Health Benefits of Alternate Day Fasting

Have you ever tried fasting every other day? There is a new study that following a routine of fasting every other day may be a better option instead of counting calories while still getting the same benefits including getting additional support from different biological processes that our body undergoes.

Most of us go on a diet when we need to lose weight, prevent certain diseases from occurring, such as heart problems, or just because we want to feel better overall. The good news is that we are spoiled for choices when it comes to diet plans because there are dozens to choose from. And one of them is the alternate-day fasting or ADF.

What is Alternate-Day Fasting?

We are all familiar with intermittent fasting as it is one of the most common forms of dieting that most people do where you avoid eating for several hours to restrict your calorie intake. In alternate-day fasting, however, you are allowed to eat normally on one day, then skip food the following day. This may be more effective to those who are trying to bring down their weight to a reasonable number because of the calorie restrictions.

Benefits of Alternate-Day Fasting

Several researchers, most of them coming from the Medical University of Graz in Austria, studied 60 participants in a month-long trial where they assigned them into a control group or ADF group. Those who are in the control group are allowed to eat whatever they like any time they want to, while those who are in the ADF group alternated between 12 hours of unlimited eating and 36-hour, no-calorie fast, with regular glucose monitoring. What they discovered is that those who were in the ADF group had a good weight and an improved health overall.

They also discovered several health benefits associated with the use of alternate-day fasting some of which are:

  • Reduced inflammation. Those who followed the alternate-day fasting experienced less inflammation as well as risk of age-related diseases.
  • Lower cholesterol levels. Another plus to this diet is that you’ll have lower cholesterol levels because of the fasting phase which reduces your calorie intake.
  • No calorie counting needed. A lot of people who are trying to lose weight often attempt to count the calories that they are consuming, but this can be difficult to sustain over long periods of time. In the case of alternate-day fasting, you only need to remember that you will not eat every other day while getting free reign on whatever you wish to eat on days you are allowed to eat.
  • Reduction in belly fat. Participants in the study not only improved on their weight, but their belly fat was reduced as well.
  • Lower triiodothyronine. Another plus to following this diet is that the level of triiodothyronine is significantly reduced which has been found to increase one’s lifespan.
  • Upregulation of ketone bodies. Studies show that alternate-day fasting can help with upregulation of ketone bodies which is actually a health benefit not only for fasting days but also for non-fasting where stored fat is burned to give you more energy.
  • Lower caloric intake. Another benefit to following an alternate-day fasting is that it can reduce your calorie intake up to 37% due to alternate days of fasting. This shows that this diet can be of use to those who are trying to lose weight.

Is Alternate-Day Fasting Safe to Follow?

Although alternate-day fasting sounds promising to those who are trying to lose weight, it is best to discuss this option with your doctor first. This is due to the fact that you may be missing important nutrients which the body needs. This diet may also cause you to have lower energy levels since you are not getting any fuel especially on fasting days. Another source for concern with this diet is the fact that it can also lead to dehydration. Aside from water, we are also getting water from the food that we eat. This can be dangerous as it can lead to fatigue, loss of energy, dizziness, and headache even.

Those who are taking medications should not use the alternate-day fasting as they need food alongside their medications otherwise there are side effects that they will have to deal with. This diet may even interfere with your overall wellness because you may not be able to join festivities most of the time while putting you at risk of practicing unhealthy eating habits since you will most likely eat more on no-fast days.

The Verdict

Although alternate-day fasting can help with your weight loss goals, this is not an ideal option for long-term use due to the downsides to it. It’s true that this type of fasting can help you control your calorie intake, but it may also cause you to miss out on important nutrients too. If you are interested in trying this diet out, it would be better to talk to your doctor on how to use this diet plan in a safe manner. This way, you will be able to plan your alternate-day fasting to get the most out of it. Just remember that this is not recommended for long term use because of the health issues that it may trigger.

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