Jet lag might seem like an inevitable part of international travel, but doctor and nutrition expert Michael Mosley argues that doesn't have to be the case. Mosely, who is the behind the popular 5:2 diet, recently penned an article for the Mail on Sunday explaining his theory.
"A few years ago, I discovered the joys of intermittent fasting and not only did I lose weight, but I found that my jet-lag was greatly improved," he said. It's not a coincidence—Charles Ehret, a researcher at the University of Chicago, started writing about the link between diet and jet lag in the 1980s. "Dr. Ehret suggested that you could reset your internal clock much faster if, for three days before flying, you alternate feasting and fasting," he explained. When the U.S. military put the theory to the test, they found those who followed the diet were more roughly seven times less likely to experience severe jet lag.
About to take a long-haul flight? Here's exactly how to follow the so-called "jet lag diet."
3 Days Before Flying
Mosley recommends starting the diet three days before a long-haul flight. Day one should be a fast day, which involves restricting your intake to 800 calories. A sample low-calorie diet includes dried fruit and yogurt for breakfast, a light soup for lunch, and a small portion of chicken for dinner, the BBC suggests.
2 Days Before Flying
Day two of the diet is a feast day. He recommends a high-protein breakfast, large lunch, and high-carbohydrate dinner. Avoid coffee if possible after 5 p.m.
One Day Before Flying
The day before a long-haul flight is a fast day. Mimic the same meal plan you followed on day one, and limit your diet to 800 calories.
During the Flight
On the day of the flight, Mosley tries to readjust his meal schedule to his destination. For example, when flying from London to New York, he delays breakfast until New York time, skips lunch, and has a snack at about 7 p.m., which is midnight in London. He also aligns his sleep schedule to the destination in a bid to update his internal body clock and avoids alcohol.
Add these editor-approved items to your carry-on before you fly.