5:2 diet and Huel

I’m considering the 5:2 diet, which would involve restricting my calorie intake on so-called fast days to 650. There are two non-consecutive fast days each week and I’m thinking of consuming only 650 calories worth of Huel on those days and eating normally the rest of the week. Has anybody else tried this? Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

@stephen the good news is that with Huel is it super simple to weight out 650 cals of Huel, a lot simpler than calculating calories for a mixed diet. Also Huel is good at making you feel full. However, 650 cals is very low so it will be tricky. Also Huel is designed to give at least 100% of the essential vitamins and minerals at 2000 cals, so at 650 cals you will only be getting approx 1/3 of the recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals. You could supplement with a multi vitamins but those are not 100%.

I never realised until recently that even the top brands that claim 100%, e.g. Centrum, don’t include potassium.

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Great question - I was also pondering 5:2 - I have seen good results doing it. I’d be more inclined to go over the calorie amount using some Huel and maybe adding some fruit and vegetables (possibly even some avocado). Certainly less tax na day’s Huel and some added fruit and veg would beat 650 calories of “bad” food choices.

Hi Julian.The whole concept behind the 5:2 is to replicate the hunter/gatherer days, when humans had long periods of going hungry in the wait to find food. It has been proven that humans benefit from the reduction in food, as back then, we were healthier and more athletic. With the 5:2 diet, the sacrifice of 100% nutrition is made on the fast days, thus, there is no difference with using Huel on the fast days as opposed to actual food. . In fact, I would go as far as saying Huel is more suitable for the 5:2 diet, albeit the meals are smaller however they are perfectly balanced in nutrition.


Dr Mosley stole the research from Dr Varady. There was no clinical trial using the 5:2 method, but there was a recognised clinical trial using the 4:3/every other day system. Go down the proven route of the 4:3 routine. It’s backed by science, and research.

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Do you have a source for the science / research you refer to? I’d be interested to check it out, cheers, JJ

I think he means this.

Horizon, 2012-2013: 3. Eat, Fast and Live Longer: www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01lxyzc via @bbciplayer

I’ve partaken in intermittent fasting for several years, which is similar to the 5:2 except on fasting days I have nothing,

If you want to eat 650 calories on your 2 days then I can’t imagine anything better than Huel to fill that gap, it will allow you to take maximum nutritional advantage of a lowered calorie intake.


Dr Varady published her 4:3 diet in 2014

If you get motivated and into the flow of it, it’s a lot easier to keep track of than the 5:2 (if you didn’t feast yesterday, you can pig out today**). I kept it up for a month last year, cheated most days, and lost just over a stone. I’ve been trying again recently but can’t get back into it, am not sure why.

** It was around the same time I discovered the local sweet shop, every other day I was scoffing 100g of sweets and still losing weight :smile:

The reason for 5:2 is that it is easier on the body and more accessible than 4:3.

Dr Moseley is a doctor/journalist and so was originally reporting on his own experiences of using the various types of diet. There are a number of research centres involved in research for a variety of diets, which range from fasting 19 hours a day and eating only in a five hour window, fasting on 5-600 calories every other day or fasting two days a week. I know it is not scientific but having tried a lot of different calories-reduced diets over the years, I found that on most of them my weight loss slowed as I spent longer on the diet, and I was quick to put the weight back on when I stopped.

I did six months meticulously following the every other day diet and didn’t lose a pound, although I did lose inches. I then decided to switch to the 5:2 diet, thinking that it was unlikely that I would lose weight, but wanting the health benefits. I lost two stone over the course of nearly two years. I stopped due to a house move and illness, but the weight did not go straight back on.

I’ve been a member of various groups for the 5:2 diet and have looked at a lot of research, much of which contradicts other studies. Some say you have to fast entirely for 16 hours or more to get the health benefits, others say that you can spread your 500 calories (if a woman) or 600 calories (if a man) over the course of the 24 hours with no loss of health benefits. You have to be careful in looking at studies that you are comparing like with like. Some researchers give rats or humans unrestricted access to food on their non-fasting days, some restrict the type and quantity. Some give high quality diets rich in fruit and vegetables, and some give very poor diets rich in corn syrup.

My own experience has led me to believe that the 5:2 diet offers me the healthiest way to lose weight,and has health benefits too. As outlined in Dr Moseley’s BBC programme, you can easily judge the benefits from improved balance etc. I am using Huel to be able to return to the 5:2 diet - I find that the less I can think about food, the easier it is to stick to - preparing food on a fast day is a trial I’d rather avoid. Food tastes glorious on non-fast days!

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