Customer Review

1,926 of 2,079 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Try the diet, skip the book, March 13, 2013
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This review is from: The FastDiet: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Live Longer with the Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting (Kindle Edition)
The 5:2 diet plan is pretty simple, two days a week you keep your calories to a minuscule 500/600 per day and the rest of the week eat normally. The author claims that a) you will lose weight and b) it will dramatically improve your long term health.

Let me address the first part. I have been trying the diet for a couple of weeks and it has been working for me. I am one of those people that has that stubborn last 10-15 pounds to lose and I have made more progress, down about 8 lbs since trying the diet. I find the diet really easy to follow, basically 2 days a week I watch what I eat and keep to the 600 calories. On those days, I drink more coffee and tea then usual to keep myself from eating, but once resigned to a fast day, basically you just have to make it through the day. I pick Mondays because they stink anyhow and one other day. Oddly, once you get used to it, the fasting is really no big deal. I get hungry a couple times a day and it is amazing a cup of green tea and the hunger goes away. While 600 calories is not a lot, it is enough to function, work and workout without any difficulties.

I do truly believe that this plan will work for me long term as I consider it more of a strategy then a diet. (The strategy concept was in the book.) Basically, I need to cut my calories down and was not very good at knocking off 500 calories a day for a week by eating slightly less. So this I think will work for me. (I will circle back in a month with a weight update.)

Moving to the book. I have two issues with the book. The plan is so blazingly simple (which may be part of its appeal) that you really don't need a book. Cut your calories to 500/600 per day twice a week and that is what you do. Once you get your goal weight go to one day a week. If you start gaining weight back go back to 2 days. That is pretty much it, not sure why it takes more than a page or two to explain. Heck I just explained it in 2 sentences. Dieting is not rocket science, people need to eat less and burn more to lose weight. This is one simple strategy for eating less.

My second complaint about the book is that it has all sorts of medical claims. The reality is that the diet is too new and the claims are not supported by hard scientific evidence in my view. The book is full of anecdotal evidence from people who have been on the diet and also from some studies about fasting. Not what I call hard science. I have a lot of trouble believing all the fantastic medical claims that the book put forward. I am not saying that they are not true, but what I am saying is it is too early and there is too little data.

In conclusion, I just don't see any point to the book. There are plenty of articles out there on the diet, and getting started is really simple, the book in my view didn't add enough value for me to justify the price and time I spent reading it.
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Tracked by 19 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 334 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 13, 2013 11:34:41 AM PDT
I think you meant "anecdotal' evidence.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 13, 2013 11:42:22 AM PDT
D. Farina says:
Yep sure did, bad spell check. Will fix

Posted on Mar 15, 2013 4:17:06 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 15, 2013 4:19:44 AM PDT
No class says:
Have you seen the BBC Horizon program that this is based on? If not I highly recommend it - a compelling one hour of viewing. Once you have seen the program I suspect you would then be more convinced by the health benefits. This is actually an eating regime that improves health with the by-product of weight loss - not a diet.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 15, 2013 6:20:14 AM PDT
D. Farina says:
I did not see the BBC documentary. Maybe this is one of those rare occasions where the movie is better than the book.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 15, 2013 5:04:15 PM PDT
shocked! says:
I'm with you - I'm curious about the "diet," and my husband and I have just started it, but I also feel that it's a bit too soon to extrapolate the health benefits of fasting from lab animal research to humans just yet. I plan on spending an hour of my life watching the documentary, found it here if you're interested:

Thanks for the thoughtful review and for saving me a few bucks!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 15, 2013 5:39:36 PM PDT
D. Farina says:
Thanks for the link. I will watch the documentary. I like the diet, it just works for my life style. Anything else is a bonus in my view. Good luck with the diet.

Posted on Mar 16, 2013 10:14:00 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 16, 2013 10:26:15 AM PDT
Steven Mason says:
Mr. Farina, what a strange review! So, you wrote a review to tell people that they don't need to read the stinkin' book, eh? On the one hand you say that you've adopted this way of eating and on the other hand you try to talk people out of spending the price of a movie ticket to buy the book. In the same vein, I could tell people not to bother buying any books about psychology, philosophy, sociology and religion (including the Bible!) when all they need to do is follow the simple Golden Rule.

Yes, the plan itself is simple, and that's a good thing. And like most diet books, this one has some guidelines for what kinds of foods are healthy and which are not so healthy. Also like most diet books, this one has some menu plans and pretty pictures. Lots of people like that sort of stuff, Mr. Farina. Maybe you don't, but other people don't mind paying the price of a movie ticket to get that stuff. And some people prefer to get all the information in a single book rather than to search for "plenty of articles."

Mr. Farina, you probably already know everything about everything, but some people don't know anything about the history and the various contexts of fasting. I know this will come as a shock to you, Mr. Farina, but some people are so woefully ignorant about fasting that they may feel concern it might be harmful. Or maybe they will read this book and discover that the fasting plan is not right for them, because the author does point out, for example, that women who want to get pregnant or are already pregnant and prepubescent children should not adopt this plan. You don't need no stinkin' book for that kind of information, but maybe other people do.

Now let's talk about medical claims. Please give me an example of a medical claim that the author is making for humans, and then we'll take a closer look at that. I assume you know that anecdotes are not medical claims. There is nothing wrong with anecdotes, Mr. Farina, as long as they are true. Anecdotes serve to demonstrate what kinds of changes are possible, and so much the better if some of those anecdotes are also supported with medical tests. For some people an anecdote in which they see themselves is the extra push they need to get started. An inspiring anecdote is sometimes the cure for inertia and fear. You may think of them as cheap tricks, but again you have to remember that you are much smarter than most of us.

