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Ought to You Eat 800 Energy a Day?

I’ve had a variety of requests for a Quick 800 food regimen evaluate. I had seen the entire media headlines and the precise analysis when the primary 800 calorie food regimen research – DiRECT – got here out. I knew {that a} man named Michael Mosley had parlayed that analysis right into a food regimen that supposedly ‘reverses diabetes,’ however I had no thought how standard that food regimen was truly going to get.

And the way a lot press it was going to obtain.

800 energy a day. As a dietitian, it goes in opposition to all the things I’ve discovered and skilled about weight reduction and diet. However what’s the Quick 800 food regimen all about, and is it actually that unhealthy?

Let’s have a look.

What’s the Quick 800 Food regimen?

The Quick 800 is promoted by Dr. Michael Mosley, who isn’t a licensed doctor – he’s a journalist and TV presenter. He did qualify as a psychiatrist, however hasn’t been working as an MD since 1985.  

Mosley has been credited for inventing 5:2 fasting, having adopted this fashion of consuming and apparently therapeutic his personal well being points.

I discover a variety of food regimen packages led by medical doctors or entrepreneurs like Dave Asprey have some type of ‘rags to riches’ well being story hooked up to them. That is all effectively and good, however somebody’s story doesn’t imply sh*t when utilized to your personal well being.

In different phrases, simply because Michael Mosley used this food regimen to ‘reverse’ his diabetes doesn’t imply that this fashion of consuming is simple or sensible. Private anecdotes are sometimes used to promote a food regimen product with emotion, however I would like you all to watch out about falling for this.

I put quotes across the phrase ‘reverse,’ since diabetes goes into doesn’t ‘reverse.’ The phrase ‘reverse’ implies a ‘remedy,’ which isn’t doable. It’s a purple flag when anybody makes use of this time period to explain a continual illness remission. 

Followers of Quick 800 can select from three completely different ‘approaches’: 

The Very Quick 800, which is an 800 calorie food regimen completed over 2-12 weeks. It’s for ‘folks on the lookout for fast weight reduction’, or to ‘reverse their diabetes.’ Followers of the Very Quick 800 are inspired to include fasting into this system as effectively, though I’m undecided what a part of 800 energy a day is NOT fasting.

For the overall inhabitants, three months of 800 energy a day isn’t protected or beneficial by respected healthcare suppliers. 800 energy a day falls into the class of VLCD, or Very Low Calorie Food regimen. If somebody must undertake this type of consuming plan, they need to be adopted carefully by a medical crew that features a physician and dietitian. 

Quick 800 does give an exhaustive record of who mustn’t do this system. This contains folks beneath 18, pregnant or nursing girls, anybody with an consuming dysfunction historical past, sort 1 diabetes or anybody on insulin, and individuals who have had a latest coronary heart assault. 

The New 5:2, which is an intermittent fasting program that has 800 calorie days twice every week. It’s for ‘gradual weight reduction’ and to ‘enhance general well being.’ 

Approach of Life, which is a lower-carb ‘upkeep’ plan. 

All the plans are reasonable to low-carb, and are styled after the Mediterranean food regimen. Which, FYI, is often not low in carbs.

fast 800 5:2

Quick 800 analysis.

There have been a number of latest research that put topics on an 800 calorie food regimen to look at the affect on their diabetes, threat for diabetes, and cardiometabolic threat elements.

In 2018, a analysis research known as the DiRECT trial put 68 out of 149 topics with sort 2 diabetes into remission utilizing food regimen alone. Weight reduction in 36 of the members was not less than 15kg. The trial was funded by Diabetes UK, lending it some credibility in scientific and diet circles.

Usually, these outcomes can be nice information. There are a variety of sort 2 diabetics on the planet, and attaining remission from this continual illness would little doubt enhance their high quality of life and their general well being, to not point out their illness threat. 

Predictably, the DiRECT trial outcomes had been all around the media. However what the media didn’t emphasize was that the members within the research had been subjected to an 800 calorie liquid food regimen in the course of 3-5 months. As in, you possibly can put your diabetes into remission, however you’ll need to starve your self first. 

No thanks.

Following DiRECT, there was DROPLET, the same research completed on ‘chubby folks’ with BMI >30, that used an 800 calorie liquid food regimen for 8 weeks, adopted with meals re-introduction. The topics on the 800 calorie plan misplaced extra weight and noticed extra enhancements than the management group in biomarkers of metabolic and cardiometabolic threat (HbA1C, ldl cholesterol, blood stress, and so on.) However at the 3-year follow-up, intervention group weight achieve was greater than the management group (however a number of the weight was nonetheless stored off), and variations in cardiometabolic threat elements weren’t important between the 2 teams (aside from blood stress).

