Imagine an eating plan that allows you lose weight by eating your favorite foods such as pasta, bread and dessert in one day but the next day you subside on weight-loss drinks, weight loss bars and decaf tea. This is a brief summery of the latest eating plan called alternate day fasting (ADF), which allows the individual to alternate eating patterns by “feasting one day, but fasting the next day” Unlike popular dieting methods such as the Atkins or South Beach Diet, there are no restrictions on a feast day with ADF: carbohydrates, proteins and fats are allowed, but on a fast day, calorie intake should reduce by almost 50%.
Since 2003, researchers have been studying and testing the effects of ADF. In 2003, the National Institute of Health (NIH) published a report about mice that were allowed to eat as much as they wanted on one day, and then allowed no food the next day. The results were that although the ADF mice did not lose weight, they displayed health changes such as an increase of insulin sensitivity, stress resistance and life span and were just as healthy as a previous group of mice that had lost weight through consistent calorie restriction. In a 2005 study by scientists at a research center in Louisiana, human subjects were placed on ADF for three weeks: results included an average weight loss of 2.5% and an approximate loss of 4% body fat. Several books have been published about ADF and some studies show that ADF can activate a gene called SIRT1, known as the “skinny gene” that is believed to be a possible component to a longer life span. Researchers believe that ADF places just enough stress on the body to create SIRT1 and deactivate another gene called PPAR-gamma, which is responsible for fat storage. With the PPAR-gamma gene turned off, fat is metabolized instead of stored. Researchers also believe that ADF helps an individual to distinguish between real hunger and “emotional” hunger.
So how to calculate calorie intake for ADF? According to its guidelines, an individual needs to reduce intake on an off day by up to 50%, depending on factors such as gender and activity level (e.g. a 2,000 calorie a day eating plan one day, 1,000 the next day). But ADF is not an excuse to overeat on high calorie foods; researchers insist that on feast days an individual continues to eat whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, fruits and vegetables.
Who could benefit from ADF? After checking with their doctor, ideal individuals include those with chronic diseases such as cancer, type II diabetes or cardiovascular disease. But for long-term, permanent weight loss, it’s no surprise that researchers and doctors don’t recommend ADF and instead advocate eating less, eating smaller portions and exercising. Another alternative to ADF is the 80/20 rule, where if an individual eats well 80% of the time, he or she can have the occasional 20% indulgence.
|Is Fasting Harmful or Helpful?|
The concept of fasting used to be associated with religious and cultural traditions in an attempt to seek God. Now fasting is steadily becoming the method of choice for those who seek to lose weight. From fitness fanatics to teens, the idea of fasting is easily becoming more attractive
|Foods for a Flatter Stomach|
We all love food but unfortunately, our bodies don’t always turn out for the best physically because of it. For those of you who are tired of going through diet after diet or are sick of downing the latest weight-loss miracle product, maybe it’s time to turn to the very thing most of us run away from