The Fast 800 diet has quickly become one of the most popular weight loss plans out there and has swept the headlines over the last few years, following the widespread success of the 5:2 diet and intermittent fasting.
According to founder Dr Michael Mosley, those who closely follow the plan could see themselves lose up to 11lb in two weeks by limiting their daily intake to 800 calories a day.
It’s been praised, alongside the 16:8 diet, as one of the quickest ways to start weight loss through dedicated fasting. Some people also take on the diet because they can’t lose weight in other ways and have found fasting to be most effective. But while some health professionals have branded the diet as quick fix and not a long-term way to lose weight healthily, others have said that dieters are eating filling and nutritious foods on the fasting days so it’s a relatively healthy way to lose weight, despite the low-calorie intake.
Fans of the diet have also said it does amazing things for your overall health. As well as the physical appearance that many people aspire to have, they claim that the diet also gives your brain a boost, improves your mood and increases your motivation. While some health professionals argue that intermittent fasting diets this this one have the potential to reverse conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.
As one Twitter user credited founder of the diet, Dr Michael Mosley, ‘Lost a stone in 4 weeks & feeling amazing. My hot flushes have reduced, I’ve got loads of energy & I’m really enjoying life & enjoying cooking. The recipes are delicious!! Thank you to you & your wife for transforming my life for the better..x’
While another wrote, ‘3 weeks in and lost 12 pounds and 5 inches off my weight – thank you! 👏👏’
“It can be pretty confusing to know what we should eat to stay healthy. My advice? Turn to the Med.”
This is one of the foundations of the Fast 800 Calorie Diet. Read on to find out more…
What is the Fast 800 Calorie Diet?
The Fast 800 diet involves cutting your calories intake to 800 a day for the first couple of weeks. You then progress to 5:2 stage – where you’re only required to eat this number of calories for two days a week, while following a sensible diet on the other days.
Involves sticking to 800 calories a day for at least two weeks. This should induce mild ketosis, associated with fat burning.
The new 5:2. When you’re nearing your weight-loss target, eat 800 calories on two days of the week and on the others, follow a Mediterranean diet, exercising portion control.
During this period of the diet, it’s advised you enjoy fewer processed and more home-cooked foods, with plenty of vegetables and fruit as well as whole grains, beans, lentils, extra fibre, lots of nuts and plenty of full-fat dairy and oily fish. Sugar should be reduced or avoided, starchy carbs, like white bread and white pasta, are gone, and 45-60g of good-quality protein should be consumed daily.
Why is this stage important? On your two fast days, your body will enter a state of ketosis just as it would if you undertook a rapid weight loss plan. With the new 5:2, you will lose fat and achieve a better response to insulin which will in turn, make it easier for you to keep portion sizes regular during the week.
The new 5:2 also gives those on the plan the chance to experience other fasting benefits, such as apoptosis (clearing out of old or damaged cells), tissue regeneration, reduced risk of cancer, increased metabolic rate and decreased inflammation.
Dr Mosley says, “The Mediterranean diet is the healthiest diet on the planet. There is this perception that Italian food is predominantly pasta and pizza, but this is not true. It’s actually packed with fruit, vegetables, nuts, olive oil and fish – all of which are good for you and have been proven to help prevent dementia, strokes, cardiovascular disease, heart disease and has even in some cases, been known to reverse type 2 diabetes.”
The main components of the Mediterranean Diet are…
- Daily consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy fats.
- Weekly intake of fish, poultry, beans and eggs.
- Moderate portions of dairy products.
- Limited intake of red meat.
By following the Mediterranean Diet at this stage of the Fast800, you can keep on track and stay healthy.
You’ve hit your goal, so maintenance is key. Continue the Med-style approach, throwing in the odd fast day as and when, eating a low-sugar diet and moderately low amounts of starchy carbs.
800 calorie meal plan
Below you will find everything you need for an 800 calorie meal plan when you’re on the diet. Below are our favourite recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the Fast 800 diet. Who said dieting doesn’t mean eating delicious food?
Fast 800 Calorie Diet recipes
The recipes below are all fasting ones, but follow the suggested changes to make them into meals suitable for non-fasting days.
These are featured in The Fast 800 Recipe Book, written by Dr Clare Bailey and Justine Pattison, which is a fabulous companion cookbook to Michael Mosley’s bestselling The Fast 800. The recipe book includes more than 130 delicious, low-carb, Mediterranean-style recipes offering multiple options for both 800-calorie days and the new 5:2.
