Michael Mosley - 5:2 diet creator, doctor and author: a tribute

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Professor Robert Thomas pays tribute to Dr Michael Mosley, who died on the Greek island of Symi

Michael Mosley’s tragic death on the Greek island of Symi will leave a void in the world of medical education.

He was one of the most distinguished British television journalists, producers, presenters, authors and was clearly an incredible human being.

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Although sadly gone, he certainly will not be forgotten. His outstanding contributions to health journalism and documentary filmmaking will leave a legacy which will continue to inspired a global audience to take a deeper interest in their own well-being for many years to come.

With a career spanning several decades, Michael’s unique blend of curiosity, intellect, charisma and his unique ability to explain complex scientific concepts in an understandable, accessible and engaging way is helping millions.

Born in 1957, Michael Mosley initially pursued a career in medicine, studying at New College, Oxford, before moving on to the Royal Free Hospital Medical School. Michael soon discovered his true calling lay elsewhere. His passion for storytelling and science led him to join the BBC, where he began as a trainee assistant producer. This decision marked the beginning of a remarkable journey in television, one that would see him become one of the most trusted, recognisable and popular faces in science and health broadcasting.

Michael’s work was characterised by a pursuit of knowledge and a willingness to put himself at the centre of his investigations. This immersive approach has led to many compelling and informative science programs. Notable among these is Inside the Human Body, a series that delves into the extraordinary processes that sustain life, and The Story of Science which explored the history of scientific discovery.

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Perhaps Michael’s most significant contribution in the field of health and nutrition was his ground-breaking documentary Eat, Fast and Live Longer, which aired in 2012 and introduced the world to the concept of intermittent fasting. This documentary not only sparked a global conversation about diet and longevity but also led to the creation of the popular 5:2 diet, where individuals eat normally for five days and restrict their calorie intake for two days each week. Michael’s personal experimentation and transparent reporting style provided viewers with practical, evidence-based strategies for improving their health.

In addition to his television work, Mosley wrote several best-selling books, including The Fast Diet, The Clever Guts Diet, and The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet. These publications further consolidated his reputation as a leading authority on health and nutrition, offering readers scientifically-backed advice on diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes.

I, like masses of readers, have been captivated by his clarity, his ability to add humour, and a commitment to demystifying science in his books. Despite the depth of knowledge in each book, his mastership of the English language made them engaging, easy to read and understand.

Michael was justifiably known for his genuine warmth, approachability and never blamed people for ill health but always encouraged them to make practical changes in their diet and lifestyle which could improve their well-being . This ability to connect with audiences on a personal level made him the beloved figure in the realm of public health education, which he thoroughly deserved. He approached each topic with empathy and a genuine desire to help people lead healthier lives, a quality that resonates deeply with his audience.

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Michael Mosley’s contributions to health journalism will clearly be deeply missed. His legacy is one of inspiration, education, and a profound impact on public understanding of science. His work will continues to enlighten and motivate, reminding us all of the power of curiosity and the importance of lifelong learning.

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