The 5:2 Diet Might Just Be Tricking You

The 5:2 Diet Might Just Be Tricking You

The “new” weight-loss strategy known as the 5:2 diet has been receiving much attention in the media since the book The Fast Diet: The Secret of Intermittent Fasting – Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, Live Longer was launched late last year. But does it really work? Surinder Baines examines the evidence. Lettuce picture from Shutterstock The 5:2 diet allows you to eat as usual for five days and to fast for two days. On fasting days, the dieters need to restrict intake of food to approximately 2000 kilojoules (500 calories) a day for women or 2400 kilojoules (600 calories) for men. The two days of fasting don’t have to be consecutive and you can decide how you want to spread your food intake on those days as long as you adhere to energy restriction. The food consumed during the two fasting days should have little fat and carbohydrate content and alcohol consumption is not recommended. During the two fasting days, you are typically allowed protein foods such as eggs, or low-fat yogurt or cheese for breakfast and protein foods such as chicken, fish, lean meat, along with salad or other non-starchy vegetables for lunch or dinner. You are permitted water, green tea, or black coffee. While you can have milk with your beverages, it must be counted toward your caloric intake. Not a fad? Intermittent fasting or restricting energy intake for weight loss, which is what the diet is based on, is not a new concept. And there are other kinds of fasting diets around, such as “alternate day fasting”. But while energy restriction in the form of various weight-loss diets has been investigated in...

Why Smoothies Aren’t A Healthy Choice

You might think of a fruit smoothie as a healthy snack option, but it very much depends on the ingredients. An analysis of smoothies sold in Australian chain stores by CHOICE highlights that some smoothies have more kilojoules than you need in a single meal. CHOICE analysed 95 fruit-based drinks from popular chains, including Boost Juice, Donut King, Gloria Jean’s, New Zealand Natural and Wendys. The results weren’t pretty. 81 were rated as high in sugar (more than 7.5g per 100ml), and 13 had more than 1900 kilojoules in a typical serve. As CHOICE spokesperson Ingrid Just explained in the release announcing the study: “Smoothies might have a healthy image but some are packed with hidden sugars like high-fructose syrup and fruit juice concentrates which pack a dense sugary punch when compared with a couple of pieces of fresh fruit. This makes smoothies more like a sugary meal than a snack. Sugar isn’t the only problem. Five of the smoothies sold at Muffin Break have more than 11 grams of saturated fat in a single serve. There’s a lot of variation in what counts as a ‘small’ or ‘regular’ serve at each chain, which makes choosing trickier. Some chains offer nutritional information, but this isn’t yet a universal trend. The simple solution? Skip smoothies altogether and eat a piece of fruit (or two) instead. Hit the link for CHOICE’s recommendations for the best and worst choices. Are smoothies and frappés healthy? [CHOICE] Share this:PrintEmailFacebookTwitterGoogleLike this:Like...

Fighting festive stress and conflict

The festive season is often a peak time for stress, strained relationships and spending. But a bit of planning goes a long way in boosting holiday harmony. Do you feel like you're on an unstoppable express train to the end of December? There's relentless Christmas shopping, a tendency to overindulge in alcohol, and the looming get together with relatives who don't necessarily get on with each other. It's a pressure cooker time of year, acknowledges Kylie Dunjey, a West Australia-based counsellor and spokeswoman for Relationships Australia. But taking some time out to think and plan ahead could help take some of the stress out of the holiday season, Dunjey says. Be realistic Ask yourself honesty, 'what am I expecting of the festive period and is it actually realistic?' she advises. "There's a little perfectionist in all of us when it comes to special events. The fact of the matter is: it won't be perfect and we have to deal with it." Also know you won't please everyone. "Try not to buy into this myth that we can actually make everyone happy," Dunjey says. "Often behind our stress there's a core belief that is really unhelpful and just not possible." If there is conflict among family members, you may have to accept it and plan to manage it, rather than expect or hope to change it during the pre-holiday madness. "We often get a rush of [counselling] appointments at this time of year. People think 'I've got to get this sorted'. But often things get a bit messy before they get better. What optimises change is having more energy. Do...
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