Fast 800 Calorie Diet recipes for breakfast
Spiced breakfast plums (233 cals, serves 2)
1. Put 4 plums, halved and stoned, in a saucepan. Add 2x 10-12cm orange zest strips and 100ml fresh orange juice, 150ml water and ¼tsp ground cinnamon. Stir gently.
2. Bring liquid to a simmer, cover with a lid, reduce the heat to low and cook for 10-15 mins.
3. Divide the spiced plums between two bowls, along with 100g full-fat Greek yogurt and 15g toasted flaked almonds. This can be served warm or cold.
NOT FASTING? Add extra toasted flaked almonds.
TOP TIP: This dish works as a dessert too!
Pear and cinnamon porridge (267 cals, serves 1)
1. Place 30g jumbo oats, ½ pear, cored and chopped, and ¼tsp ground cinnamon into a small non-stick saucepan. Pour in 75ml full-fat milk and 120ml water and cook over a low-medium heat for 5-6 mins, stirring constantly.
2. Pour into a deep bowl and scatter with 5g flaked almonds to serve.
NOT FASTING? Increase the portion size
Poached eggs with mushrooms and spinach (241 cals, serves 1)
1. Third-fill a saucepan with water and bring to a gentle simmer.
2. Break 2 medium eggs into a cup, then carefully tip one at a time into pan. Cook over a very low heat, with the water hardly bubbling, for 3 mins, or until the whites are set but the yolks remain runny.
3. While poaching the eggs, melt 5g butter in a medium non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and stir-fry 75g small chestnut mushrooms for 2-3 mins.
4. Add 50g spinach and toss with the mushrooms until just wilted. Season with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
5. Serve the mushrooms and spinach on plate. Drain the eggs with a slotted spoon and place on top. Serve with more ground black pepper.
NOT FASTING? Serve on top of a slice of wholegrain toast.
Other options include avocado, ricotta and mushrooms (with or without toast) – delicious!
Fast 800 Calorie Diet recipes for lunch
Curried chicken and lentil soup (223 cals, serves 4)
1. Heat 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a large non-stick saucepan, add 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped, and 1 pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks, and gently fry for 5 mins. Stir in 2tbsp curry powder and cook for a few seconds more, stirring constantly.
2. Add 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil. Cook for 2 mins, stirring constantly, then crumble over 1 chicken stock cube and add 1 litre water.
3. Rinse 50g dried red split lentils and add to the pan. Stir in 225g frozen spinach and bring to simmer. Season well with salt and pepper. Cook 10 mins, stirring often.
4. Add 200g cooked chicken pieces and cook for 8-10 mins. You can add extra water if needed.
5. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over.
NOT FASTING? Top with 2tbsp of toasted flaked almonds and 1tbspof full-fat Greek yogurt.
Edamame and tuna salad (408 cals, serves 2)
1. Tip 200g frozen edamame beans into a heatproof bowl and cover with just-boiled water from a kettle. Stir and leave for 1 min to allow the beans to thaw. Drain and rinse under cold water.
2. Place the beans, 2 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced, 1 x 110g no-drain tinned tuna and 15g parsley in a bowl and use a fork to flake the tuna. Drizzle 1½tbsp cider vinegar and 3tbsp olive oil over salad, season with salt and pepper and toss together well.
3. Just before serving, add 2 large handfuls of rocket and toss lightly.
NOT FASTING? Increase the portion size.
Asparagus, pea and mint frittata muffins (154 cals per muffin, serves 6)
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/Gas 6 and generously oil a deep, six-hole muffin tin. Cut six roughly 10cm square pieces of non-stick baking paper and use to line the tins, leaving the excess paper peeking over the sides.
2. Third-fill a large pan with water and bring to the boil. Add 150g asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-3cm pieces, and cook for 4 mins. Add 100g frozen peas and cook for 1 min more. Drain the vegetables and tip into a large bowl with 4 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced, and 3-4tbsp chopped fresh mint.
3. Beat 6 large eggs in a separate bowl with a good pinch of salt and pepper.
4. Divide the vegetables between six muffin cases and top with 65g feta chunks.
5. Pour the egg over the vegetables, then bake in the oven for about 20 mins.
NOT FASTING? Increase the portion size.
221 cals l Serves 2
1. Preheat grill to medium-hot setting. For the pizza topping, tip ½ a 400g can of chopped tomatoes into a sieve and shake to remove any excess juice.
