fasting diets

Hi peeps,

Did anyone see Michael Mosley’s Horizon programme at the end of last year when he was talking about fasting and its health benefits which led him to devise the 5 - 2 diet, that is 5 days eating normally and 2 days of a very restricted diet, or fast.? The idea is that the body goes into a sort of recovery mode, BP comes down, blood glucose falls as do cholesterol levels. Various studies have been done over the years that suggest diet restriction leads to longer and healthier lives. I have always found it extremely difficult to diet for more than 2 weeks, however by restricting 2 days a week to 500 calories per day and the other 5 when I know I can eat normally albeit sensibly., I’m finding it much easier to stick to. I consider diet restriction worth a go, for me anyway, and it’s certainly worth looking at the research and evidence that suggest its benefits. Has anyone else tried the diet and felt the benefits?


Hi Lizzie,i read about this diet,and i am thinking of having a go,i could manage the 2 days of dieting,if i can eat normally the other 5 days, but i bet some people will do it thinking they can eat really unhealthily for the 5 days.

i eat fairly healthy anyway,always have done, plenty fruit and veg,lots of chicken, no red meat at all,my downfall is a sweet tooth,which i struggle with,also i have put weight on due to lack of mobility.But i will give this a go,when i dont know,hopefully soon,just need to get my head into gear lol.

jaki xx

I was diagnosed with MS 3 years ago. Although my consultant tells me that I have migrated from Relapse-Remitting MS to Secondary Progressive I nevertheless feel pretty good and my symptoms are not too bad. I’m 57 years old and am (if I’m honest) a bit overweight and wanted to lose a couple of stone.

The Horizon 5:2 fasting plan (I think it’s wrong to call it a diet) appealed to me as it offers health benefits with weight loss really being a happy side-effect. I thought I’d give it a try, not so much for MS reasons, but to bolster my general health. Before starting, I thought I should do a Google search to investigate whether the 5:2 fasting plan brought up any adverse side efects for people with MS and was pleasantly surprised to see that any impacts appear to be favourable rather than negative. Given that there seem to be no obvious downsides in people with MS trying the 5:2 fasting plan I have started today. I’ll be pleased to share my experience of how it goes should other people be interested.

The great thing about the 5:2 fasting plan is that the two days a week spent fasting don’t have to be consecutive and it’s still possible to have 500 calories even on a fasting day. On the 5 days a week that one is not fasting one just eats normally. So you are only ever a maximum of 24 hours away from a decent meal. Sounds too good to be true!

This peeked my interest too!

I haven’t actually looked into it yet. One thing I need to find out relates to diabetes. I have type 2, not exactly helped by being overweight! I suspect that it might be OK if you take advice on how to manage your glucose levels. Especially on the ‘fasting’ days.

I do this and love it. It’s nice not to have to plan what to eat on the low calorie days. I eat less food than I ever have, but feel great. Who’d have thought it?

I’m hoping that it will have dropped my glucose levels down to something approaching normal.

Hi, my son who is 29 has been doing the 5:2 fasting plan for the past six months. His starting weight was 16 stone. He has now lost just over 4 stone. Admittedly he also goes to the gym most days but he has done so well. I am so proud of him. Also my GP told my husband he could do with losing a stone and she recommended this plan.

When I watched this programme, I really wanted to follow the 5:2 plan because it sounded like it might help with my MS - body going into ‘repair’ mode rather than ‘go go’ mode sounds good to me. Unfortunately, I’m a bit underweight already and the presenter warned not to do it if you haven’t got weight to lose.

Please post again if you do it to tell if you see MS benefits.

This is a follow up to my posting dated March 29.

I have now been on the Horizon 5:2 fasting plan for nearly 4 weeks. Strict fasting (well up to 500 calories each fasting day, but I try to stay below that) does take a bit of getting used to. Fortunately, each wave of hunger subsides after half an hour or so (a glass of water helps) and I’m finding it quite easy once you get into the swing. My wife and I have stuck to the two fasting days a week (not on consecutive days) and I’ve lost 7 pounds already (my wife a little less, but she was annoyingly trim to start with). I call my weight loss half a stone which somehow sounds more impressive.

Ideally, I want to lose 2.5 stone. So, we’re 20% of the way there and, based on current progress, this should be be achievable in 5 months.