Regarding any of the "fantastic" medical claims in the book, I'm assuming that the author is describing some of the possibilities rather than making any outright claims. I'm also assuming that some of those possibilities are based on animal research studies, which do seem to suggest - dare I say it? - fantastic results. There have been some limited human studies, and certainly more need to be done (and will be done). In the meantime, given the fact that many Americans are overweight and suffering from various chronic ailments and given the fact that there seems to be no health risk to following this diet plan, and given the unfortunate fact that just about all the other diet plans out there seem to fail sooner or later, for one reason or another, one could arrive at the reasonable conclusion that this plan might be worth trying in order to improve one's general health, and if any of the "fantastic" benefits turns out to be true, so much the better. :-)

Oh, and by the way, Mr. Farina, if you are a bit overweight or if you have any medical condition such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, high LDL, low HDL, or any of the metabolic syndromes, please feel free to share your own personal anecdote with us. We'd all love to see if your health improves on this diet. And if you are a perfectly healthy specimen of manhood, please tell me why you have an interest in this diet. :-)

I'm going to try this plan, too. I am a middle-aged man who is generally healthy, but I want to lose that twenty pounds of fat I've added over the decades. If following this plan can accomplish that, I'd say that's pretty FANTASTIC.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2013 1:04:07 AM PDT
shocked! says:
Hi Steven - I do not see where Mr. Farina's review was dismissing this eating plan; rather, he was reviewing the book about this approach and what this book offered to the concept. I think what you wrote here (with some editing to remove the lambasting of Mr. Farina's opinion), would serve as an excellent review of the book. I'm just baffled on why you are ripping in to this person for expressing his opinion of what he read.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2013 2:39:29 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 17, 2013 2:52:40 AM PDT
Steven Mason says:
Shocked, I understand that Mr. Farina is not dismissing the eating plan; after all, he's on it. I realize that you feel extremely grateful to Mr. Farina for saving you a few bucks, but since you admit to not reading the book I am "baffled" at why my comment baffles you. The fact is, you don't know if the author has "extrapolated animal research" in a reckless manner because you haven't read the book.

It doesn't seem to baffle you that Mr. Farina is "ripping" the author. He is trying his best to convince people not to buy or even read this book. The criticism that the plan is too simple just doesn't make sense. You can't go around telling people to fast two days a week without providing some background and information. Can this information be found elsewhere? Yes, of course. Indeed, if you do some online research you will find a baffling variety of fasting diet plans. The fasting plan that can be found in this book is a relatively moderate plan. Some people prefer to get their information in a single convenient book, and other people will read "plenty of articles." Gee, who would of thought that people have choices in America?

And since it's a diet plan book, many people expect and want menu plans and anecdotes. It's fine if Mr. Farina expresses his view that he doesn't like anecdotes and menu plans, but what makes him think that other people shouldn't like them?

Even worse, Mr. Farina "lambastes" (nice word!) the author for making irresponsible health benefit claims. In response, I am asking Mr. Farina to provide a couple of examples. We'll see what he comes up with. If his assertion is accurate, I probably won't buy the book, but he's going to have to support his accusation with evidence. He's making a pretty serious accusation, by the way.

I have some reason to question Mr. Farina's accusation. I listened for an hour to the author discussing this book. At no point in that hour did he make any fantastic or irresponsible claims. He struck me as rather circumspect, actually. But it's always possible that in person the author is Dr. Jekyll and when he wrote the book he was Mr. Hyde. :-)

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2013 5:32:39 AM PDT
D. Farina says:
Mr. Mason I seem to have hit a cord with you, given your lengthy commentary of my review. No sure why you think my concept is strange. The author, Dr. Mosley, didn't invent the concept of intermittent fasting and this book is one of many on the subject. You seem to believe that this author has written the definitive piece on the subject, and even go as far to compare it the bible.

I find your line about psychology, philosophy.... particularly ridiculous. Lets say I am a practicing Buddhist and you wrote a book about Buddhist philosophy. Why couldn't I think that your book was terrible and still practice Buddhism.

As for this book, I really thought the book was mediocre. The science section of the book was wholly unconvincing in my opinion. I don't have any problems with anecdotes. What I do have a problem is too many anecdotes and not enough facts. The section on the execution of the actual diet was really short and that was the best part of the book. After that I was stunned that the rest of the book was filled with commentary from people on the diet and a bunch of pretty pictures of food. While some may find this useful or helpful, I really thought the book completely lacked substance. I literally read the whole book in about an hour and I am not a fast reader.

Since reading the book and being on the diet, I have read a lot more on the diet, and the science is a long way from settled. A quick Internet search on the 5:2 diet will reveal much controversy. For example, below is a paragraph from the March 1 New York Times article:

"But not everyone is singing the diet's praises. The National Health Service, Britain's publicly funded medical establishment, put out a statement on its Web site shortly after the book came out: "Despite its increasing popularity, there is a great deal of uncertainty about I.F. (intermittent fasting) with significant gaps in the evidence."

Given the popularity of the diet, I am sure there will be more studies and perhaps some consensus on the science. However, at present there is little consensus.

I always find that on Amazon, the negative reviews are most helpful. I like to hear from people who don't like a book and see if I agree. That is what in my view makes the Amazon community work. I truly thought this book was not worth the money.
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