Customer Review

1,423 of 1,493 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best diet since sliced bread!, 21 Jan 2013
This review is from: The Fast Diet: The Secret of Intermittent Fasting - Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, Live Longer (Paperback)
The best review on here is that of Mike C from 31/12/12. So good, in fact, that I haven't bothered to buy the book! Why? Well, I saw the original Horizon, back in August, so I know the how & why of the diet; I'm a perfectly competent cook, so I don't need the recipes; the rest of it is padding to me as much as it is to Mike. Why am I here, then? Well, just in case you need any further persuasion to invest in this, I thought I'd add my two penn'orth, plus I'd like to mention a a few points that I think are particularly worth considering.

I experimented with the diet after the programme was shown, then had a very dissolute December, knowing full well that I was going to go at it full tilt in the New Year. I started on the 2nd, 19 days later, I've dropped 10 lbs with no problems, no loss of energy (I play squash vigorously, and 5-a-side when I can get a game), and no trouble sticking with the plan. So, yes it works. Absolutely.

However, the most important point to emphasise is that this not a weight loss diet. Weight loss is entirely a side effect of the real purpose of the diet, which is to prolong life. It's a milder version of Alternate Day Fasting. This is scientifically unproven as yet, but is said to reduce the chance of developing various cancers, and to help manage a variety of conditions / illnesses wide enough to include diabetes & arthritis. What tends to get the headlines is the fact that on your Fast days, you cut your calories to a quarter of the recommended. What is more significant is reducing your protein intake. This is said to force your body from "growth mode" into "repair mode" where, instead of creating new cells, the body attempts to repair damaged ones. Since cancers are essentially uncontrolled cell growth, it's obvious how this diet could help; equally, repairing damaged cells will presumably help with any number of ailments, aches & pains.

Personally, I'm no fan of calorie counting. The vast majority of people have no idea what a calorie really is or how it's measured. Therefore, my advice is don't fuss too much about the limits. For a man, you're supposed to keep the protein under 35g & the calories to no more than 600. If you stick to the protein limit & bust the calorie limit by a couple of hundred, it's not going to hurt you. It's the protein limit, I think, that is more significant in switching to repair mode. I've been varying between a 4:3 & 5:2 version of the diet, and I've probably hit 8-900 calories on half the Fast days & still shed pounds plenty quick.

Key psychological point: you don't actually feel like you're on a diet. There is no constant struggle to discipline yourself day after day after day. Five days a week, you eat normally; two days you fast. You can do two days consecutively (I was doing Sun & Mon last year), you can split them, it really doesn't matter. But it isn't difficult, on a single day, to adjust your diet, knowing full well you can eat what the heck you like the next!

As far as food goes, it's quite simple. On Fast days, cut your protein down, cut out the standard starchy staples (spuds, pasta, rice, bread). Eat plenty of non-root vegetables, along with some chicken or fish & you're pretty much there. Even if you're not much of a cook, or short on time, it doesn't take much to grab some mixed frozen veg from the freezer (beans, sprouts, casserole veg, broccoli, cauliflower, that sort of thing) & flash it in the microwave. Fresh or frozen, you can always pep things up with herbs, a sprinkling of seeds (fennel, caraway, etc), or a few splashes of soy / oyster / Worcester / Tabasco sauce. Plenty of variety there, so it doesn't get boring either.

Final trick: drink plenty; sip, sip, sip throughout the day. Now, you are allowed black coffee / tea on the diet, but I don't drink either, so I just drink water. The important thing is sip, sip, sip, though. On a fast day, I'm typically drinking 3-4 litres, which gives the system a good flush, as well! But it's not a huge glug followed by nothing for hours. Sipping throught the day keeps the hunger pangs at bay and makes it easy to stick to. And it's only for one day, remember!

For me, the diet isn't much of an adjustment. I don't east fast food or much by way of sweets / dessert, most supermarket ready meals tend to be fairly healthy anyway, and I cook a lot, freezing & re-heating a good deal of it, so there's always plenty of quick food for office days, when I'm out very early & back late. For you, it might be more of a change. If it is, though, you're likely to see even more of a benefit. Being down so many pounds already, I'm dropping the 4:3 version of the diet this week. Once I'm in the shape I want to be in, 5:2 will probably become 6:1, as Michael Mosley has done. But it's an effective diet, an easy one to follow, and one that I will probably follow for the rest of my life. Try it & see for yourself!
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Tracked by 8 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 48 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 Jan 2013 17:09:23 GMT
wow! a very helpful and informative 'review'...I'm fully convinced!

