Alternate day fasting (ADF) is kind of intermittent fasting.
Alternate day fasting has been getting more popular for those who want to lose weight. Although fasting isn’t the safest way to lose weight, but many people have been implementing it not only to shed extra weight, but also to eliminate toxins from their body.
When you follow this diet fad, you’ll surely lose weight because your body will be forced to use the stored energy to keep you going the whole day.
What Is Alternate Day Fasting?
Alternate day fasting is deemed to be an effective weight loss tool. As the name implies, this diet plan requires eating little or no food at all at one day and feasting the other day. The good thing about alternate fasting is that it does not restrict the food that you can eat on non-fast day.
On fasting days, you need to follow restricted diet. During carb cycling diet, no carb should be added in your meal. If your target calorie intake per day is 2,000 calories, then you should consume 500 calories during fasting day and 2,000 calories on non-fasting days.
Does Alternate Day Fasting Help You Lose Weight
It is said that “not one diet fits everyone“. A study revealed that alternate-day fasting is effective to reduce obesity, but is difficult to follow. In fact, even the majority of the obese community may be challenged to follow it (1).
Another observation showed that this diet plan doesn’t work well in people who take snacks frequently. Before starting this diet plan, it is important to consult first your doctor especially if you’re taking medications or experiencing health condition like diabetes.
ADF seems to be effective for weight loss amid middle-aged people. It can also reduce the belly fat as well as inflammatory markers. Sticking to this diet program can help to build more muscles and great fat loss.
If you want to achieve the best possible results, you should combine endurance exercise with ADF. It is easier to follow as compared to calorie restriction.
How to Do Alternate Day Fasting
When following the Alternate day fasting, women should obtain 2,000 calories per day while men should take 2,500 calories a day. As the allowed calorie intake during fasting is one-fifth of the normal calorie intake, this means that women should have 400 calories and 500 calories for men (2).
On the first day of fasting you can sip ready-made shakes enough for the daily calorie requirements. On the second day, the non-fasting day, you can eat whatever that you normally eat. The third day is another fasting day and do the same as the first day.
After a couple of weeks, you can eat foods instead of the replacement products during the fasting days. But, make sure to stick to 20-25% of the usual calorie intake.
Health Benefits of Alternate-Day Fasting
Aside from weight loss, alternate-day fasting also offers other health benefits including the following:
- Prevents Type 2 diabetes
Almost 90% of the population in the US are suffering from Type 2 diabetes. Restricting calorie intake and losing weight is an effective way to reverse the symptoms of type 2 diabetes. This is beneficial to obese and overweight individuals.
It is also effective in reducing insulin resistance and lowering the insulin levels. Keep in mind that high insulin levels have been associated to chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.
- Heart health
Heart disease is one of the leading cause of mortality. Many studies revealed that following alternate-day fasting won’t only help to lose weight but also reduces the risk factors of developing heart disease.
This diet program lowers the blood pressure and bad cholesterol level. Likewise, it reduces the blood triglycerides.
- Boosts metabolism
The concept of shorter alternate-day fasting can stimulate the metabolism as compared to long-term fasting. The good thing about this is that while your metabolism is running smoothly, you can also expect to maintain your muscle tissue.
- Stimulates brain function
According to a study of the Society for Neuroscience, following a ADF diet program stimulates brain function (3). It helps in recovery after a brain injury or stroke. It also enhances the performance of your memory.
ADF can improve the cognitive function, thus prevents developing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
- Boosts the immune system
Fasting is deemed to be powerful in boosting the immune system. It helps the body to produce new white blood cells. Likewise, fasting for 72 hours can protect a cancer patient from the harmful effects of chemotherapy treatments.
It is said that alternate-day fasting is safe as compared to calorie-restricted diets. Studies found out that it decreases binge eating and depression.
However, as mentioned above, there’s no single diet program that works to all. Thus, there are group of people that may not follow the concept of the program such as pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, individuals with eating disorders, children, and those having medical conditions and underweight.
The alternate-day fasting is a new way of taking in fewer calories and utilize the fat stores to keep you going.
However, during the non-fasting day make sure to indulge in foods that are full of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. You should consume plenty of vegetables, fruits, and wholegrains.
Following this diet program does not only helpful to weight loss, but also it improves one’s health.
Dietitian with around 3 years of experience in assessing the nutritional needs of patients, counselling individuals, communicating the appropriate nutritional information to other members of the health care team and implementing nutritional care plans by following all the standards.