A new clinical trial has found that people prefer receiving more information on the 5:2 diet (intermittent fasting regimen) than conventional GP weight management advice, according to Science Daily.

The study, led by the researchers of the Queen Mary University of London, found that people were more likely to recommend 5:2 diet intervention than GP weight loss intervention despite both interventions achieving similar weight loss results.

The trial, funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), is the first randomized evaluation of the 5:2 diet.

The researchers studied the long-term effects of providing intermittent fasting instructions compared to traditional weight loss advice in nearly 300 adults with obesity.

After a year, the researchers found that long-term weight loss was similar for those who received either 5:2 diet or standard weight management advice with 18% and 15% of participants respectively. The participants lost at least 5% of their body weight at one year.

However, upon rating both interventions, the 5:2 diet groups were more likely to recommend intermittent fasting advice.

The findings suggest that providing brief advice on the 5:2 diet could extend the options clinicians can offer to patients, according to Science Daily.

Dr. Katie Myers Smith, Chartered Health Psychologist and Senior Research Fellow at Queen Mary, said, “Here we’ve been able to provide the first results on the effectiveness of simple 5:2 diet advice in a real-life setting.”

“We found that although the 5:2 diet wasn’t superior to traditional approaches in terms of weight loss, users preferred this approach as it was simpler and more attractive,” she added. “Based on these findings, GPs may consider recommending the 5:2 diet as part of their standard weight management advice.”

In the 5:2 diet, people restrict their caloric intake on two non-consecutive days a week and follow sensible eating on the remaining days.