Posted on 26 Jan 2013 10:02:03 GMT
Saw the Horizon program and tried this last year but I could not stick at it as I was feeling so hungry it hurt!
Was going to buy this book as I thought that it may be full of recipes to help the problems that I had but after reading this review and the statement that there are not that many recipes in I don't think I will bother now and I'll just go with the comments made by Mr. Watkinson.
Many thanks, great review.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Jan 2013 18:28:25 GMT
Last edited by the author on 16 Mar 2013 06:51:47 GMT
Delighted you found it useful. One minor clarification - I don't know what is in it, in terms of recipes. I don't own it remember! I do know that I'm a sufficiently good cook, and sufficiently well clued up on general nutrition, to be able to put together my own recipes without needing whatever is in here.

Posted on 27 Jan 2013 14:47:33 GMT
P. Pickering says:
You said it all! Thanks , husband and myself on it now in to our 3rd week and not finding it at all difficult. We are both hoping to be able to come off the statins we take in a few weeks time plus see a few 1lbs lost too! We are in our 70's but sure it's never too late to repair the inside!!--Can't do much about the outside but hey it's the inside we need healthy!!
Thanks again for summing up the program ---about what it said and meant --so well.

Posted on 28 Jan 2013 12:06:35 GMT
Having watched the programme and lost 1 stone 7 pounds on the Fasting diet I would still urge you to buy the book. No there aren't a lot of recipies but much more information than in this review. I bought a copy and it is fascinating. it's only 5 to buy!

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jan 2013 14:43:18 GMT
Pammy says:
I too would urge you to buy the book. At no point does it tell you to eat 35g protein - i had a delicious recipe from the book last night which used a tuna steak of 120g, and that was smaller than the one in the recipe. The book will help you understand what you're doing as well as help you create truly tasty recipes from fresh food. It will also help you understand GI and GL which are other important factors in sticking to the diet. I've lost 1k in my first week, plus an inch off my waist, and I'm feeling fine. I started at a good weight and BMI so I'm doing it to lose half a stone and to benefit my health.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jan 2013 21:36:03 GMT
Last edited by the author on 29 Jan 2013 21:36:26 GMT
I can't remember where I got the 35g from. It wasn't specifically stated in the Horizon documentary, so it may have been from some research that I did subsequent to the doc. However, Dr Mosley does explicitly make the point about cutting down on protein on your fast days in the programme, and the diet he describes is very definitely low on protein on the fast days. Incidentally, your 120g tuna steak only contains @31g of protein, so you are not eating as much as you think! ;-)

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jan 2013 22:21:30 GMT
Last edited by the author on 29 Jan 2013 22:22:12 GMT
Pammy says:
Point taken, but the book does say that you can either keep it simple and stick to the govt recommendation of 50g per day or, if you want to be more specific, you could follow the recommendations of Prof Valter Longo and stick to 0.8g of protein per kilo of bodyweight per day. Without wishing to sound pedantic, it simply means there is much more information about the best way to approach the fast diet in the book and it's well worth investing in it if you wish to know more about what you're doing. As Mosley points out, it's important to find a way that works for you, not stick to rigid rules.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jan 2013 23:32:05 GMT
Last edited by the author on 29 Jan 2013 23:32:35 GMT
Oh, absolutely! Hence my remarks in the review about not worrying if you break the calorie limit a little. I will continue to stick by my remarks over lowering protein intake, though. One of the things that struck me very strongly in the doc was that there is a strong correlation between protein intake & the level of IGF-1. Reducing IGF-1 levels is crucial to switching over to repair mode, and that is supposed to be the key part of the diet (despite the fact that we all love going "Oooo! Look how much weight I've lost! ;-) ).

On the general nutritional level, a fairly standard recommendation on protein is 1g per kg of bodyweight (so rather more than 50g for many people), or 1.5g if you're trying to build muscle. But not on a fast day! ;-)

Posted on 1 Feb 2013 21:14:58 GMT
Last edited by the author on 2 Feb 2013 13:40:05 GMT
Dee says:
Thank you for all that very helpful.
I have bought the book as I like to have it handy as a little boost to read esp on the fast days. enjoying the diet, and my husband has now joined me :D seems to be a great and easy way to keep the weight down, and improve health for all ages ...
PS I have also bought for my Kindle and its only 99p at the time of writing :D
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