The 5:2 diet might be your best bet for losing weight (and protecting your heart health)

Research has found people on the 5:2 diet lose weight more quickly [Photo: Getty]

We’re constantly being told that faddy diets don’t work, but it seems there’s one exception.

According to a new study, people on the 5:2 diet lose weight more quickly and are more healthy than those on a traditional diet.

Researchers, from the University of Surrey, found that participants on the part-time 5:2 diet, which involves eating normally for five days and “fasting” for two, were able to achieve at least five per cent of their weight-loss target within two months.

What’s more, there were health benefits to sticking with the diet as results revealed intermittent fasting helped remove fat from the blood more quickly than a traditional calorie restriction diet and there was a greater reduction in blood pressure.

The findings could indicate that the part-time diet could provide better long-term protection from heart disease.

The study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, divided 27 participants between daily and 5:2 diets.

Those on the 5:2 ate normally for five days, followed by two “fasting” days when they consumed only 600 calories for men, and 500 calories for women.

The 5:2 dieters achieved five per cent weight-loss within an average of 59 days, whereas the others took an average of 73 days.

The 5:2 diet involves eating normally for five days and ‘fasting’ for two [Photo: Getty]

The research team also found that the participants who followed the 5:2 diet cleared the fat from a meal given to them more efficiently than those who undertook the daily diet.

And those on the 5:2 diet also saw their blood pressure drop by nine per cent over the course of the trial, compared to a two per cent increase among the conventional dieters.

Commenting on the findings Dr Rona Antoni, Research Fellow in Nutritional Metabolism at the University of Surrey, said: “As seen in this study, some of our participants struggled to tolerate the 5:2 diet, which suggests that this approach is not suited to everybody; ultimately the key to dieting success is finding an approach you can sustain long term.

“But for those who do well and are able stick to the 5:2 diet, it could potentially have a beneficial impact on some important risk markers for cardiovascular disease, in some cases more so than daily dieting.

“However, we need further studies to confirm our findings, to understand the underlying mechanisms and to improve the tolerability of the 5:2 diet.”

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