It’s true that anything with the word “fasting” in it is the opposite of fun. Fasting has been around for hundreds of years – sometimes it has a religious significance, sometimes it’s just a way to give our digestive system a chance to rest and rejuvenate.
Whatever the background may be, lately there have been several trends of fasting that have made headlines. The most recent one is alternate day fasting.
But what exactly is it – and do the benefits outweigh the risks? TABIIB helps you understand below:
What Is Alternate Day Fasting (ADF)?
Alternate day fasting is basically a form of intermittent fasting where you alternate eating between days. Basically, you alternate between periods of regular eating and fasting on different days. What it comes down to is not eating anything for a day and a half and then eating whatever you want for the remaining half day in the 48 hour cycle.
The process is simple: on the days you fast, you eat upto 25% of your normal calorie intake. On the days you don’t, you eat your fill. This is a principle adopted by a modified version of the diet also called the “every other day” diet.
How To Do Alternate Day Fasting
There are a few rules that must be followed before starting a regime of fasting:
-Fast every other day
This is the standard protocol for alternate day fasting. It’s apparent that fasting like this requires adherence to a strict timetable. If the schedule of alternate days doesn’t work for you, then it might be best to look for another form of intermittent fasting.
-Eat upto 25% of your regular calorie intake
There are a few studies which have concluded that the best course of action for an individual is to restrict their diet to 25% intake of their usual. That way, they don’t experience extreme hunger pangs and that’s what makes this diet easier to stick to.
–Eat your fill on non-fast days
There’s a process called “ad libitum eating” that is used during alternate day fasting. Basically, it means that on your non-fast days you have the liberty to eat as much as you like, as often as you need. This doesn’t mean that it supports over-eating – rather, it’s more of easing the calorie restriction.
-Keep an eye on your weight
When you eat less and only on certain days – that’s less calories in. Tracking and monitoring your weight will help you understand if this type of fasting aligns with your health goals. It can also give you an indication to take a step back if you’re losing too much weight way too quickly.
The rules are pretty straightforward when it comes to this type of modified fasting but it’s always best to consult a physician beforehand.
Benefits of Alternate Day Fasting
Fasting has always been considered beneficial for health – with many claiming that it gives the digestive system a day of rest where it can repair and rejuvenate. Literature on fasting confirms that if done correctly, it can have an overall positive effect on our bodies. A few health benefits that one gets from alternate day fasting are:
1) Promotes Weight Loss
This is obvious – a decrease in calorie intake means a decrease in weight. Reportedly, people have noticed a measurable decrease of their body fact over an eight week period.
2) Improves Blood Glucose Levels
ADF can benefit those with type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that people who practice ADF have significantly lower blood glucose levels and an improved insulin sensitivity.
3) Keeps heart healthy
A report shows that ADF is a good supplemental tool to managing lifestyle disorders. Those who suffer from high cholesterol or obesity are advised to maintain a modified diet of ADF to ensure that their heart remains healthy and free from cardiovascular risks.
The Bottom Line
As with all major lifestyle and dietary changes, it’s always best to consult a doctor beforehand. Not everyone is suited to follow through with a major diet like this, so it’s in your health’s best interest to understand the risks and issues. To get an expert opinion consult a doctor on TABIIB.