Which diet is best - 5:2 or calorie counting?

Compliance to intermittent fasting wanes over time, say researchers

It may be the go-to diet of celebs and social influencers, but the 5:2 intermittent fasting diet is no better than old-fashioned calorie counting when it comes to dropping kilos, German and US research suggests.

Nearly a year after being randomly assigned to undertake the 5:2 diet, a group of 45 obese and overweight non-smokers had lost about 5% of their body weight — the same amount as 41 dieters following a continuous restricted calorie diet.

There was also no difference in changes to weight distribution, with similar reductions in visceral fat and fat in the liver in both groups, researchers from the German Cancer Research Centre and Heidelberg University Hospital found.

While previous, smaller studies had shown intermittent fasting had a stronger impact on metabolic health than a conventional calorie-controlled diet, this trial suggested they were “similarly practical and beneficial”, they wrote