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Intermittent Fasting Protocols: What is the 5-2?

As you begin doing more research about intermittent fasting, you will notice many

different protocols people try. These include LeanGains (18-16), the 24-hour protocol,

and the Warrior protocol. Another you might want to try is called 5:2, which has you

eating what you want 5 days out of the week, then fasting the other 2 days. Take a look

at what this type of intermittent fasting protocol entails.

What is the 5:2 Protocol?

First of all, here is how the 5:2 intermittent fasting protocol works. You want to eat what

you normally would for 5 days out of the week, then fast for 2 days out of the week. This

is very similar to the Eat-Stop-Diet, except with that diet, many people only fast for 24

hours, and there are often more rules for the fasted days. With the 5:2 protocol, you are

told to eat a small amount on the two fasted days, often 500-600 calories for the day.

You do not want the 2 days to be in a row either; have at least one normal eating day in


The Eating Days

One thing you want to keep in mind when doing the 5:2 intermittent fasting diet, like

most IF protocols, is that during your eating windows, don’t worry too much about what

you eat. It shouldn’t turn into a binge eating session, but instead you should just eat like

you normally would. If you are on a special diet like keto or Paleo, then you should still

stick to that on the eating days. Otherwise, just have average days of eating 5 days out

of the week. Intermittent fasting is meant to simplify everything for you, so don’t worry

about counting calories on the eating days unless you are following a low-calorie diet.

The Fasting Days

When it is time to fast, make sure the two days are not consecutive. You should not be

fasting for more than 24 hours at a time. On these days, they are a little different than

other fasting days, since you aren’t having zero calories. For women, you can have up

to 500 calories, or up to 600 calories for men. This is still very low, but allows you to

have a small amount of nutrients to fuel your body, from broth to fruit or veggies. Make

those calories count with the most nutrient-dense foods you can find.