Lose fat fast and really keep it off with these new Fast 800 recipes by creator of the 5:2 diet Dr Michael Mosley and Dr Clare Bailey, YOU’s resident doctor.
Based on the latest science, I recently wrote a new book, The Fast 800, which pulls together everything I’ve learnt about the easiest and most effective ways to lose weight and keep it off. In that book I made some changes to my original 5:2 diet, upping the number of calories I recommend you eat on a fasting day to 800, which is enough to ensure you get all the nutrients you need without going hungry, and introducing a rapid weight-loss option (where you eat 800 calories a day, every day) in order to kickstart your diet and reap many other health benefits, too. I also introduced a relatively new form of intermittent fasting called Time Restricted Eating (TRE), whereby you eat all your calories within a narrower time window each day. This enhances the benefits overall.
The Fast 800 became an international bestseller, bought and read by hundreds of thousands of people. There was immediate demand for a follow-up recipe book to help people put the diet into practice. This week I’m excited to unveil The Fast 800 Recipe Book which is packed with the latest advice, tips to help you succeed and useful meal plans, plus more than 130 enticing low-calorie recipes created by my wife Dr Clare Bailey, with food writer Justine Pattison. In this special feature you’ll find a selection of our favourite breakfasts, lunches and suppers (even one or two treats). Having tasted the recipes, I can assure you they are both delicious and filling! I invite you to tuck in – but first, read on for the essentials.
How it all works
The Fast 800 diet is designed to be as flexible as possible while incorporating the best science-based advice. All the meals are based on a lowish-carb Mediterranean-style way of eating, but how you manage the 800-calorie days is down to you. You can tailor your regime to suit your needs. The Fast 800 isn’t for everyone, of course – see below.
Rapid weight loss with The Fast 800
Most people choose to kickstart their diet with a fast-track plan of 800 calories a day, every day, for two or more weeks. (We recommend that you start with this intensive stage, if possible, as 800 cals a day is low enough to induce fat-burning but high enough to ensure you get the nutrients you need.) If, after two weeks, you are feeling good, losing weight and not struggling to stick to the diet, then carry on. You can continue this approach until you reach your goal or for up to 12 weeks.
Intermittent fasting with the new 5:2
When you are nearing your target (or if you find the idea of a fast-track plan daunting, or don’t have much weight to lose), you can switch to the New 5:2. This is probably one of the easiest and most effective ways to lose weight then keep it off. We now recommend that, instead of reducing your calories to only 500-600 on two days a week (as in the original 5:2 Fast Diet), you stick to 800 calories on fast days, while continuing to eat freely in the Med-style way on non-fast days. You will lose weight, just not quite so quickly.
Adding in time-restricted eating (TRE)
Extending the length of your normal overnight fast (when you are sleeping and not eating) gives your body an opportunity to burn more fat and do essential repairs. We suggest starting with a 12-hour overnight fast (8pm-8am) and building up to 14 hours. Many people find that eating in a shorter window during the day makes it easier to manage a fast day. But it is a good habit to get into on non-fast days, too. One approach is to skip breakfast and enjoy two meals rather than three – experiment to see what works for you.
Use our recipes as inspiration and you’ll be following the Med-style diet that we recommend. While ‘lowish’ in carbohydrates, this is not a seriously restrictive diet, but it does mean cutting right back on starchy carbs and sugary foods. What makes it so much more satisfying than a low-fat regime is that you can still enjoy plenty of olive oil, avocados, some full-fat dairy, lots of nuts, seeds and oily fish – all the kinds of ingredients that make food delicious and filling. The programme also includes masses of vegetables and some fruit, as well as wholegrains, beans and lentils.
Set for life
Once you’ve hit your goal and grown to love the Med-style approach, you can move on to maintenance. Stick to the general principles, using the recipe tweaks we offer for individual dishes for non-fast days and throwing in the odd fast day. Enjoy the occasional treat, but try to maintain a diet low in sugar and moderately low in starchy carbohydrates, to help prevent sugars creeping up or weight piling back on. To explore more (and to sign up for our online programme), visit thefast800.com.
Check with your GP first
This diet is not suitable for under-18s, or if you’re breastfeeding, pregnant or undergoing fertility treatment. Do not do it if you are underweight or have an eating disorder. Discuss with your GP if you are on medication or if you have a medical condition, including diabetes, low or high blood pressure, retinopathy or epilepsy. Nor should you do this if you are frail, unwell or while undertaking endurance exercise. For more detailed information see thefast800.com/faqs.
Fast 800 recipes
Brilliant breakfasts and brunches
Breakfast is often described as the most important meal of the day, but there are no strict rules as to when you should eat it. Both Michael and I love breakfast, but if you prefer to skip it or eat it later, that’s fine; and by doing so you are extending your overnight fast – an effective form of intermittent fasting called Time Restricted Eating. We include a variety of flexible options here, from quick and easy to more relaxed. Whether you eat anything or not, be sure to drink plenty of fluids to keep you going until you ‘break your fast’.
