- 5 days a week – eat anything.
- 2 days – eat a quarter of your usual calorie intake – 500 calories a day for women, 600 calories a day for men.
- When fasting, eat low-glycemic foods – mostly protein and vegetables.
Below is an outline of the food recommendations in the book.
Get a copy of The Fast Diet – Amazon UK or Amazon USA – for the full benefits of the plan, recipes, and meal plans.
Also see The Fast Diet Recipe Book (Amazon UK) and The FastDiet Cookbook (Amazon USA) – for recipes with calorie counts and meal plans.
The reasoning behind The Fast Diet
This book claims that we are genetically built to occasionally gorge and then to have to go for long periods of time without having anything to eat. Fasting leads to longevity, reducing the amount of IGF-1 your body produces to minimize accelerated aging and cancer. Fasting also appears to switch on a number of repair genes in your body.
FastDiet foods – what to eat on fast days and non-fast days
- Fasting days – 2 non-consecutive days a week, follow the restrictions below
- Non-fasting days – The other 5 days, there are no limitations on what you can eat
Do not follow this diet if you are pregnant or under 18 years old. The diet is not recommended for type 1 diabetics or people with eating disorders, or people who are already extremely lean.
If you have another medical condition, check with your physician before following this diet.
2 days a week – Fasting days
Choose two days a week, not consecutive. Mondays and Thursdays are a suggestion. You can add a third day if you want, however beware of “fast fatigue.”
Some people may experience headaches or constipation, particularly at first; these can generally be alleviated by drinking lots of calorie-free liquids and eating foods that are rich in fiber
Once you’ve reached your target weight or just a shade below, you can consider adopting the Maintenance Model – fast on only 1 day a week or once every 8-10 days, to stay at your current weight and keep the anti-aging benefits of occasional fasting. Or consider adapting your consumption on non-fast days to eat more calorie-dense foods.
Foods to eat in The Fast Diet fasting days
- Types of food
- Animal protein (if you want) – beef (e.g. sirloin steak), pork (e.g. lean pork loin, fat-free ham, bacon), chicken breast, fish (e.g. tilapia, salmon, tuna, mackerel, shrimp), eggs (boiled or poached)
- Vegetables – aim for a wide variety – different colors, textures, tastes, shapes. E.g. asparagus, avocado, broccoli, broccoli rabe, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, edamame, eggplant, fennel, green beans, unlimited leafy greens (spinach, kale, chard, mustard greens, salad leaves, watercress), leeks, mushrooms, bell peppers, scallions, snow peas, a handful of cherry tomatoes, zucchini. Eat a wide range of different-colored plants, No fixed guidelines about eating them raw or cooked – “have both, often”. Be cautious about starchy vegetables as they tend to have a higher GL and calorific value – proceed with caution and don’t add butter. Eat onions in moderation because of their GI value.
- Fruit – citrus fruits (tangerine or grapefruit in particular), a watermelon slice, an apple (eat the skin, seeds, and core), a handful of berries such as blueberries or a couple of strawberries, a fig, a small banana, a small mango
- Nuts – almonds, cashews, coconut flakes (unsweetened), pistachios. Eat in moderation as nut calories quickly add up
- Seeds – sunflower
- Soup – light broth or miso soup
- Carbohydrates – whole-grain bread or tortillas, whole-grains (oats, bulgur, couscous, quinoa, brown rice/brown basmati), beans and lentils. As an alternative to pasta or wheat noodles, try shirataki noodles
- Dairy – low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese, cottage cheese, cream cheese, or yogurt
- Flavors – including chili flakes, cornichons, cumin, fresh herbs, garlic, ginger, jalapeños, lemon juice, mustard, olives, pepper, soy sauce, Thai fish sauce, vinegar, wasabi. The cookbook refers to these non-carb flavor enhancers as the “fantastic five”: lime juice, soy sauce, fresh ginger, garlic, and Asian fish sauce
- Use agave as a sweetener if required, as it’s low-GI. Or try a sprinkling of coconut
- Other guidelines
- Fast days should be low-fat rather than no-fat – a little olive oil, nuts, and (trimmed) fattier meats are included
- Ensure that you get some fiber on your fast days – eat the skin of apples and pears, have oats for breakfast, eat plenty of green leafy vegetables
- Your aim is to have food that makes you feel satisfied but stays firmly within the 500/600 calorie allowance – and the best options to achieve that are high in protein and foods with a low glycemic index
- Weigh foods after preparing them, to get an accurate calorie count
- Broadly speaking, a glycemic index GI over 50 or a glycemic load GL over 20 is not good, and the lower both figures are, the better.
