Dr MICHAEL MOSLEY's 5:2 diet recipes  (2024)

The human brain, about 3 lb of pinkish-greyish gunk with the consistency of tapioca, is the most complex object in the known universe. It allows us to do wonderful things such as build cities, write novels, fall in love.

The fact that our brains are so extraordinary makes it even more tragic when they go wrong. I’ve noticed as I get older that my memory has become more fallible and I occasionally struggle to remember names and dates. What I really fear, however, is that one day I will develop dementia. The scary thing is that might well happen.

Dementia is now the biggest killer of British women, and second biggest killer (after heart attacks) of men. The process begins when you are in your 50s and once you show signs of mental decay there is not a lot that can be done. So keeping our brains as young as possible, for as long as possible, should be a priority.

Today’s installment is a ten-point plan of well-proven ways to ensure you keep a youthful mind – and perhaps even stave off dementia

Last week, in the first part of my new Life Plan: Live Longer, Look Younger, I revealed the lifestyle changes you need to make in order to age-proof your heart. Today’s second installment is a ten-point plan of well-proven ways to ensure you keep a youthful mind – and perhaps even stave off dementia…


There are a number questionnaires online that claim to determine ‘brain age’ and dementia risk but I haven’t found any that are backed by proper science. Instead, below is my own test, with each question relating to a specific known risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia. Answer either yes or no to the following statements:

■ I eat a mainly Mediterranean- style diet. This is one that is low in sugar and processed foods, but rich in fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, legumes, nuts, oily fish – such as salmon or mackerel – and olive oil.

■ I’ve been tested and I don’t have type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes.

■ I don’t smoke.

■ I drink 14 units of alcohol or less a week.

■ I exercise most days.

Sweet potato tortilla

■ I do something sociable, with friends or family, at least once a week.

■ None of my immediate relatives developed signs of significant memory loss or dementia before the age of 80.

■ I’ve had my blood pressure tested and it is normal.

■ I don’t have any obvious sleep disorders, such as snoring or sleep apnoea, and I get at least seven hours’ sleep every night.

■ I don’t have a significant problem with stress or depression.

Now add up how the number of yes answers you gave…

0-3: You probably have a brain age that is about ten years more than your actual age. You are at increased risk of early memory loss and developing some form of dementia. You need to work on the sort of lifestyle changes I am about to recommend as soon as possible.

4-7: Not bad, but not great. There is still some way to go – and you will benefit from following my advice.

8-10: You are doing well, but do keep reading. This article contains further tips on ways to keep your brain young.


Your brain needs energy, but having persistently high blood sugar levels is bad for it. If you are over 40 and you have not had your blood- sugar levels tested then you probably should. Being a type 2 diabetic adds about ten years to your brain age and doubles your risk of developing dementia. If you have pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes then the good news is that it is possible to get your blood sugar levels down to normal by following a version of my New 5:2 diet – and I will be focusing on this in more detail next week. Visit thebloodsugardiet.com for more information.


Sleep is one of the main pillars of healthy living. And too little quality sleep is a real brain-ager. Scientists have recently discovered that during deep sleep channels open in the brain which flush the toxins out. My first Life Plan, Beat Insomnia In Just 4 Weeks, is devoted to getting better sleep – read it at mailonsundayplus.co.uk/dr-michael-mosley.

Prawn fish pie


Exercising is an excellent way of boosting your brain. A recent study found that regular walkers have brains that, on average, look two years younger than the brains of those who are sedentary. Last week in part one of this Life Plan I gave more detailed advice on exercise. Read that at mailonsundayplus.co.uk/dr-michael-mosley.


SMOKING compromises the circulation and is terrible for the brain. Heavy drinking causes its own form of brain damage but drinking inside the guidelines of 14 units a week seems to be fine.


One of the best ways to keep your brain in good shape is to change what you eat – and how you eat.

Numerous studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet is also the ultimate brain diet – the version I advocate is low in starchy, easily digestible carbs, but packed full of disease-fighting vitamins and flavonoids found in olive oil, fish –especially oily varieties – nuts, fruit and vegetables.

It also contains lots of lovely things that down the years we have been told not to eat, such as full-fat yogurt and eggs. If you have a bit of weight to lose, over these pages are more recipes from my New 5:2 diet.

As regular readers will know, this involves eating a normal, balanced Mediterranean diet for five days of the week and, for two Fast Days of the week, consuming no more than 800 calories. You can do these back-to-back or split them up.

Iced rasberry moose

All the New 5:2 recipes can be made as low-calorie versions ideal for Fast Days and higher-calorie versions.

It’s a scientifically proven weight-loss method known as intermittent fasting (IF). As well as helping you lose gut fat, following the New 5:2 may help preserve your brain cells in other ways.

Dr Mark Mattson, a professor of neuroscience at the National Institute on Ageing and a world expert on the ageing brain, has conducted numerous animal studies.