In 2020, the outcomes from one other research, the PREVIEW intervention research, had been printed within the journal Diabetes, Weight problems, and Metabolism. 

PREVIEW had 2326 pre diabetic adults randomized to both a excessive protein medium glycemic load, or reasonable protein greater glycemic load food regimen. 

Curiously, whereas members misplaced important weight, on the finish of three years, the incidence of sort 2 diabetes was decrease than researchers anticipated. As well as, there was no significance between the 2 teams.

Are we completed placing folks on hunger diets, already?

Shedding pounds does usually enhance blood glucose, blood stress, ldl cholesterol, and different metrics. However the stress of consuming virtually nothing for weeks on finish, after which transitioning to a 5:2 fasting routine, is one thing solely a really small section of the inhabitants can bodily abdomen. And even then, what’s it doing to their relationship with meals and their our bodies?

It’s vital to notice that the above trials had been medically supervised. Quick 800 isn’t.

I made a decision to join the Quick 800 to essentially see what it’s all about (and to see if I might recreation the system). I didn’t do the food regimen, as a result of it will be tremendous triggering to me. 

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Step one after signing up was to finish a questionnaire to find out which food regimen method was beneficial for me. As I stated above, I attempted to recreation the system by placing in a a lot decrease weight and a low weight aim – one thing utterly inappropriate.

To the credit score of Quick 800, the app instantly informed me that due to my weight, this system isn’t applicable for me, and that I ought to request a refund. This was precisely what I needed to occur! 

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Curiously, I’ve tried the identical factor with different food regimen packages *ahem* Noom *ahem* and ended up getting a low calorie food regimen anyhow. Not okay. 

Learn my Noom evaluate right here. 

I then went again and put in my precise weight and a aim, and since my anthropometrics usually are not indicative of excessive diabetes threat, the app gave me the Approach of Life method.

This ‘upkeep section’ plan supplied me between 1300 and 1600 energy a day, which is way decrease than what I would like, however nonetheless not shockingly low (once more, see Noom). The app didn’t suppose I wanted to shed some pounds, so presumably it thinks that this stage of energy will maintain me.

I consider that most people who use the Quick 800 are doing it to shed some pounds. I believe that almost all of them will obtain the Very Quick 800 plan as their first step. 

‘Starve the fats folks,’ if you’ll. I really feel a bit sick occupied with it.


There are meal plans and buying lists and on-line communities and coaches (who aren’t dietitians) to assist Quick 800 followers. I discovered the recipes to be pretty simple, with an excellent number of plant-based and animal proteins. Clearly although, for those who’re too busy to cook dinner meals, otherwise you don’t have entry to all kinds of meals for no matter cause, you’ll in all probability have points with this food regimen.

fast 800 meal plan

There are no snacks in any respect in any of the plans, as a result of Mosley tells us that snacks ‘make us hungrier’ and should trigger insulin resistance, which might result in diabetes.

He offers this rationalization:

In case you are not utilizing vitality successfully, and regularly topping up with snacks, your pancreas releases extra insulin to attempt to carry down your repeatedly peaking blood sugars. Over time, insulin receptors will turn into resistant which means much less glucose is transferred to vitality cells and your blood sugar ranges stay excessive – that is usually the start line of sort 2 diabetes.10

 He gives up this reference to assist this principle. Besides that this paper doesn’t assist it in any respect – it’s only a scientific evaluate of insulin as a hormone. It confirms what we already know – that insulin resistance can result in diabetes, however nowhere within the paper does it speak about snacks. 

He goes on to say this:

As much less gas turns into obtainable to maintain your physique going, tiredness will kick in and starvation ranges will enhance as your mind tells you that extra vitality is required. Regardless of the intention, snacking truly makes you hungrier and breaking out of this cycle is the important thing to stopping.

Nope. Telling those that they will’t eat in the event that they’re hungry, and that snacks will lead to insulin resistance for EVERYONE, isn’t productive. It’s this type of all-or-nothing considering that’s a purple flag for me…particularly when there’s no proof to assist it.

You possibly can shed some pounds having snacks, and they don’t seem to be instantly linked to insulin resistance. That is utterly ridiculous, and means that though Mosley invented this food regimen, his data about diet and physiology could be very restricted.

That’s one other purple flag. A few of what he says is correct, different issues (and this whole food regimen normally) are actually, actually not.  As knowledgeable, I’ll say that anytime this occurs, it leads me to mistrust what the particular person says. 

Are you able to hack your blood sugar? Learn my Glucose Goddess evaluate right here.


