Why Alternate Day Fasting Works For Weight Loss [+What to Eat]

  • Usman 

With the prevalence of obesity and overweight all over the globe, weight loss and improvement of body composition through diets and exercise may aid against the risk of diseases caused by obesity. There are many forms of caloric restriction diets beaming on the internet. People are in search of a perfect method to make their bodies seem flawless and impeccably healthy.

Numerous weight loss methods range from intense work out to excruciating calorie-restricted diets. Nonetheless, the alternate-day fasting method is receiving all the fame during this frenzy of weight loss.

What is Alternate Day Fasting Diet? Does it really work?

Alternate-day fasting is a type of intermittent fasting. As the name suggests, this diet includes fasting every other day. But on the days you don’t fast, you can eat whatever your heart may desire. Be it a Big Mac with extra French fries or a can of very sugary soda. You can eat anything at all.

This strange diet is meant to help in weight loss but is also helpful against heart diseases and type 2 diabetes. Fasting helps turn your metabolic switch on, so your body begins burning fat as an energy source instead of glucose stored in your liver.

alternate-day-fasting-concept

There are various types of alternate-day fasting schedules. However, below are the five most popular fasting schedules:

  • 5:2 fasting method: This version of alternate-day fasting includes two days of restricted calories and five days of eating freely. One mustn’t fast on two consecutive days. The calorie count for the two days of fasting must be five hundred for women and six hundred for men.
  • Alternate-day fasting schedule: This schedule involves four days of calorie restriction while three days are eating freely.
  • Eat-stop-eat Method: This method is an extract from a well-known book by Brad Pilon. This method teaches fasting for 24 hours twice a week. One is not supposed to eat anything during each set of 24 hours.
  • 36:12: This method is known to be comparatively difficult than the rest. It consists of alternate-day fasting but without any calorie intake. It includes thirty-six hours of fasting with twelve hours of eating freely.
  • 48 and 72 hours fasting period: This type of fasting is an extended branch of intermittent fasting. One has to carry out zero calories fasting for two days and can freely for the next five. However, this method is considered risky for some people who might have an underlying health condition.

Although many consider Alternate-day fasting (ADF) for weight loss, some few dismiss it as ineffective. A study suggests that it is only as effective as a daily calorie-restricted diet, no more, no less. However, it is said, that they are equally effective for reducing the risks of harmful belly fat and heart diseases.

?Like other popular calorie restriction diets, if ADF is paired with physical activity, it may accelerate the process of weight loss. This can be proved through research that suggests that when ADF is paired with aerobic exercise, it causes twice as much weight loss as ADF alone, yet, six times as much weight loss as aerobics without ADF.

While practicing ADF, our body goes through major hormonal changes to cope with the loss of energy that comes in the form of our daily meals. It changes the hormone composition to help bring energy from the fat stored in our bodies.

One of the hormones which are produced in higher amounts during ADF is Human Growth Hormone (HGH). It is said to increase five folds during such fasting. HGH activates a slight amount of agouti-related protein (AgRP) neurons which may indirectly increase food consumption, hunger and diminish energy metabolism.

It was believed that HGH reduces fat in the body; nonetheless, research shows that this hormone signals the brain to conserve energy, which makes it difficult to lose weight.

However, the main reason ADF is used for weight loss by many is that it helps you consume fewer calories, you basically eat less. It is observed that intermittent fasting diminishes body weight by 3%-8% during three to twenty-four weeks.

Does ADF Change Body Composition?

It has been observed that ADF has a distinctive effect on our body composition. This effect is taking place while we’re dieting or during the weight maintenance period. It is even considered that ADF may be more effective in preserving muscle mass than other weight-loss diets.

There is not enough research that could prove the effect of ADF on one’s body composition. While some researchers might agree to it, there is a good amount of ‘no’s as well. Thus, we can only rely on new re-searches emerging every now and then to shed some light on the matter.

Although this matter of body composition is a bit uncertain, one certain thing is that ADF does help cut down some bodyweight. Which means your body composition would shift for sure.

Fast & Feast Day Meals on Alternate Day Fasting

Coming forward, one thing that many folks question is the meals they are meant to take during this unique diet. What should you eat and drink on fasting days? However, there is no ?must do? for ADF diet meals. There is a wide range of foods you can pick from to sate your hunger.

On fasting days, it is best to increase your intake of low-calorie beverages. These include coffee, tea, and lemon water. You can consume a whole, filling meal late in the day or you can split your meals into two or three snacks during the day.

It is preferable to add soups to one’s diet during fasting days. Soups are filling and they leave our stomachs sated for a longer period. Suitable fasting foods include:

  • Eggs and yogurt
  • Berries
  • Vegetables
  • Soups
  • salads
  • Fruits and lean meat
  • Beans and legumes
  • Potatoes and seafood
  • Avocado

One can find various delicious five hundred calorie recipes on the internet. The variety goes on from mouth-watering salads to yogurt and berry smoothies.

Then come the feast days, which as the name suggests are your non-fasting days. You may eat whatever you want on these days, which is why they are known as feast days.? Nothing is off-limits.

However, make sure you eat because you are hungry, not because you can. One can enjoy the taste of a good chocolate cake instead of stuffing and cramming their stomach. It’s best to not overburden your stomach, but you can give in to your cravings for the day.?

Although it is a cheat day, one must keep their calorie intake in check, making sure they don’t go overboard. It will be motivational for the diet practitioner to keep in mind that they are on a weight loss diet and a high-calorie count will not benefit the diet anyways.

Your meals for feast days should be planned so you don’t go about over-munching in the kitchen. To derive the best results from your ADF, make sure you eat healthily and your meals aren’t harming your progress.

Is Alternate Day Fasting Diet Safe?

Last but not least, is ADF safe? It is safe for most people, it doesn’t end up with a bigger risk for weight re-gain than traditional calorie-cutting diets. While some might imagine that ADF inclines your body towards a risk of overconsumption but studies have been contradicting such opinions. It is actually suggested that it may reduce gluttony and also depressive symptoms which eventually lead to over-eating as well.

However, certainly, ADF should not be practiced by a certain population. This set of people includes children, pregnant women, lactating mothers, underweight people, and those with a health condition that might arise with the practice of ADF. These health conditions include Gilbert Syndrome.

Although various researches show that ADF may be beneficial for decreasing symptoms of overeating, this dietary pattern is risky and inappropriate for a population with eating disorders which include bulimia and anorexia nervosa.

Keep your weight goals in mind, it will only fasten your progress and save you from de-motivation and straying from your plans.

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Muhammad Usman

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