What is Alternate Day Fasting?

If two days fasting and five days of normal eating seems too indulgent or too slow for weight loss you could try fasting every other day.

Alternate Day Fasting  (ADF) is the most scientifically studied of the intermittent fasting methods.  ADF was first used in studies of fasting in animals (rats and mice) and, more recently in humans.  ADF was studied in animals as part of research into how calorie restriction  (85% of their normal calories) extends the life of animals, such as fish, worms and rodents.1  The researchers noted that when rats were put on restricted rations (which were given to them once a day), they ate all their ration within an hour and so were, in effect, fasting for the remaining 23 hours of the day. The researchers wondered whether it was the fasting or the reduced calories that were causing the animals to live longer, so they tried giving the animals  unrestricted food on one day followed by a fasting day of no food. They found that these animals, like those on the restricted calorie intake, also lived longer.  Not only that, but the animals were less likely to develop diabetes, had lower blood pressure and heart rate, less cancer, better nerve health, and lower rates of kidney disease. This prompted further research into how fasting might work to cause these benefits, and eventually studies of ADF in humans were started.1  We are still a long way off from knowing whether ADF or any form of intermittent fasting will  result in a longer life for us humans, but we already know that it can help with weight loss and, as the main risk factor for so many diseases is being overweight, that alone is a good reason to including fasting in our way of life.

Learn more about the science of fasting

Although ADF has been being studied for many years, it has only recently started to be used as a weight-loss tool.

Learn more about alternate day fasting: The Every Other Day diet 


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