Ought to You Eat 800 Energy a Day?

I’ve had plenty of requests for a Quick 800 food plan evaluation. I had seen all the media headlines and the precise analysis when the primary 800 calorie food plan examine – DiRECT – got here out. I knew {that a} man named Michael Mosley had parlayed that analysis right into a food plan that supposedly ‘reverses diabetes,’ however I had no concept how common that food plan 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 every thing I’ve realized and skilled about weight reduction and vitamin. However what’s the Quick 800 food plan all about, and is it actually that dangerous?

Let’s have a look.

What’s the Quick 800 Weight-reduction plan?

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 manner of consuming and apparently therapeutic his personal well being points.

I discover plenty of food plan 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 individual well being.

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

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

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

The Very Quick 800, which is an 800 calorie food plan achieved over 2-12 weeks. It’s for ‘folks in search of 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 advisable by respected healthcare suppliers. 800 energy a day falls into the class of VLCD, or Very Low Calorie Weight-reduction plan. 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 underneath 18, pregnant or nursing ladies, anybody with an consuming dysfunction historical past, sort 1 diabetes or anybody on insulin, and individuals who have had a current coronary heart assault. 

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

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

All the plans are average to low-carb, and are styled after the Mediterranean food plan. Which, FYI, is usually not low in carbs.

fast 800 5:2

Quick 800 analysis.

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

In 2018, a analysis examine known as the DiRECT trial put 68 out of 149 topics with sort 2 diabetes into remission utilizing food plan alone. Weight reduction in 36 of the individuals was at the least 15kg. The trial was funded by Diabetes UK, lending it some credibility in scientific and vitamin circles.

Usually, these outcomes can be nice information. There are plenty of sort 2 diabetics on the earth, and attaining remission from this persistent 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 have been all around the media. However what the media didn’t emphasize was that the individuals within the examine have been subjected to an 800 calorie liquid food plan throughout 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, an analogous examine achieved on ‘obese folks’ with BMI >30, that used an 800 calorie liquid food plan 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 acquire was greater than the management group (however a number of the weight was nonetheless saved 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 examine, the PREVIEW intervention examine, have 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 average protein increased glycemic load food plan. 

Curiously, whereas individuals 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 achieved placing folks on hunger diets, already?

Reducing weight does usually enhance blood glucose, blood stress, ldl cholesterol, and different metrics. However the stress of consuming nearly nothing for weeks on finish, after which transitioning to a 5:2 fasting routine, is one thing solely a really small phase 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 have been medically supervised. Quick 800 isn’t.

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

fast 800


Step one after signing up was to finish a questionnaire to find out which food plan strategy was advisable for me. As I mentioned above, I attempted to recreation the system by placing in a a lot decrease weight and a low weight objective – one thing utterly inappropriate.

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

fast 800 review

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

Learn my Noom evaluation right here. 

I then went again and put in my precise weight and a objective, and since my anthropometrics aren’t indicative of excessive diabetes threat, the app gave me the Method of Life strategy.

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

I consider that the general public who use the Quick 800 are doing it to shed extra pounds. I think 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 enthusiastic about it.


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

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 will trigger insulin resistance, which might result in diabetes.

He provides this rationalization:

If you’re not utilizing power successfully, and regularly topping up with snacks, your pancreas releases extra insulin to try to convey down your repeatedly peaking blood sugars. Over time, insulin receptors will grow to be resistant that means much less glucose is transferred to power 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 medical evaluation 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 discuss snacks. 

He goes on to say this:

As much less gasoline turns into accessible to maintain your physique going, tiredness will kick in and starvation ranges will enhance as your mind tells you that extra power 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 folks 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 pondering that’s a pink flag for me…particularly when there’s no proof to assist it.

You may shed extra pounds having snacks, and they aren’t immediately linked to insulin resistance. That is utterly ridiculous, and means that though Mosley invented this food plan, his data about vitamin and physiology may be very restricted.

That’s one other pink flag. A few of what he says is correct, different issues (and this whole food plan on the whole) are actually, actually not.  As an expert, 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 evaluation right here.


Mosley has confronted some critical backlash from selling this food plan.

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 folks 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 plan ‘burns fats by flipping a metabolic change.’

fast 800 diet

That is language utilized in advertising to make potential prospects consider that this food plan is as straightforward as turning on a lightweight. It isn’t. 

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

Folks weren’t comfortable.

Mosley additionally had a TV present known as, ‘Lose a Stone in 21 Days,’ which actually appears like a scorching rubbish mess. As a result of though dropping that a lot weight in that wanting a time could 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 is no such thing as a proof that the food plan causes consuming problems, 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 growth of an consuming dysfunction. The programme didn’t seem to take care of the individuals’ psychological well being in any manner, akin to consultations with a psychiatrist. Nonetheless, it did have an alarming concentrate on the individuals’ weight, BMI and measurements, in addition to encouraging them to hold out actions that we all know these affected by consuming problems could have interaction in, akin to 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 ladies – and once more, the backlash was swift.

Menopausal ladies (and folks on the whole) ought to by no means starve themselves. In truth, in midlife and past, folks have elevated protein wants to forestall muscle loss aka sarcopenia – one thing that’s more likely to occur with an 800 calorie a day food plan – 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 can lead to rebound overeating and food plan biking, which analysis reveals can truly enhance well being dangers. 

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

A current examine printed within the BMJ discovered the next than anticipated prevalence of consuming problems in ladies 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 plan as a simple and protected strategy to shed extra pounds. It’s unnecessarily excessive, and there’s one thing unsavoury concerning 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 plan, and any improved bloodwork outcomes that individuals may even see are seemingly resulting from weight reduction. This may be achieved with out going to such extremes. 

VLCDs shouldn’t be achieved with out the approval and oversight of a doctor. As a dietitian, I don’t suggest 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, particularly for those who’re doing it for months on finish. 800 energy a day is disordered consuming, for my part. 

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

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

Lastly, dropping pounds themselves doesn’t make somebody a food plan knowledgeable. In the event that they’re promoting a product related to that weight reduction, be very suspicious.

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