They show that short periods of fasting lead to increased production in the brain of a protein that not only helps preserve existing brain cells but encourages the growth of new ones, particularly in areas of the brain linked with memory.


We are social creatures and having lots of regular social interactions is incredibly good for our brains. That is why going deaf, which often leads to social isolation, is a major risk factor for developing dementia. If you have dodgy hearing, get yourself tested.


This is one everyone can really enjoy: try to learn a new skill. I love doing puzzles but your brain will get much more benefit from taking up something such as dancing. Learning to salsa is not only intellectually challenging but demands dexterity and interaction with fellow human beings. Plus it’s an enjoyable way of getting fitter. Or join a reading group, a drawing class or a choir. Anything fun, sociable and a bit mentally demanding.


There is mounting evidence that the microbiome, the 2 lb to 3 lb of microbes that live in our guts, have a profound effect on our mental health. A recent study found that people with Alzheimer’s have much higher levels of bad bacteria that cause inflammation, a process that can lead to dementia, and lower levels of the ‘good guys’, the bacteria that reduce inflammation. Find out about how to keep your microbiome health at cleverguts.com.


A team from Edinburgh University’s Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre recently reviewed dozens of studies that looked at potential environmental triggers and came to the tentative conclusion that air pollution might be one of them.

Studies have demonstrated that micro-particles produced by burning fuel can get into our brains.

We also know that when mice are exposed to polluted air collected from busy roads, their brains show some of the changes that are known to lead to Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s not yet clear if this happens in humans.

Summer 5:2 recipes


Sweet potato tortilla

Serves 4, 210 calories per portion.

1 tbsp oil

1 sweet potato (approx 200g), peeled and thinly sliced

4 eggs

1 onion, finely sliced

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp paprika

Small handful parsley, finely chopped

4 handfuls mixed salad leaves (approx 100g total)

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a medium non-stick frying pan and cook the onion for 8-10 minutes or until soft and caramelised, then add the garlic, potatoes and a splash of water. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes until potatoes are soft. Beat the eggs in a large jug with the paprika and some seasoning, then pour over the potatoes. Cover and cook for 5-8 minutes until the edges have set, then, using a plate, tip out the frittata and slide it back in to cook the other side for 5-8 minutes. Scatter over the parsley, then serve in wedges with the salad leaves.

Higher calorie: Increase to 2 tbsp oil, 2 sweet potatoes (approx 400g), 8 eggs.


Salmon and prawn fish pie with sliced tomato crust

Serves 4

2 tbsp tomato puree

1 lemon, zest and juice

1 tbsp olive oil

Small bunch parsley, roughly chopped

4 salmon fillets approx. 120g each, cut into bitesize pieces

200g frozen prawns

100g frozen peas

4 large tomatoes, thinly sliced

2 tbsp dried breadcrumbs

1 tsp dried parsley

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6.

In a baking dish mix the tomato puree, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, parsley and some seasoning then stir in the salmon, prawns and peas.

Layer the sliced tomatoes over the top then mix the breadcrumbs, garlic and some seasoning together before sprinkling over the top. Cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the fish is cooked through and the breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Serve with a side salad.

Higher calorie: Increase breadcrumbs to 50g, increase salmon fillets to 150g each, add 25g grated parmesan



Serves 4, 74 calories per portion.

100g frozen raspberries

200g Greek yogurt

1 tsp vanilla

Mash the raspberries with half of the yogurt until they start to melt and break up, then swirl through the remaining yogurt before serving in glasses.

Higher calorie: Double the portion.

<!- - ad: https://mads.dailymail.co.uk/v8/it/health/none/article/other/mpu_factbox.html?id=mpu_factbox_1 - ->


Dr MICHAEL MOSLEY's 5:2 diet recipes  (2024)


What does Michael Mosley recommend for breakfast? ›

He said the worst thing is having something like cereal or a muffin which could give a sugar rush and then leave you feeling starving soon after. Dr Mosley said his best four breakfasts were porridge, overnight oats, eggs - especially omelettes and kippers.

What are the 5 2 snacks? ›

5:2 diet: snacks

The official The Fast Diet website advises that 'fresh, raw ingredients like almonds, carrots, celery sticks, apple slices' make the perfect 5:2 diet snacks, but if you want to shake it up a bit you fit in everything from popcorn to ice cream sundaes.

What does Michael Mosley eat in a day? ›

The Fast 800 diet is a form of intermittent fasting, where you stop eating for a large part of the day, and the rest of the day's food is inspired by a Mediterranean Diet. Dr Mosley fasts for 12 hours a day, he told SBS, waking at 7am and having his breakfast at 8am after an hour of exercise and work.

What is the absolute best breakfast for weight loss? ›

To lose weight, eat fewer calories than you burn throughout the day. The best things to eat for breakfast include oatmeal, eggs, lean bacon or turkey, whole-grain toast, peanut butter, smoothies, and yogurt with muesli.

