Already a hit in England, the 5:2 fasting diet -- eating whatever you want for five days and fasting for two -- is now making waves over here in America. But is intermittent fasting safe? Samantha Logan, the author of "The 5:2 Fast Diet Cookbook," says yes:
"When you think about it," she says, "intermittent fasting is based on the 'feast or famine' diet of our evolutionary ancestors. There are many recent studies about the positive effects this diet can have on not only your weight, but also your mood, memory and even lifespan. It appears that eating the way our bodies evolved to eat has many far-reaching benefits we're just beginning to understand."
Not everyone's on board, though. Keri Gans, a New York-based nutrition consultant and the author of "The Small Change Diet," says a lifestyle like this is too hard to maintain. "Any diet that promotes fasting, on any level, cannot be sustained for the long haul and is basically another gimmick," she says. "As a health professional I promote making small changes and developing new healthy habits that can last a lifetime."
While the idea of fasting might not be a nutritionist's recommended approach, healthy recipes can still be found in Logan's book. If you want to give one of her protein-heavy recipes a try, we like these egg "pockets."
Quick Low-Cal, High-Energy Egg “Pockets”
Total Calories Per Serving: 114
Egg whites are a great source of protein. Combined with a handful of high-octane veggies and just enough cheese to bring everything together, you have a perfect little punch of a meal that should hold you a while. And at just 114 calories, you’ll even have an allowance for a pretzel rod (37 calories), a mini box of raisins (48 calories), or even a sugar-free fudge ice-pop (35 calories).
Makes 1 “Pocket”
3 egg whites
1 whole egg
2 tablespoons onions, chopped
1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper
Step 1: In a medium bowl, whisk together egg whites with whole egg.
Step 2: Spray sauté pan. Toss in onions, then mushrooms and tomatoes and cook on medium-high heat until slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Step 3: Re-spray sauté pan. Pour in egg mixture and season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes then add veggies to one side of the egg mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and fold into an omelet crescent, and then again into a triangle, or “pocket.”
Step 4: Carefully remove “pocket” from pan. Plate or pack in foil for eating on-the-go.
Great, low-calorie substitutions include zucchini, yellow squash, and bell peppers for the vegetables, and crumbled feta for the cheese.
Calories from Fat 33
% Daily Value
Total Fat 3.7 g 6%
Saturated Fat 1.9 g 9%
Trans Fat 0
Cholesterol 8 mg 3%
Sodium 242 mg 10%
Total Carbohydrates 5.1 g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1.1 g 4%
Sugar 2.9 g
Protein 15.5 g
Vitamin A 2%
Vitamin C 17%
Follow Meredith Engel on Twitter @MeredithAtMetro.