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The 5:2 diet is a method of intermittent fasting popularized by British journalist Dr. Michael Mosley. People describe it as a lifestyle choice rather than a diet, as it allows people to eat normally five days a week and only restricts calories on the other two days. Proponents of the diet claim this leads to fast weight loss and offers a range of other health benefits, too. However, as with most diets, the eating plan is not suitable for everyone.

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1. 5:2 Diet Basics

The 5:2 diet prescribes an eating pattern, rather than telling followers what they should be eating. People on the diet eat normally for five days and fast for two, though the fasting is in the form of restricted calories, not total elimination of food. On the fasting days, the person eats one-quarter of their normal calorie count — 500 calories for women and 600 calories for men.

Follow an eating pattern AndreyPopov / Getty Images
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