No apparent impact one way or another on my MS but it seems an easy way to lose weight and it has also helped get my blood pressure down. I find skipping a meal entirely is MUCH easier than having a smaller meal as tiny portions just get your appetite going! With both of us fasting 2 days a week it also makes a surprisingly noticeable reduction in the supermarket bills.

I’ll send a further post in another month if anyone is still interested.

Yes I do two fast days a week, I eat paleo all the time anyway and it fits in with this. No idea if its helping but I don’t mind doing it.

Yes I do it too, but like someone else said, I have a sweet tooth! and I agree, I only feel hungry at meal times, which passes after about half an hour. Then it’s only a few hours till an early dinner. If it wasn’t for my sweet tooth I’m sure I’d be slimmer - as it is I’m about half a stone heavier than I’d like to be.

B x

You have all ‘inspired’ me to have a go at this eating regime. And thank your for pointing out that the two fasting days do not have to be consecutive - l had not realised that when l first heard of this. l was half watching the programme obviously.

My parents always ‘starved’ the dogs one day a week - as dogs take 24hrs to digest their food - and the idea was that it gave their digestive system a rest - made sure bowels were completely empty. They were certainly very fit and well.

l hope to lose a few more pounds in the next 4weeks as l am having a ‘hip-hop’ - and the lighter l am will make it easier for me to start getting some mobility back.

My OH has type 1 diabetes - and has managed to reduce his insulin by swimming twice daily - he does 100 lengths a day. And a low carb diet has helped. He might benefit from this 5-2 diet.

Any suggestions on what you can eat within the 500 calorie category.


Hi Frances, wishing you a good result with the 5;2 plan.

How much weight do you reckon you`ve lost with the spirulina?

having severe bowel problems again meslef. Had nurses twice this week with enemas. the 2nd one caused a lot of pain in the bum…reminded me of labour pains! Dont think I`ll ask for another! Must up the movicols…you see when I am going well…i stop the movicols as it can make me too loose and have accidents. Nurse says to have just a quarter on those days, but not to stop altogether…its a vicious circle, eh?

luv Pollx

Poll, l lost 1st.2lb in about 4weeks with the Spirulina - still taking it but l have not lost anymore weight - now 9st 12lb - and would like to get down to 9st. My friend started taking Spirulina - she became very constipated - she does suffer with it anyway but it made it worse. She is still taking it - but only one pill a day. lt is high in magnesium so l would have thought it would have worked the other way.

Have you thought of trying the Peristeen system - lt would be more comfortable for you - and the nurses could help you with it. lt is best done with you sat down - which would help you. lt would give you such relief. l noticed many on this forum use it.

l googled the 5-2fasting diet - and l have sent for a book of recipes [ amazon] - but l think l can manage the 500 cals quite easily. Banana in the morning - homemade soup for lunch - and chicken breast or salmon with lots of green veg or salad. l don’t eat much more then that on normal days anyway.

Be interesting to see how we all get on.


Thanks for your reply Frances.

Gosh, you did do well on the spirulina. 9st? What a good weight. how tall are you?

I did ask my gp about peristeen and she was dead against it and said she would rather the nurses give me an enema.

been today…eureka.

luv Pollx

Hi, Im new so very out of date with a lot of these discussions but I started the 5, 2 diet this week and really want to hear how others find it. I was diagnosed in 2007 with RRMS and have been injecting with Copaxone ever since. I havent had any major relapses since the diagnosis but get v tired and have had more muscle pains recently. I`ve also put on about 20 kilos since I started injecting so decided it was time for something serious. I hope this diet works!

I was one of the first people to place a post on this string over 2 years ago. Since then, and using the 5:2 diet, I’ve got my weight down from over 15 1/2 stone to just over 12 stone. That’s a weight loss of over 3 stone. The 5:2 diet was tricky to start with (I’ve never been great on will power and enjoy my food!) but it becomes much easier over time. It seems to help my MS too (I’m SPMS) which hasn’t got any worse over the last 3 years. Losing weight has benefited my blood pressure and makes it much easier coping with hot, humid weather. I can’t see any snags with being on the diet and have had only a positive experience. Providing your MS nurse/consultant are supportive I’d go for it! Good luck.

