numerous health benefits in combating the effects of ageing – including weight loss.

This included lower chol- esterol and glucose levels and protection against Alzheimer's disease.

Dr Mosley pointed to a US study that showed that participants lost weight and did not gorge on off days, and said he himself had lost 19lb and avoided the need to go on cholesterol-lowering statins.

Since then a number of diet books such as 'The Fast Diet' and 'The 5:2' diet have become bestsellers in Ireland and Britain.

The diet involves a maximum 500 calorie allowance for women on two non-consecutive days and a maximum of 600 calories for men, with users free to eat whatever they like the other five days of the week.

Irish Independent