Alternate day fasting is a popular dietary strategy. But many of you might be wondering what alternate day fasting is and what some of the pros and cons are. In this article, we define alternate day fasting and what it means to adhere to this dietary pattern as well as the various benefits and drawbacks.
Different variations of intermittent fasting are extremely popular among people trying to lose weight and people trying to reduce their risk of metabolic diseases, like 16/8 or 18/6 fasting or even 20/4 fasting.
One form is alternate day fasting. Because alternate day fasting is a pretty extreme version of intermittent fasting, many people might claim that it is a form of disordered eating. However, that isn’t necessarily true.
Alternate day fasting can be a part of a healthy lifestyle and can help you lose weight while improving your overall health.
In this article, we will discuss what alternate day fasting is along with some pros and cons of this dietary pattern.
Alternate day fasting is where you alternate between days of fully fasting and days where you can eat whatever you’d like.
While the concept sounds easy, actually practicing this might be challenging for some because you do go a full day without eating. Some people choose to practice a modified version of alternate day fasting where they eat one meal that usually consists of about 500 calories on their fasting days.
This modified approach is also a good strategy to implement if you are new to alternate day fasting and find it difficult to not eat for an entire day. Try a modified approach for a couple weeks and then transition to fully fasted days.
One thing to make note of is that if you decide to try alternate day fasting, make sure you are eating enough on your non-fasting days. Determine how many calories you should eat based on your sex, height, weight, age, and activity level and aim to consume that as a minimum. You do not want your overall caloric intake to decrease too much.
There are many potential benefits to alternate day fasting.
While more studies are needed, it appears that alternate day fasting, or the modified version, may be a superior alternative to caloric restriction for decreasing blood sugar levels (9).
While most people report that these feelings will eventually go away after your body adapts, the first few weeks may be a struggle. This is why starting out with a modified alternate day fasting approach may be a good strategy.
Another idea is to find a buddy or a group that are doing alternate day fasting too. Having a support system is always an effective strategy for cultivating long-term habits.
Alternate day fasting is an extreme and potentially difficult version of intermittent fasting. However, if done correctly, it can be a very effective strategy for losing weight and optimizing your health.
Hesitating with OMAD ? Check out our article comparing alternate day fasting and OMAD.
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5. Fujikake N, Shin M, Shimizu S. Association between autophagy and neurodegenerative diseases [Internet]. Frontiers in Neuroscience. Frontiers Media S.A.; 2018 [cited 2021 Jun 9]. p. 255. Available from: /pmc/articles/PMC5972210/
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Brushing teeth while fasting will not break the fast. Combined with intermittent fasting, brushing will improve oral health and hygiene.
Intermittent fasting has many benefits for women. For women, it’s best to start with short fasting times and then slowly increase them.