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Hi James, thanks for getting back after all this time! Well done for your success with the diet and your losing all that weight! It was very inspiring espes as Im fasting today and sitting here with a tiny piece of toast with about 4 beans on it (not very inspiring!)! It was also great to hear your MS is behaving itself, I did so much googling before I started and there seemed to be a lot of different opinions about the 5, 2 diet and MS, but it seemed the only one I could imagine keeping up so am determined to stick to it, all the more after hearing your story. Ive lived just outside Vienna in Austria for 21 years, and the weather here has been a steady 35 °C for the past 2 weeks so I should probably be thinking about my blood pressure too, although I hadnt considered that to be honest. In this country you go to a neurologist in the MS dpt of a hospital every 6 mths. I went recently but he didnt seem very interested in my weight gain or seem to think there was any link with Copaxone, even though Ive read SO much about it. Actually most MS medication seems to have that side-effect which seems so unutterably unfair, havent we got enough to worry about without getting fat too?! Continued good luck with the diet for you too

What a coincidence. l have put weight on - the only change in my diet is l have been having a hot croissant every morning!! For about the last 6 months. l am now a stone heavier. Then last night l went to a friends for a bbq - and to my dismay - he had put so much weight on - what a roly-poly. So this morning l was thinking l would look out my Michael Mosely 5-2 diet book and make a start. Also, thinking of talking to my friend about his weight - as l know he is now type11 diabetic. His wife died some years ago - and she was a close friend of mine - so l do feel a bit responsible for him. l know - l am an interfering old bat - but l want to find out why he has let himself get like that. ls he depressed - low self-esteem. He stayed with us for about 8months - a few years ago - after he had been in a accident and had a smashed pelvis and hip. And l had to wait on him all the time as he could not do anything for himself. Then he must have been 5 or 6 stone lighter then he is now. l kept him on a high protein - low carb diet then - and he had no choice!! lt made it easier for him to recuperate and exercise and get back on his feet being lighter.

So its back on the 5-2 for me now - and l will try to approach the subject with my friend. Perhaps get him to stick to the diet along with me.

We started the 5:2 diet a few weeks ago after hubby found the Michael Moseley programme and we’d bth got to the point we needed to do something, we both gave uop smoking after Dx and I stopped teaching at the gym a few week before Dx, I liked the first bit of weight gain but the last half stone is too much. I liked the idea of the health benefits too, proper fasting seemed to encourage new neural pathways too, so it definitely seemed the most sensible pathway for us

I’m due to start Tecfidera very soon so my ‘restricted’ days will mainly involve peanut butter and Greek yoghurt but we’ll see how I get on, I might get on fine with it or I might get a tummy ache that might make 5:2 needs a break whilst I get used to it but crossing my fingers

So far I’ve only lost 3-4lbs but no too hard as 5 days a week are normal, so chocolate is still allowed most of the time

Sonia x

One of the good things about 5:2 is that you never have to be more than 24 hours away from a decent feast. And I find that as long as one is super-strict in staying below the 500/600 calories limit on fasting days you really can eat and drink as normal on the non-fasting days.

It’s quite surprising how much stuff (as long as it’s the right stuff) one can eat on a fasting day. We do it with home-made, seed-intensive, cereal for breakfast (with milk) and steamed fish/chicken with unlimited amounts of green vegetables for a combined lunch/dinner. Baked beans and tinned tuna are really low in calories too. It’s really not that bad. We still have milk in our tea and have some fruit juice. But, on the fasting days, by completely avoiding bread, butter, potatoes, pasta, puddings and alcohol we stay just within the limit. If I get hunger pangs it’s surprising how well a glass of water works.

After each successful fasting day I reward myself by sneaking out for breakfast at our local baker and wolf down one of their fabulous bacon rolls and some naughty cheese straws.

I find that I lose nearly two pounds on each successful fasting day of which I regain one pound again afterwards; but that’s a net loss of nearly a pound (two pounds a week) which equates to a reliable weight loss of eight pounds (ie half a stone) a month. Temptation gets the better of me sometimes but I probably manage 3 successful fasting weeks a month. But trying to lose the final half stone, which would get me where I want to be BMI-wise, is taking longer. I’m content that, for me, the 5:2 is now an ongoing way of life and not merely a short-term diet.

As one of the responses above points out, there is some evidence that on the fasting days one’s temporarily underemployed metabolic systems look for other things to do to relieve their boredom. Having a go at repairing some damaged neural pathways seems to be quite high up on their ‘to do’ list. My grossly over-simplified clinical understanding is that 5:2 is a really good, steroid-free, way of helping one’s MS. No doubt a trained medic would cringe at my banal analysis but it seems to work and that’s good enough for me.

I very much hope other people with MS will give the 5:2 a go and share on this link how they get on. There’s nothing to lose!