Grace Dent: George Osborne's on the 5:2 diet. Let's hope he isn't making Budget decisions when he's really, really hungry

Men love the diet as it combines hokey science with a chance to be more knowledgable about weight loss

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The Independent Online

The Chancellor George Osborne has lost a lot of weight on the 5:2 diet. I shall pause a moment here to allow jobbing Radio 4 satirists to slot in some gags about benefit cuts and starvation diets. I can think of 17 that would achieve a light ripple of glee. The 5:2 - in case one is lucky enough not to know anyone droning on about it - relies on eating less than 600 calories a day for two days per week and then developing strong neck muscles by doing patronising side-head tilts at friends who suggests this is a non-sustainable plan, or one which will give you two days a week of halitosis and headaches, because one has personally uncovered the secret of skinny-jean nirvana.

Men love the 5:2 as it combines hokey science with a chance to be more knowledgable about a subject - weight loss – on which women have always held the floor. But having lived on 600 calories a day on many, many occasions since my decision to be thinner in 1986 - still very much a work in progress - I have concerns about one of Britain’s most senior decision-making officials being oh so very hungry.

Osborne’s job requires a sharp mind, diplomacy and tenacity. At my very thinnest and calorie abstemious in1998 – could have been The Cabbage Soup diet, or the Atkins Plan, or a Low-GI schedule, but anyway the important thing was I could wear size-8 glitter shorts - I was so hungry and mentally awry that I could barely write the captions on a glossy mag shopping column. I was so Tasmanian Devil-style angry that none of the editors dared ask for them anyway. Osborne is currently planning Wednesday's 2014 Budget. Have a cream cake George. Go on, for all our sakes.