Mosley has confronted some severe backlash from selling this food regimen.

In 2021, he went on TV throughout Consuming Dysfunction Consciousness Week to advertise the Quick 800 for ‘dropping the lockdown weight.’ 

In 2020, he appeared on a UK morning present telling those that after three or 4 days of consuming 800 energy, the abdomen ‘shrinks’ (that is unfaithful – the abdomen doesn’t shrink) and we ‘go into fat-burning mode.’

Why do folks proceed to name ‘ketosis,’ ‘fats burning mode’? He additionally says the food regimen ‘burns fats by flipping a metabolic change.’

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That is language utilized in advertising to make potential prospects consider that this food regimen is as simple as turning on a light-weight. It isn’t. 

The response of many individuals on social media to each appearances was overwhelming outrage. The tv station that aired the 2021 section bought 2000 complaints. 

Folks weren’t glad.

Mosley additionally had a TV present known as, ‘Lose a Stone in 21 Days,’ which truthfully feels like a scorching rubbish mess. As a result of though dropping that a lot weight in that wanting a time may be doable (a stone equals 14 kilos or simply over 6 kilograms), truly attaining it isn’t essentially a good suggestion.

Greatest Loser, anybody? Anybody?

And though the Quick 800 website claims that there isn’t a proof that the food regimen causes consuming issues, BEAT, a UK consuming dysfunction charity, gave an official assertion after Mosley’s ‘Lose a Stone’ present aired. It included the next paragraph:

Analysis has proven that dietary restraint, together with the restriction of energy, has been discovered to be a threat issue within the improvement of an consuming dysfunction. The programme didn’t seem to take care of the members’ psychological well being in any manner, resembling consultations with a psychiatrist. Nevertheless, it did have an alarming deal with the members’ weight, BMI and measurements, in addition to encouraging them to hold out actions that we all know these affected by consuming issues might interact in, resembling destroying meals to keep away from consuming it or fixating on consuming a restricted variety of energy.

The charity additionally reported a 51% uptick in calls on their helpline after the present aired. 

Lately, GP and menopause specialist Louise Newsom had Mosley and his spouse and fellow Quick 800 developer Clare Bailey, on her podcast for a chat. Throughout that episode, Mosley promoted Quick 800 to menopausal girls – and once more, the backlash was swift.

Menopausal girls (and other people normally) ought to by no means starve themselves. In reality, in midlife and past, folks have elevated protein wants to stop muscle loss aka sarcopenia – one thing that’s prone to occur with an 800 calorie a day food regimen – and shouldn’t be including extra stress to their lives. 

Whereas it’s true that our threat for insulin resistance will increase with menopause, it’s not a forgone conclusion that it’s going to occur – and VLCDs may end up in rebound overeating and food regimen biking, which analysis reveals can truly enhance well being dangers. 

They will additionally trigger nutrient deficiencies, which might be why Quick 800 recommends nutritional vitamins to followers. Crimson flag. 

A latest research printed within the BMJ discovered a better than anticipated prevalence of consuming issues in girls in midlife. Folks in positions of authority – like self-proclaimed ‘menopause consultants’ – ought to by no means be selling diets like Quick 800. 

A dietitian’s final phrase: The Quick 800.

The Quick 800 builders shouldn’t be promoting this food regimen as a simple and protected solution to shed some pounds. It’s unnecessarily excessive, and there’s one thing unsavoury in regards to the undertone of telling fats folks to starve themselves to be more healthy. I don’t prefer it. 

Fasting isn’t higher than regular caloric restriction. Quick 800 is a low-calorie food regimen, and any improved bloodwork outcomes that individuals might even see are seemingly as a result of weight reduction. This may be achieved with out going to such extremes. 

VLCDs shouldn’t be completed with out the approval and oversight of a doctor. As a dietitian, I don’t advocate them, and by no means have. I see completely no level in taking energy down that low, which might result in rebound overeating, meals obsession, and nutrient deficiencies, specifically for those who’re doing it for months on finish. 800 energy a day is disordered consuming, for my part. 

Menopausal girls are the brand new targets of fad diets, dietary supplements, and excessive weight reduction packages, together with this one. I’ve stated in as soon as, and I’ll say it once more: no person must eat solely 800 energy with a view to shed some pounds. 

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You need to by no means need to take dietary supplements to ‘make up’ for what your food regimen plan isn’t supplying you with. In case you’re on a food regimen that’s that restrictive, it’s a purple flag.

Lastly, shedding weight themselves doesn’t make somebody a food regimen professional. In the event that they’re promoting a product related to that weight reduction, be very suspicious.



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