What is the absolute best thing to eat for breakfast? ›

Here are 10 of the best healthy breakfasts to eat, according to dietitians.
  1. Baked Sweet Potato with Peanut Butter and Sliced Apples or Raisins. ...
  2. Overnight Oats with Chia Seeds and Berries. ...
  3. Lentil Breakfast Bowl. ...
  4. Quinoa Breakfast Bowl. ...
  5. Savory Oatmeal Bowl. ...
  6. Kefir Smoothie. ...
  7. Avocado Toast. ...
  8. Tofu Scramble.
Sep 24, 2023

How much weight can you lose in a month on the 5:2 diet? ›

The 5:2 diet plan aims for a weight loss of 1lb a week for women, and for men you could expect to lose slightly more. The NHS recommend a loss of 1-2lbs a week for healthy and safe weight loss, this amount is also more sustainable.

How long does it take for 5:2 diet to work? ›

Most people should lose some weight in one to three weeks on the 5:2 diet. Whether it's a good long-term weight-loss plan is ultimately a question of your personality. Some people find fasting a couple of days a week to be totally sustainable, says Katherine Brooking, RD, a New York City-based nutritionist.

Is the 5:2 diet now 800 calories? ›

How to do it. The New 5:2 approach involves restricting calories to 800 on fasting days, then eating a healthy lower carb, Mediterranean-style diet for the rest of the week. The beauty of intermittent fasting means that as your insulin sensitivity returns, you will feel fuller for longer on smaller portions.

Can you eat bananas on 5:2 diet? ›

Snacking on fruit and veg is a much healthier option, but diet and weight loss expert doctor Michael Mosley says there is one fruit you should leave out from your daily intake. According to the founder of the 5:2 diet, bananas are actually not as beneficial as you think, reports The Express.

Can you eat bread on 5:2 diet? ›

It is recommended that good foods to eat on a 'fasting' day are foods high in protein and fibre which tend to fill you up more - so things like fish, meat and vegetables. Whole-grains are fibre-rich. They include whole wheat bread and pasta, brown rice and quinoa.

Can you eat fruit on 5:2 diet? ›

When following the diet, make sure that your non-fast days are packed with nutritious options, including fruit, veg, wholegrains and protein such as chicken, fish, turkey and dairy foods. Maintaining your hydration with water and herbal teas is important because dehydration can be a cause of headaches and tiredness.

Can you eat bananas on The Fast 800 diet? ›

Try MEN Premium now with our amazing New Year offer... just click here to give it a go. The nutritionist behind a range of diets including The Fast 800 and 5:2, says that eating bananas is not as beneficial as you may think and advises cutting out the common fruit if you want to shed some pounds.

What fruit can I eat on fast 800? ›

Avoid sweet fruits

Enjoy berries, apples and pears, which have less sugar than sweet, tropical fruits such as mango, pineapple and melon.

How do I start Michael Mosley diet? ›

Dr Michael Mosley's Diet Plan: Long-term Sustainable Weight Management
  1. About 800 calories a day twice a week (called “fasting days”)
  2. Sensible portions of moderately low-carb, Mediterranean style food for the remaining five days a week.
  3. Meal plans developed by our in-house nutritionist (vegetarian and non-vegetarian)
Nov 23, 2023

Which oats does Michael Mosley recommend? ›

Not the instant stuff, but rolled wholegrain oats with wheat bran. I buy supermarket own brand." The presenter is a fan of the meal, having recommended it to a couple trying to lose weight on his latest show, Michael Mosley: Secrets of Your Big Shop.

What is the best breakfast food for focus and energy? ›

10 Power Foods to Jump-Start Your Day
  • Oatmeal.
  • Almond butter.
  • Eggs.
  • Greek yogurt.
  • Papaya.
  • Ground flaxseed.
  • Berries.
  • Chia seeds.
Nov 9, 2020

Can you eat fruit on Michael Mosley diet? ›

In a conversation with sbs.com, he said: “Fruit is great if you're healthy but if you have weight to lose, then switching to less sugary fruits like apples and berries might be wise.”

What does Michael Mosley recommend for lunch? ›

“By lunchtime you're probably feeling pretty peckish and you're looking forward to something which is going to fill you up, be satisfying and is also going to get you through the afternoon without that dreaded mid-afternoon slump.” Dr Mosley suggested eating something like a chicken and quinoa salad with extra nuts.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Edwin Metz

Last Updated:

Views: 6497

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (58 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Edwin Metz

Birthday: 1997-04-16

Address: 51593 Leanne Light, Kuphalmouth, DE 50012-5183

Phone: +639107620957

Job: Corporate Banking Technician

Hobby: Reading, scrapbook, role-playing games, Fishing, Fishing, Scuba diving, Beekeeping

Introduction: My name is Edwin Metz, I am a fair, energetic, helpful, brave, outstanding, nice, helpful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.