The 5:2 Fast Diet Cookbook by Samantha Logan is a list of over 150 healthy low calorie recipes designed to be eaten on “fasting” days. The book is not a guideline to the diet, but rather, a cookbook for people who are already familiar with the process. The 5:2 Diet is already a popular weight loss program for some who claim, as does the author, that limiting caloric intake for two nonconsecutive days per week will “reset your metabolism and rev up your body’s fat-burning ability.” Logan created The 5:2 Fast Diet Cookbook after she experimented with fasting and found that it helped her lose 30 pounds.
Dieters are encouraged to follow these basic principles:
- Pick two nonconsecutive fasting days and consume no more than 500 calories for women and 600 calories for men.
- On non-fasting days, “Go for it” or “Make smart food choices.” The advice is vague.
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- Recipes include ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus snacks/desserts.
- Recipes contain a wide variety of foods to stave off boredom.
- Recipes call for an abundance of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Nutritional information is given for each recipe.
- Recipes are easy to follow and require little to moderate degrees of preparation.
- No support material or data is given to support why/how fasting diets work.
- No guide is given for the best approach to the fast diet.
- Serving sizes are vague.
- The caloric restrictions are severe; below industry recommendations.
- No other strategies are given for how to handle hunger pangs.
The book offers over 150 recipes, all fewer than 300 calories each. Before each chapter, the author offers advice on how to maximize nutrition-packed ingredients, foods to avoid that are typically high in calories and healthy preparation methods. The recipes cover a range of meals and food types, like breakfast and smoothies, salads, soups, meats and proteins, sensible Sides, vegetarian options, and guilt-free treats.
The calorie restrictions are extreme. The author states that by using the recipes in her book, dieters are still able to eat three meals a day and sometimes even a dessert, but the average recipe weighs in at 250 calories. With 500 and 600 recommended calories a day, for women and men respectively, two meals is typically the most a person could eat.
Your brain alone requires about 500 calories a day just to function, and most dietitians wouldn’t recommend consuming fewer than 1200 calories per day no matter your gender.
No exercise advice is given in this book as it is primarily a cookbook. However, it’s fair to say that on less than 600 calories a day a person would hardly have the strength or energy to complete a workout.
The 5:2 Fast Diet Cookbook should be considered a supplement to an already well-researched fasting plan. The wide variety of low calorie recipes is certainly health-inspired but the vague serving size information is disappointing. The book does not promise how many pounds you will lose, nor does it say how long you can safely stay on the diet, though it does proclaim that “some” have opted to use the 5:2 Fast as a way of life. Again, no support documentation is provided to explain the diet, support its efficacy, warn against possible dangers or guide the reader in the best approach to making it successful. The author has no medical or dietary credentials, nor did she consult with a doctor or registered dietician who could support the information in the book.
Always consult a doctor before following any type of diet, particularly when calorie restriction is a focus.
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