It has been described as the biggest diet revolution since the Atkins, and the Fast Diet is fast becoming THE way to lose weight and keep healthy.
Based on the principle that two days out of every seven should be given over to a low calorie intake, the diet claims to help fight the flab and cut cholestrol and blood sugar levels.
The runaway success of the Fast Diet appears to be its freedoms and flexibility, its simple basic tenets and its much-lauded scientific backing.
But from a psychological point of view, its indisputable attraction is that the low calorie intake (about a quarter of the normal daily recommendation) is limited to only two days a week, leaving the rest of the time blissfully free of diet worry.
And to help dieters stick to only 500 or 600 calories on those all-important ‘fast’ days, there is now a specially designed recipe book with 150 delicious and nutritious calorie-controlled meals to enable you to incorporate the 5:2 weight-loss system into your daily life.
Start your day with a soft boiled egg accompanied by some asparagus spears, tuck into a bowl of porridge sprinkled with ‘jewel’ fruits such as berries and cherries or, if you have more time, cook up a fluffed prawn omelette packed with protein.
Keep your energy levels high all day by breakfasting on a nutritious plate of chicken, broccoli and scrambled eggs or mix up your own muesli and serve with cherries and yoghurt.
For supper, you can look forward to mouth-watering dishes like a super simple aubergine curry, a portion of salmon and ribbon veg, Sarah Raven’s pan-fried lambs’ kidneys with lentils, a truly delicious and lightweight cottage pie topped with celeriac and leek or find comfort in a warming but low calorie winter stew.
If you are in danger of exceeding your calorie limit, treat yourself to a vegetable-packed, 108-calorie ‘allotment soup’ which promises to fill you up as soon as you look at it, or scan the useful index at the back of the book which details recipes in order of calorie count.
And if you simply can’t resist snacking, there are some inspired fast day quick bites like air-popped popcorns, sugar-free jelly pots and plain endamame steamed and served warm with a little rock salt.
There are also detailed menu plans and plenty of encouraging tips, including kitchen-cupboard essentials, the latest nutritional advice and a whole section of speedy meals for busy days.
Beautifully illustrated and with easy to follow instructions, this groundbreaking companion book explains everything you need to know about the rules and guidelines of the Fast Diet as well serving up recipes so delicious that you’ll want to eat them on feast days as well as fast days.
(Short Books, paperback, £14.99)