2. Transfer the tomato pulp to bowl and stir in 1tbsp tomato purée and ½tsp dried oregano. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Lightly toast 1 wholemeal pitta bread, place on a board and carefully cut in half horizontally with a bread knife. Separate the two pieces, place on a baking tray, cut side down.
4. Spread the pitta halves with tomato sauce and top with 2 roasted red peppers from a jar, drained and sliced, and 2 chestnut mushrooms, very finely sliced. Sprinkle with 35g grated mozzarella, drizzle with 1tbsp olive oil and place under the grill for 4-5 mins.
We also love this recipe for mushroom stroganoff!
Fast 800 Calorie Diet recipes for lunch
Sausages with onion gravy and cauliflower mash (367 cals, serves 4)
1. For the cauliflower mash, half-fill a medium pan with water and bring to the boil. Add 1 medium cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets and return to the boil. Cook for 15-20 mins or until soft. Drain, then return to the pan. Add 1tbsp olive oil, a couple of pinches of salt and lots of ground black pepper. Blitz in a food processor until smooth. Keep warm over a very low heat, stirring occasionally.
2. Meanwhile, heat 2tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan and gently fry 12 chipolata sausages for 5 mins, turning regularly. Add 1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced, and cook for a further 8-10 mins.
3. Stir in 300ml hot chicken or pork stock and 2tbsp reduced-sugar tomato ketchup and bring to simmer. Mix 2tsp cornflour with 1tbsp cold water in a small bowl and stir into the pan. Season with pepper and simmer for 1-2 mins. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
4. Divide the cauliflower mash between four warmed plates and top with the sausages and gravy.
NOT FASTING? Increase the portion size and add a generous knob of butter or grated Cheddar to the cauliflower after blending, and mix thoroughly.
Spicy bean chilli (346 cals, serves 4)
1. Heat 2tbsp oil in a large, deep, non-stick frying pan, and gently fry 1 peeled and sliced onion for 3-4 mins.
2. Add 1tsp smoked paprika, 1tsp cumin and 1tsp ground coriander and cook for a few seconds, stirring well.
3. Add 1 x 400g can of chopped tomatoes, 1 x 400g can of drained black beans and 1 x 400g can of drained mixed beans, 250ml vegetable stock, 1tbsp tomato purée and 1tsp mixed dried herbs, season with salt and pepper and bring to simmer. Cover loosely with lid and cook for 15-20 mins, stirring occasionally.
4. Serve topped with a sprinkling of Cheddar (75g in total) and generous spoonfuls of full-fat Greek yogurt.
NOT FASTING? Serve with cooked brown rice and top with sliced avocado.
Fast 800 Calorie Diet snack recipe
Almond and raisin chocolate pennies (38 cals per penny, makes 20)
1. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
2. Break 100g plain dark chocolate into squares and place in a bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Make sure the base of the bowl isn’t touching the water. Leave to melt for 5 mins, stirring occasionally. Or, melt in a microwave on high for 1-2 mins.
3. Carefully remove the hot bowl from the pan and, using a teaspoon, pour individual spoonfuls of melted chocolate onto the tray, spaced well apart.
4. Scatter 25g flaked almonds and 25g raisins on top of the melted chocolate. Leave to set for 2-3 hours.
5. Place in an airtight container and store for up to a week in a cool place.
Brownies are also on the table for a sweet treat…
The Plan is a calorie-controlled diet. Individual results will vary. If you are adolescent, pregnant, breastfeeding, have a medical condition, or are unsure in any way then talk about your weight-loss plans with your doctor or dietician.
Fast 800 calorie diet books to help you along the way
This companion to Dr Michael Mosley's bestselling Fast 800 offers a range of delicious, mediterranean-inspired recipes to help you move forward with the 800-calorie fast diet in your life.
GP Dr Clare Bailey and food writer Justine Pattison have put together these meals, designed to be tasty and nutritious, while also being easy to make. From breakfast and lunches to dinner and snacks, this book covers all the recipes you'll need to take on this intensive weight-loss programme.
An ideal book if you struggle with keeping to diet plans, the fast 800 journal helps you to record your progress, plan you meals and set goals for yourself so you stay on track.
It's also full of new recipes and weekly reminders, to keep you motivated on the plan.
The final companion to the fast 800 calorie plan is this book, all about how just a few minutes of exercise per day will boost your success on the diet and make you feel better along the way.
Dr Michael Moseley and Peta Bee themselves investigate the interesting science behind a radical new approach to exercise and tell you how to incorporate it into your daily life.