Alternate day fasting is a way to do intermittent fasting. With this diet, you fast every other day, but you eat what you want on the days without fasting.
The most common version of this diet is the ‘modified’ fast, where you can eat 500 calories on fasting days.
Here’s we discuss the alternate day fasting:
The Benefits Of Another Fast Day
The high-fat diet also had better compliance and lost more weight. That’s not a big surprise since fat adds flavour to meals. I’ve seen my clients consume meat, avocado, olive oil, and other high-fat foods that add more calories to meals.
But result in an average of five pounds of weight loss per week, along with better cardiovascular risk and better composition of body fat without fasting.
So if you are interested in losing weight, you may not need to change the type of diet (for example, low fat or high fat) that you are already following, just change your diet.
And if you decide to try an alternative fast, you can do it on fasting days with no difficulties and still lose weight. (Not all weight loss plans work for everyone, including alternate fasting or intermittent fasting.
What I found interesting, because it may shed light on a metabolic phenomenon that we don’t fully understand, is that despite the 50 percent calorie deficit over a two-day period, the volunteers kept their lean body mass rather than losing muscle mass.
How To Fast Every Other Day?
Alternative Fasting (ADF) is an intermittent fasting approach. The basic idea is that you fast one day and then eat what you want the next day.
This way, you only have to limit what you eat half the time. On fasting days, you can have as many calorie-free drinks as you like. Examples of this are:
- Coffee without sugar
If you follow a custom ADF approach, you can also eat around 500 calories on fasting days, or 20-25% of your energy needs.
The most popular version of this diet is called “The Everyday Diet” by Dr. Krista Varady, who has done most of the studies on ADF.
The health benefits and weight loss appear to be the same, regardless of whether the fasting calories are consumed during lunch or dinner, or as small meals during the day.
Studies show that many people find that fasting on a different day is much easier to sustain than traditional daily calorie restriction.
Most of the fasting studies from other days used the modified version, with 500 calories on fasting days. This is considered much longer-lasting than fasting on fasting days, but it is just as effective.
In this article, the terms “alternate fasting” or “ADF” generally applies to the modified approach with approximately 500 calories on fasting days.
Alternate Day Fasting And Weight Loss
ADF is very effective in losing weight. Studies in overweight and obese adults show that you can lose 3 to 8% of your body weight in 2 to 12 weeks.
Interestingly, ADF appears to be particularly effective for weight loss in middle-aged people.
Studies have shown that ADF and daily calorie restriction are equally effective in reducing harmful abdominal fat and inflammatory markers in obese people.
However, a 2016 review study concluded that ADF may be superior to diets that restrict daily calories, as it is easier to follow, causes more fat loss, and retains more muscle mass.
Furthermore, combining ADF with resistance can cause twice as much weight loss as ADF alone and six times more weight loss than resistance alone.
Regarding the nutritional composition, the ADF seems to be equally effective if it is done with a high or low-fat diet.
Alternate Day Fasting And Body Composition
ADF has been shown to have unique effects on body composition both during your diet and during your weight maintenance period.
Studies comparing traditional calorie-restricted diets and ADF show that they are equally effective in reducing weight and fat mass.
However, ADF appears to be more effective in maintaining muscle mass. This is very important because losing muscle mass along with fat reduces the number of calories your body burns daily.
In a randomized controlled trial, ADF was compared to a traditional 400 calorie deficient diet restricted to calories.
No difference in weight gain was observed between the groups after an 8-week study or a 24-week neglected study.
However, after 24 weeks without supervision, the ADF group had retained more muscle mass and had lost more fat mass than the calorie-restricted group.
In addition to weight loss, ADF has several health benefits.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide and is responsible for about one in four deaths.
Many studies have shown that the ADF is an excellent option for helping overweight or obese people lose weight and reduce heart disease risk factors.
Most studies on this topic range from 8 to 12 weeks and include those who are overweight and obese.
Type 2 Diabetes
In addition, more than a third of Americans have prediabetes, a condition in which blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered diabetes.
Limiting weight and calorie loss is often an effective way to improve or reverse many symptoms of type 2 diabetes.
As with constant calorie limitation, ADF seems to cause a slight decrease in risk representatives for type 2 diabetes in people who are overweight or obese.
However, ADF appears to be more effective in lowering insulin levels and insulin resistance, while only having a minor effect on blood sugar.
High insulin levels or hyperinsulinemia have been linked to obesity and chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer.
In prediabetes subjects, 8 to 12 weeks of ADF reduced fasting insulin by about 222 to 32%.
A decrease in insulin levels and insulin resistance should lead to a significant reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes, especially in combination with weight loss.
What To Eat And Drink In Fast Days?
There is no general rule about what to eat or drink on fast days, except that your total caloric intake should not exceed 500 calories.
It is best to drink low-calorie or calorie-free drinks on fast days, such as:
- Coffee shop
Most people prefer to eat a “large” meal at the end of the day, while others prefer to eat early or divide the amount between 2 to 3 meals.
Since your calorie intake will be very limited, it is best to focus on nutritious, high-protein foods, and low-calorie vegetables. These feel full without many calories. Soups are also a great option on fast days.
Here are some examples of foods suitable for fasting days:
- Eggs and vegetables
- Yogurt with berries
- Grilled fish or lean meat with vegetables
- Soup and a fruit
- A generous salad with lean meat
You can quickly find 500-calorie fast food recipes and healthy low-calorie snacks online.
Also Good For People With An Average Weight?
Not only is alternate day fasting beneficial for weight loss, but it can also provide health benefits for people without obesity.
A 3-week study examined people of average weight on a strict ADF diet without calories on fast days.
The researchers found that it resulted in increased fat burning, decreased fasting insulin, and a 4% decrease in fat mass.
However, the level of hunger remained quite high throughout the investigation.
They speculated whether an adjusted ADF diet with a small meal on fasting days might be more tolerable for people without obesity.
Another controlled study included overweight and medium weight individuals.
Following an ADF diet for 12 weeks has been shown to reduce fat mass and cause beneficial changes in risk factors for heart disease.
That said, the ADF generally offers far fewer calories than you need to lose weight, so you end up losing weight.
If you’re not looking to lose weight or fat mass, or are on average weight in the beginning, other diet methods are likely to suit you better.
The Disadvantages Of Alternating Fasting On Another Day
Fasting or ADF is not for everyone. For beginners, there may be differences in how men and women acknowledged the fast.
You should also be mindful of fasting if you have a health obstacle that needs regular eating from a history of an unhealthy or unsettled relation with food, as outlined in Everything You Need To Know About Flashing.
My clients constantly ask me: “What diet should I follow?” In my answer, it’s always the same: the diet you choose should be the diet you like best. If you like a low-fat diet, this is your answer.
If you like high-fat foods, cut down on your carbs and you will be happy with these options. You follow the plan you chose because you love food. It is a “won” decision (undoubtedly what you achieve to achieve your healthy eating goals).
When thinking about fasting on other days, my question is: if one day you could get a little more than you need, could you get to an extremely small amount of food the next day?
Nationally known as an expert in weight loss, comprehensive nutrition, blood sugar, and health management, Valerie Berkowitz, M.S., R.D., C.D.E.
She is co-author of The Stubborn Fat Fix, director of nutrition for the Center for Balanced Health and consultant for Complete Wellness in New York. She is a woman who fights for inner peace, happiness, and lots of laughter.
Fasting on other days is a very effective way to lose weight. It has several advantages over traditional calorie-restricted diets.
It has also been linked to significant improvements in many health markers.
Best of all, it’s surprisingly easy to stick to because you only need to “diet” every other day.