Alternate-Day Fasting, how small decisions can make big impact…

During the summer of 1964 at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, American aerospace engineer “Gary Arnold Flandro” assigned a task to identify techniques for exploring the outer planets of the solar system.

In this study, he discovered that every 175 years, something remarkable happens Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune come into close alignment. “Flandro” also found that this alignment going to happen in1970, less than a decade away.

As a result, to take benefit of this gravity pull from rare alignment, NASA started “the Planetary Grand Tour” a multi-planet mission. Utilizing the gravity-assist technique to reduce the mission duration from forty years to less than ten years and also with significant energy saving. The end result was NASA’s Voyager program. NASA launched Voyager 2 followed by Voyager 1 in the late summer of 1977.

Today Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 are a farthest man-made object in space with little help from nature’s own sling-shot. A small decision made by NASA scientist 40 years ago has a big impact on space exploration today.

“Gary Arnold Flandro” story is an indication that how small changes made today can affect life dramatically in the coming years. If you choose intermittent fasting with a healthy diet today, you will see its dramatic effects on your body with slow aging and overall health in the coming years of your life.

Alternate-day fasting is one of the ways to do intermittent fasting. In Alternate-Day fasting person fast for a day and eat normal meals the next day.

Alternate-day fasting is the best way to lose weight and get multiple other health benefits like low blood sugar, low blood pressure, and a healthy heart.

How to do Alternate-day fasting?

Alternate-day fasting also called an “ADF diet” or every other day diet. As the name suggests in ADF diet person need to do fasting every alternate day irrespective of weekday or weekend, and eat normally on other days.

It’s very similar to “36 hour fast” in which a person continuously fast for 36 hours.

  • In alternate-day fasting routine, on fasting day person skips all three meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). On the next day after fasting, the day person eats all 3 meals normally.
  • No snacks or calorific beverages allowed on a fasting day.
  • Below is a sample meal plan for Alternate-day fasting

fasting every other day

  • A person does fasting on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and has normal meals on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
  • You can choose the days according to your choice.
  • A modified version of alternate -day fasting, allows max 500 calories to be consumed on a fasting day.
  • Studies have shown that alternate day fasting is easy to stick compared to a continuous calorie restriction diet.

Alternate-day fasting meal plan

  • On a fast day, one can completely skip all the meals or can have total calorie consumption under 500 calories. 500 calories can be distributed in 3 meals have single meal under 500 calories.
  • On normal days a person should eat a lot of colorful vegetables and fruits to fulfill nutrition needs.Some healthy fats also need to be added in diet, as various body activities need fats.
  • In a fasting period drink plenty of fluids like plain water, tea, coffee without sugar.

alternate day diet plan

Sample Meals under 500 calories for alternate day fasting routine

  • 4 boiled eggs or 4 egg omelet with salad.
  • 100 gm of chicken breast with salad
  • 100 gm of fish with salad.

Read more about fasting meal plans in detail here.

Alternate-day fasting result

Weight loss in alternate-day fasting or any other fasting routine depends on how obese the person is? More obese means more weight loss. Everyone going to have different weight loss.

  • A person on average loses 1 lb of weight per day of fast. But sadly most of it is water weight, 20%-30% of weight loss is an actual fat loss that is 100-200gm.
  • Studies have shown that ADF may cause 3-8% of weight loss in obese adults over a period of 3-12 weeks. [Study 1]

Alternate-day fasting benefits

Alternate-day fasting benefits are similar to any other intermittent fasting routine.

1: Weight loss

Fasting makes you lose a lot of weight in the shortest amount of time. In the absence of food, the body starts burning glycogen stored in liver and muscles (a form of carbohydrates) for energy. After glycogen exhausted, our body starts burning fat for energy, called “ketosis”.  [Study 2,3]

2: Anti-inflammatory

Inflammation is a major risk factor in chronic disease like heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer, cancer.

Inflammation is caused by free radicals, present in the food we eat. Free radicals produced in various metabolic reactions and responsible for oxidative stress.

As we abstain from having any food, free radicals in the body automatically start to declining so does inflammation. [Study 4,5,6]

3: Normalize blood pressure

High blood pressure related to obesity and weight, when a person does fasting his blood pressure lowers significantly. During fasting body gets rid of excess fat, salt, and water in the body.[Study 7]

4: low blood sugar

In fasting no food intake happens, so no insulin secreted in the body. Which results in weight loss. In the absence of insulin, cells become more receptive to low insulin levels. Lower insulin levels related to low blood sugar and low-fat storage. [Study 8, 9]

5: Anti-aging effect

Aging caused by cellular level damage accumulated in the body. Over the years these damaged cells get accumulated in the body and can cause chronic diseases like cancer.

In absence of food, the body starts using damaged cells for energy which is also called as “autophagy”. These damaged cells are used for energy and replaced by new functioning cells body get a new life.

Fasting significantly reduces the speed of aging in some cases may reverse aging symptoms.[Study 10,11,12]

There are multiple other benefits you can read more here.

Negative side effects of alternate-day fasting

There are people who should not do alternate-day fasting, which includes malnourished, underweight adults, athletes, a pregnant or breastfeeding woman, kids, teens, malnourished adults, a person taking any medication should not follow one meal day diet.

  • Alternate-day fasting may cause nutritional deficiencies if you are not having a balanced diet on normal days. Make sure meals are diverse with colorful vegetables.
  • Constipation may occur due to less food intake, try to eat fiber-rich food.
  • One may experience increased hunger, bloating, indigestion. These problems will fade away after some days.
  •  Short-term symptoms like a headache, dizziness may occur these too will go away after some experience in fasting.
  • Alternate day fasting can be combined with keto diet or paleo diet on normal days; to avoid negative effects and get the most benefits.

Summary

Alternate day fasting is an intermittent fasting routine, which can be very useful in weight loss.

For those who find fasting hard, should eat leafy green vegetables, fruits with less or no carbs and do HIIT exercise is also a great way to get fit.

Alternate day fasting is a small investment done in your health which will yield you great results after a few months and even more in coming years.

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