What is The Fast Diet? An introduction...

PUBLISHED: 09:25 19 July 2013 | UPDATED: 09:25 19 July 2013

The Fast Diet recipe book

The Fast Diet recipe book


One man’s health scare led to the creation of a new diet, which is fast becoming a worldwide health movement

In 2012 Dr Michael Mosley, an overweight, medically-trained journalist, was diagnosed as a borderline diabetic and his ‘bad’ cholesterol levels were through the roof. Keen to improve his health using non-pharmaceutical methods, he tracked down and interviewed scientists engaged in cutting-edge research into Intermittent Fasting. ‘Fasting’, in this context, does not mean avoiding all food; it simply means cutting back, for relatively short periods of time, on some foods.

Michael, after some self-experimenting, settled for a form he called 5:2, which is the basis of the Fast Diet.

The rules are very simple:

> You eat normally for five days a week and then for two days a week you eat a quarter of your normal calorie intake – around 600 calories for men, 500 for women

> You can do your Fast days back to back or split them

> You can split your 600-calorie allowance on those days into breakfast and an evening meal

On this regime Michael lost 19lb of body fat and his blood markers improved beyond recognition. He found that once he had lost the fat he could keep it off (normally the hard bit) by using the 6:1 method of cutting calories to a quarter of his normal intake once a week.

When she was commissioned to write about Intermittent Fasting for The Times, journalist Mimi Spencer soon followed Michael’s lead. In four months she lost 20lb, returning to her ‘wedding weight’ at the age of 45. Towards the end of 2012, inspired by the success of the 5:2 pattern, Michael and Mimi co-wrote The Fast Diet book. It became an instant bestseller, on both sides of the Atlantic.

The authors believe that the Fast Diet’s success has to do with its flexibility, its simple basic tenets, and the fact that it is backed by solid science. From a psychological point of view, its indisputable attraction is that calorie restriction is limited to two days a week, leaving the rest of the time blissfully free of worry.

Now Mimi, with co-author Dr Sarah Schenker, has written an easy-to-use recipe book for fasting days.The following pages include a variety of recipes extracted from The Fast Diet Recipe Book, by Mimi Spencer and Dr Sarah Schenker. There are options for quick breakfasts on the go, lazier morning sustenance and satisfying evening meals. It’s best to avoid snacks, but drink plenty of water while you’re fasting.


Intermittent fasting is not suitable for everyone, so it’s best to consult your GP if you’re worried.


The Fast Diet Recipe Book, by Mimi Spencer with Dr Sarah Schenker, and photography by Romas Foord, is published by Short Books. RRP £14.99

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