- Stay hydrated – find no-calorie drinks you like, and drink them in quantity. Water (hot or cold, perhaps with lemon, mint leaves, cloves, ginger, or lemongrass), coffee or tea (black and sugarless), miso soup, instant low-calorie hot chocolate
- Choose your own preferred way to consume your 500 or 600 calories – could be one meal a day, breakfast and dinner, two meals with some snacks in between, or your own preference. On purely theoretical grounds, a longer period without food (e.g. breakfast and dinner with a 12-hour break in between) should produce better results than one when you eat smaller amounts more frequently. Aim for as long a fasting window between bouts of eating as possible, as this is where many of the benefits of intermittent fasting lie
- As an alternative, try the two-to-two – fasting not from bedtime to bedtime, but from 2pm until 2pm – after lunch on day one, eat sparingly until a late lunch on the following day
- Wait before you eat – try to resist for at least 10 minutes, 15 if you can, to see if the hunger subsides
Foods to avoid or limit with The Fast Diet fasting days
- Stay within your calorie limit
- Limit or avoid high-glycemic GI or GL foods. Watch out for high-glycemic potatoes and many fruits, as well as dried fruits such as raisins and dates, which can spike your blood sugar and are best left for the days when you are eating freely. Fruit juices also have a high sugar content
- Avoid starchy white carbohydrates (bread, potatoes, pasta). It isn’t’t expressly discussed in the book, but implied that you should avoid sugar on these days; the cookbook says that as a rule you should avoid white carbs on a fast day
- There are no guidelines on artificial additives and artificial sweeteners, but in general the book recommends “real” foods for the fast days so we assume these shouldn’t be included
- Avoid full-fat dairy and butter
- Remove the skin and fat from meats before cooking
- Avoid alcohol – it merely provides empty calories
- Avoid processed foods – they tend to have hidden sugars and not contain much nutritional value
- Meal replacement shakes – the authors aren’t great fans and think real food is better, but if you find they help you can use them – choose a brand that is low in sugar
Having an extra cookie on a fast day would be antithetical to your goals – when you’re fasting, you need to think sensibly and coherently about your food choices and exercise willpower
Other 5 days a week – Non-fasting days
Foods to eat in The Fast Diet non-fasting days
- Eat what you want – no foods are off limits
Note that after about 6 months of intermittent fasting, you may find that you eat half the meat you once did, unconsciously. You’re likely to consume more vegetables. Many intermittent fasters instinctively retreat from bread, while stodgy “comfort foods” seem less appealing and refined sugars aren’t as tempting as they once were
Foods to avoid or limit with The Fast Diet non-fasting days
- No restrictions
Health benefits claimed in The Fast Diet
The diet in this book claims to reduce the risks for: Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, cancer, dementia and cognitive decline, diabetes, heart disease, high blood glucose / high blood sugar, high insulin resistance, low mood, chronic inflammation, memory loss, overweight/obesity, skin complexion issues, stroke
It also claims anti-aging benefits
As always, this is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical diagnosis or treatment for a medical condition. Consult your doctor before starting a new diet. This page describes what the authors of the diet recommend – Chewfo is describing the diet only, and does not endorse it.
Get a copy of The Fast Diet - Amazon UK or Amazon USA - for the full benefits of the plan, recipes, and meal plans. Also see www.thefastdiet.co.uk for tips.
Also see The Fast Diet Recipe Book (Amazon UK) and The FastDiet Cookbook (Amazon USA) - for recipes with calorie counts and meal plans.