If you are looking for a cure for a fatty liver then you could try The 5/2 Fasting Diet. It is an eating pattern that requires you to eat normally for five days and restrict calories for the remaining two days in a week.
Also known as the Fast Diet, the diet was made famous by British doctor and journalist Dr Michael Mosley.
Many people find this manner of eating to be easier to follow than the traditional calorie-restricted diet. Although the main benefit of this eating pattern is to help someone lose weight, others believe that it can also help treat non alcoholic fatty liver.
So, in this article, let’s find out more about the 5/2 Fasting Diet and determine if it’s truly effective in treating non-alcoholic fatty liver.
What is Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver?
Your liver should not contain much fat, only about 1-3%, but some people get a build up of fat in it. Once the build up gets to over 5% it can cause problems like poor liver function.A fatty liver can be caused if you drink a lot of alcohol but in this case that is not the cause.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver Disease (NAFLD) is often seen in cases of obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, high levels of triglycerides in the blood.
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In many cases people do not know they have a build up of fat in the liver as it does not always show on a blood test that tests for liver function.
I remember watching a TV program a few years ago where people went to an organic farm for a sugar detox. One participant only discovered he had a fatty liver when he had a liver scan.
NAFLD, if left untreated, can lead to liver damage, including cirrhosis, risk of diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and even cancer.
You will be glad to know that it is possible to stop a fatty liver getting worse and to reduce the amount of fat in your liver with the correct diet.
What is the 5/2 Fasting Diet?
The 5:2 diet is a type of intermittent fasting, an eating pattern that involves switching between fasting and eating on a regular schedule.
With the 5:2 diet, you only need to reduce their calorie intake to 500 or 600 calories for two days, and then you can eat normally for five days. This eating method became popular in 2013 when British journalist and TV presenter Dr Michael Mosley wrote his bestselling book, “The Fast Diet.”
As explained in the book, the diet is easy to follow, which is why it has gained many followers. According to Mosley,
“It’s very simple: for five days a week you don’t calorie count, then for two days a week you cut down your calories to 500 – 600 a day.”
The practice of intermittent fasting as a wellness trend has become popular over recent years. Several scientists have studied intermittent fasting and are particularly interested in whether it can promote weight loss and treat diseases like nonalcoholic fatty liver.
However, the results of the studies have been mixed, and others cite several complexities in their research.
What Can You Eat on a 5/2 Fasting Diet?
When following the 5/2 Fasting Diet, you must restrict your calories to only 500 a day for women and 600 a day for men during the two fasting days. The days do not have to be consecutive. For the rest of the week, you can eat normally but healthily preferably.
However, as stated in the “The Fast Diet” book, “eating normally” means you should eat only the amount of calories your body needs to perform your daily activities.
You must not overindulge during the non-fasting days and eat only reasonable portions of a wide range of healthy foods. In addition, you will get much more benefits out of the diet if you switch to a low-carb diet on both fasting days and non-fasting days. In fact, some people have done the fasting together with the keto diet for better results.
Combining Intermittent Fasting with keto comes with many health benefits. Aside from amplifying the weight loss benefits, following both diets can also come with several health benefits. These include improving blood pressure, reducing inflammation, improving metabolic health, and more.
Related reading: Can You Do Intermittent Fasting On Keto?
One of the main reasons why many people have become so interested in the 5/2 Fasting Diet is its simplicity. There are no complicated meal plans to follow, and you don’t need to count calories or measure food portions.
Effective Tips for Following the 5/2 Fasting Diet
Here are some tips to keep in mind when following the 5/2 Fasting Diet:
- While most people would fast on two consecutive days, you’ll find the eating plan easier to follow if you space out your fast days. For instance, you can fast on Sunday. Then you can eat normally on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, then fast again on Thursday, and eat normally on Friday and Saturday
- Eat dinner earlier the night before your fast and eat breakfast later the day after your fast. That way, you can make the most of the 500 or 600-calorie count.
- Make sure you stay within the recommended amount of protein when fasting. Many people tend to eat a lot of protein during their normal days, which could affect the diet’s weight loss benefits. The recommended daily protein consumption is only 0.8 grams per kilo of your body weight. You can use an online calculator to determine your recommended daily protein intake.
- Drink lots of fluids during your fast days. Although pure water is the best, you can also drink coffee or tea. Try to drink at least eight glasses per day.
- Don’t forget to exercise when following the 5/2 Fasting Diet. You don’t need to perform strenuous exercises. Climbing stairs or walking more should be enough.
Is the 5/2 Fasting Diet Effective for Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver?
There are not yet any medications approved for the treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver, although some are in clinical trials. But normally, the first line of treatment is for the patient to lose weight.
Losing weight can help reduce the liver’s fat, inflammation, and scarring. Because of this, some health experts believe that the 5/2 Fasting Diet can help treat nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
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In a recent randomised controlled trial researchers found that both intermittent calorie restriction or a low-carb high-fat diet could improve NAFLD. You would think that a high fat diet would not be advised for a fatty liver wouldn’t you?
The effect of the low carb and high fat diet is weight loss and when you restrict the carbs in your diet enough to get into ketosis the body uses it’s stores of fat to produce energy. Fat is taken out of the liver too.
A review done on six studies involving people with nonalcoholic fatty liver found that those who practiced intermittent fasting saw an improvement on their liver function tests compared to those who did not fast.
The authors have also concluded that this was primarily because intermittent fasting has helped the participants lose weight significantly. However, the researchers pointed out that more large-scale and randomized studies are needed before they can make specific recommendations.
Scientists at Helmholtz Zentrum München have been able to show that when a person is deprivated of food a certain protein is produced that adjusts the metabolism in the liver.
The 5/2 Fasting Diet may help you lose weight and improve your nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. However, some experts say that long-term studies of intermittent fasting are required before they can make definite conclusions.
You may have many questions about whether the 5/2 fasting is right for you, especially if you have underlying health conditions such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. In that case, it is best to consult with your doctor, Functional Medicine practitioner or a registered nutritionist for guidance.