Everything You Need to Know about Alternate Day Fasting

Also famous as alternate day diet, the trend of skipping food on alternate days has been in fashion for a long time. Alternate day fasting diet gained popularity after researches concluded that intermittent fasting can contribute to lowering the weight, reduced risk of diabetes, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and increase lifespan.This fasting involves eating little or no food on alternate days and having a healthy and balanced diet on others.

Let us have a look at what alternate day fasting is and how it works.


The idea of skipping food for a day and then resuming it on the next day has been around since the 1930s. During that time, research confirmed its efficacy on mice. It was proved that a periodic restriction in the number of calories consumed can lead to benefits like improvement in health, reduction in weight, and increased life span.

Once the details came out, many books were released which talked about using alternate day fasting as the stepping stone to weight loss.

How to follow the Alternate Day Diet ?

There are two ways in which you can follow the alternate day diet.

The first way is in which you abstain from eating anything. However, you can consume liquids like tea, coffee, and water. Next day incorporate normal eating practices while maintaining a balanced and healthy diet requirement.

Another way of going about the same is to reduce your calorie consumption to a large extent on those days and covering up on the next day. In case anyone plans to follow the second method you have to ensure that you consume one-fifth of your normal calorie requirement. On average, this is 400 calories for women and 500 for men.

However, if following such a drastic reduction in calories is difficult, then you might increase your consumption to 700 calories for women and 875 calories for women. If you consider an ideal calorie requirement for men to be 2500 and that of women to be 2000, then this level would be around 25-35% of the same.

Research conducted on Alternate day fasting

The effectiveness of the alternate day diet has been put to test in different forms. However, each time the same proved to show conclusive results and thus more and more people turned towards using it for themselves.

As per a study conducted by the Pennington Biomedical research center in 2005, the subjects were able to reduce 4% of their body fat and 2.5% of their weight within only three weeks of starting the alternate day diet.

In 2003, the National Institute of Aging was able to justify that intermittent fasting of this form triggered the SIRT1 gene. This, in turn, stimulates cells which release fat needed for energy. Also, it deactivates those genes which are responsible for fat storage in the body.

A study conducted at the University of California Berkeley has also indicated that the diet can reduce the probability of diabetes and reduce weight gain in the body.

Advantages of the Alternate day diet

Let us first have a look at certain advantages of the alternate day diet.

1. Reduction in Daily Calorie Intake

First of all by opting for alternate day fasting you are reducing your daily calorie intake. Though many people also claim that the next day you may tend to cover up and consume more than the required target but that is not true in most cases.

2. Body get adapted to the pattern

Another factor that works in favor of alternate day fasting is that following fasting windows and eating food after that has caused people to experience health issues. This could be something like an upset stomach, nausea, and headaches.

However, in alternate day fasting you are not doing away with food altogether. You are just consuming a little less calorie than normal. Hence after a few days, the body gets used to following such a pattern and then the side effects become minimal.

3. Customized as per one’s capability

Alternate day fasting can be customized as per the requirements of the person. You can choose to not consume anything except liquids on the day of the fast. The second day you can resume your normal eating.

However, it is also possible for you to maintain a steady fast. It is purely up to your capability and how much your body can tolerate.

4. Has Multiple Benefits

Researches conducted have all proven that the alternate day diets work and provide multiple benefits. As has been mentioned above following the pattern sincerely reduces weight, lowers cholesterol and benefits the overall health of the body as such.


Disadvantages of the Alternate Day Fasting

Moving on we also need to know the disadvantages of alternate day diet so that we can give it due consideration.

1. Health Issues

Obviously, in the initial days of the diet plan, you do face some health issues. They could be anything ranging from headaches to nausea. When that happens, you need to find a solution to treat that problem first.

It is however believed that after some time your body gets used to the diet and then maybe you can continue without any fears.

2. Hunger Pangs

Initially, you may find it difficult to curb your hunger pangs. Thus, when the fast ends your first attempt is to eat as much as you can. This can lead to bloating in the stomach especially if you have taken in too many liquids at frequent intervals. You must remember to maintain a healthy diet on the next day.

3. Not suitable for those with chronic illness

The alternate day fasting cannot be used by those who are diabetics, pregnant or suffering from any chronic disease. There is a certain level of protein, fats and carbohydrate requirement that your body needs on a daily basis. If you miss out on keeping the levels maintained, it is sure to have an adverse effect on your body.

Make a wise decision !

While alternate day fasting has shown results, no one yet knows the kind of impact it can have if it is followed diligently for a longer period of time. Still, there is no harm in trying. If your body weight is a major issue for you it is wise if you try alternate fasting.

Once your body comes in the controlled zone you can figure out the next step. You can either continue with the diet or make it a once a 6 months ritual just to keep the increased weight under control.

Also Recommended

Water Fasting- Impressive Results and Useful Tips

Water Fasting – Dangers and Side effects

Is Water Fasting Good for Weight Loss ?


Shyamala Rajasekar

Foodaholic with an untrustworthy appetite. Meat lover. She cannot write bios.

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