A comforting and filling breakfast. You can substitute the pear with a grated apple, if you like.
This recipe is delicious warm, cold or even as a dessert. Fruits are natural sugar-storage devices so we recommend the less sugary kind only, as part of a meal – rather than as a snack – and only two portions a day.
A luxurious, quick breakfast, brunch or lunch. The butter adds richness to the omelette but you could just use the olive oil if you prefer. Serve with a mixed salad, adding the extra calories if dressed.
This simple version can be served at breakfast or as an accompaniment to grilled chicken or meat. It’s also lovely topped with crumbled cheese for a quick supper.
A hugely popular brunch dish from the Middle East and North Africa made with eggs poached in a lightly spiced tomato sauce. This Fast 800 shakshuka is tasty and easy to make.
A lovely portable breakfast, also good for brunch or lunch boxes. Serve these Fast 800 frittata muffins warm or cold with a generous salad or freshly cooked greens.
Moreish main meals
Here we’ve included lower-carb versions of some classic dishes, including curries, roasts and grills as well as delicious fish recipes and plant-based dishes. Maintaining an adequate protein intake is important when you are on the Fast 800. We recommend eating around 45g-60g protein daily. Chicken and pork are both good sources, and fish and shellfish are among the healthiest foods on the planet. We are generally reducing the amount of
red meat we eat but we love having some in a slow-cooked stew and every now and then we enjoy a juicy, nutritious chop or steak. When buying meat or fish, aim to look for responsibly sourced options.
A gorgeous roast using just three ingredients, with a very quick total preparation time of less than 10 minutes. It also reheats really well, so it can be warmed up for lunch or supper the following day. Serve with lots of freshly cooked shredded kale, cabbage or other greens.
This juicy, herb-infused chicken is perfect served with a large green or coloured leaf salad, dressed with our simple salad dressing, or a generous serving of freshly cooked vegetables. It works brilliantly on the barbecue, too.
This recipe is a pared-down version of the Malaysian classic but is incredibly delicious and satisfying. Serve with steamed spring greens, long-stemmed broccoli or pak choi.
Canned lentils are versatile, cheap and convenient. Cooked up with fresh veg and pesto, they make a brilliant quick meal that’s packed with fibre and contains a good protein hit. Serve with a mixed salad.
A quick, easy and wonderfully satisfying supper. Serve with a leafy salad or wilted spinach (which tastes even better with a teaspoon of olive oil or butter – add 40 cals).
A creamy, filling curry full of Thai flavours. Super-quick and easy, too.
A super-easy baked fish dish which is perfect for one and can be easily multiplied for extra servings. We’ve used cod but any thick white fish will work well. Serve with long-stemmed broccoli, mangetout or stir-fried vegetables to fill half the plate.
The pearl barley adds a wonderful nutty taste and creamy texture to this risotto. Dish it up with some freshly cooked kale or long-stemmed broccoli.
We like cooking these on a ridged griddle, but you can also cook them on the barbecue or under the grill. They’re delicious hot or cold and make a great portable meal. Serve with a mixed salad.
In our house, sometimes there is no such thing as willpower – Michael has been known to gorge on cheesecake straight out of the freezer with a spoon. But the emphasis here is on the title word ‘occasional’ – these and the other treats in our book are for enjoyment every now and then preferably straight after a meal, not in between.
It’s worth finding chocolate with 85% cocoa solids for these treats. They are full of polyphenols that your gut bugs will love, the almonds add some protein and crunch and the raisins bring sweetness and extra fibre, too.
A luscious, tropical-tasting dessert.
Bonus Fast 800 recipes
This makes a great low-carb swap for starchy sides and is packed with nutrients, too. Hold a small cauliflower (to yield about 200g) at the stalk and coarsely grate, minding your fingers, in short, sharp movements in a downward direction only, to create tiny shavings resembling grains of rice. You can also do this in a food processor but don’t let the pieces get too small or they will turn to a paste. Either add the raw cauliflower rice to a stir-fry, or steam or sauté for 3-4 minutes to cook. You can do this in the microwave – place in a microwave-proof bowl and cook on high for 2-3 minutes. The rice should retain a bit of bite, like al dente pasta. Stir in some chopped parsley or coriander, or squeeze over some fresh lemon juice for added flavour.
34 CALS PER 100G SERVING
Simple salad dressing
This will enhance any plate of leafy greens. Place 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar and 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a screw-top jar and season with a good pinch of sea salt and lots of ground black pepper. Fasten the lid and shake really well. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Serve 1 tablespoon of the dressing per person. Use within 5 days.
102 CALS PER 1 TBSP SERVING
SAVE 20% ON THE BRILLIANT FAST 800 RECIPE BOOK
The Fast 800 Recipe Book by Dr Clare Bailey and Justine Pattison with foreword by Dr Michael Mosley will be published by Short Books on Thursday 13 June, price £14.99. To order a copy for £11.99 until 23 June, call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on orders over £15. Visit thefast800.com for more information about the programme and advice on how to lose weight, stay healthy and live longer.