It began with a humble British television documentary that aired against the Olympics last summer. Even the host of the documentary about a new diet thought it would be watched by a few, and then forgotten. But it has since turned into Britain’s biggest weight-loss phenomenon. A word of warning: It’s arrived in the United States. Another warning: It involves fasting.
Dr. Michael Mosley, a doctor and television journalist, has tapped into a growing field of research on the benefits of intermittent fasting. From that preliminary research he’s written the best-selling book “The Fast Diet.” It has dominated Britain’s Amazon.com sales charts since it was published there in January, and is currently number eight in Amazon sales in this country. The television documentary, which can be streamed on PBS, launched the British craze of eating five days a week and fasting for two. It’s become known as the 5:2 diet. Fasting days don’t require abstention from food; 500 to 600 calories are allowed. On the other days, recommended caloric intake for men and women varies, but runs between roughly 2,000 to 2,500 per day.