The 5:2 diet – a more flexible approach to weight loss post pregnancy

BioTechniques News
Aisha Al-Janabi

Researchers have found that the 5:2 diet could be a highly effective alternative to conventional diets for new mothers with gestational diabetes in the prevention of Type 2 diabetes later in life.

Researchers from the University of South Australia (Adelaide, Australia), led by Dr Kristy Gray, have found that the 5:2 diet, or intermittent fasting, has comparable results to daily continuous calorie restriction. This could provide women affected by gestational diabetes with an easier method to lose weight after pregnancy, thereby preventing the development of Type 2 diabetes later in life. 

Gestational diabetes affects one in five pregnancies and, when combined with a BMI above 30, can lead to the development of Type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases at a later stage. One method to reduce the risk of this is to lose weight, but for mothers with a new baby, it can be especially difficult to stick to a conventional diet.  

As most people can agree, being a parent is hard work. New babies require almost constant care and have unique requirements, meaning that there is little time for parents to take care of themselves. Yet weight loss following gestational diabetes is incredibly important to prevent harmful lifelong consequences.  

Novel method could lead to non-invasive diabetes monitoring

Diabetes affects approximately 425 million individuals globally. Research shows that diabetes could be monitored with saliva as a cheaper and pain-free alternative to blood.

Researchers from the University of South Australia may have found an easier alternative. While normal diets require an individual to restrict their calorie intake daily, the 5:2 diet allows them to eat regularly for 5 days out of the week and only restrict their calorie intake 2 days a week.  

The researchers in this study took women with a history of gestational diabetes and placed them into two groups. One group was placed on a continuous energy-restricted diet of 1500 kcal a day and the other group was placed on a 5:2 diet where they ate 500 kcals on their restricted days. Both diets had an approximate 25% energy restriction per week. By the end of the 12-month study, results showed that both groups lost a significant amount of weight.  

This research could be a welcome alternative to conventional diets for mothers following pregnancy allowing them to focus on calorie restriction for only 2 days of the week. Dr Kirsty Gray said that, “our research shows that the 5:2 diet is just as effective at achieving weight loss as a continuous energy-restricted diet in women who have had gestational diabetes, which is great, because it provides women with greater choice and control.”  

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