[Steve Wright:] Dr Michael Mosley is a journalist, science presenter and producer. He is well known for his programs on biology and medicine particularly his
series on the workings of the human body, inside the human body. Last August, Michael was credited with popularising the "5:2 Diet" after appearing in the BBC Two Horizon documentary "Eat Fast Live Longer," which had a phenomenal global response. Now Michael along with journalist and author, Mimi Spencer, has just published the "Fast Diet" which outlines how intermittent fasting helps you lose weight and live longer. So listen to this, the key to the book… In fact, let's welcome him, and… [applause] I was going to say, quartering your calorie intake for two non-consecutive days each week. So just run that by me again and tell me how that actually works. [Michael Mosley:] Okay. [SW:] So imagine it’s Wednesday, as it is, on this diet, what would I be doing now on a Wednesday? [MM:] Okay, so what I actually do is every Monday and every Thursday I eat 500 calories or 600 calories around there.

So I have breakfast which consists of a couple of scrambled eggs and a piece of ham, that’s about 300 calories. I drink loads of black tea, water, black coffee until the evening about 7 O’clock when I have a pile of vegetables, enormous pile of vegetables, with a slice of salmon or something like that. [SW:] So you’d be skipping lunch? [MM:] That’s a fasting day. Right, skip lunch. [SW:] Right. So what do you do for lunch when you are feeling a bit pangy? [MM:] These days I don’t because I’ve got used to it. The thing about this diet… I mean it’s been studied now for 20 years by some of the world’s leading scientists. Indeed one of the guys behind it is the most cited scientist in his area, which is neuroscience, in the world. So it’s not new. What’s new is that I came along and promoted it and did it, [laughter] and also what is new is the fact there are human trials underway at the moment of it.

So it’s not a gimmick, it’s based on a huge amount of science. [SW:] So just clarify what you do then? You semi-fast, for two days out of seven and the other five days you can eat absolutely normally? [MM:] Yeah. [SW:] It’s just simple as that. [MM:] And that’s why foodies love it. People like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has just written about it saying he loves it, because they can eat and drink exactly what they want, five days a week and two days a week they eat what I’ve just described, which is a light breakfast and a light supper.

[SW:] Okay, you’re the scientist, you’re the doctor, why does that work? [MM:] The reason it works is partly because you consume less calories, because you are actually consuming a quarter of the amount of calories on two days a week. And on that basis just from normal physics, you will lose about a pound of fat a week. You will appear to lose more than that because all diets, what happens is you lose mainly water at the beginning, so you appear to be losing loads and loads of weight than you stabilize, and that’s because it’s mainly water. On this diet, you lose about a pound of fat a week and then you just constantly go on doing it. At a cellular level what happens is your system is being stressed because we evolved at the time when feast and famine was the norm. So a 100,000 years ago, we did not eat four meals a day. We basically went off, we killed something, we ate it, we gorged ourselves, and then we ate nothing for quite a while.

And our bodies like stress. The reason that exercise works is because it tears muscle. It stresses muscle and then when you recover, you recover stronger. [SW:] On the fasting days, what about sustaining energy levels? [MM:] One of the surprising things is after about two or three weeks, what happens is you will find that you actually have more energy, because they know that what happens is your brain starts producing this stuff called neurotrophic factor which makes you feel good. They’ve detected it in every animal model they’ve tested and they’re just starting next week, they’re gonna start human trials of it. So what this stuff does which is called BDNF and they’ve have measured it in all sorts of animals, is it makes you feel good, it’s the stuff that gets produced when you take antidepressants except it’s a natural thing. So it will make you feel better, sharper. It will protect you against dementia if they’re right. And the other thing is, most people have this idea that, “Ooh, if I don’t eat then my blood sugars will sink”. [SW:] Yes. [MM:] That is complete and utter fallacy.

You would have to go without eating for three days and probably run at least three miles for your blood sugars to sink. It just doesn’t happen, your body is fantastically good. All that happens is that you are used to a high sugar diet and so for the first three weeks you will find it quite tough. [SW:] The other question I wanted to ask you, it’s about the actual recipes. So these are recipes for the days that we’re fasting? Or… [MM:] That’s right. [SW:] Okay, so let’s say… [MM:] Because the idea is you don’t want to… On a diet, you don’t want to change too many things. You want to keep it really simple. [SW:] Yes.
[MM:] So broadly speaking I am saying on your five days, do whatever you normally do, don’t bother about it. All you do on your two days is you reduce the amount you eat.

Now these recipes suggest ways you can do it. Lots of people save a lot of money on this, because obviously you’re spending a lot less. [SW:] Okay, by the way Michael’s book “The Fast Diet” is out now and when we come back we’ll talk briefly about the diet book again and then also this exciting new series… What’re you laughing at now? [laughter] Fore more info, recipes, book link or click below.



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