There’s a difference between a diet and a lifestyle change. One is eliminating a certain food group or only eating a certain food group, while the other is changing how or when you eat. Intermittent fasting is more of a lifestyle change than a diet because you’re not eliminating specific foods; you’re just changing when eating. However, intermittent fasting is an umbrella term that encompasses different subsets of the approach. One such approach to intermittent fasting is known as alternative-day fasting.
What Is Alternate-Day Fasting?
Alternate-day fasting is in the name; it’s an intermittent fasting approach where you fast every other day while using the day in-between to eat whatever you wanted. Now, you might be thinking that it’s tempting to feast on whatever you wanted to during the days where you’re not fasting, and that’s what many people end up doing. It’s basically a system of starving yourself one day and eating anything you wanted the next.
Alternate day fasting makes sense from a biological standpoint. Back when our early ancestors roamed the Earth, they were hunter-gatherers. That means they went days where they wouldn’t have access to a lot of food. Alternate-day fasting helps us emulate the way our ancestors used to feast. They would go a day without food, most likely hunting, then spend the next day feasting. They didn’t care about calories or what they ate on their feast day. Our bodies haven’t evolved much since then, so following this same system makes the most sense, but what benefits does it provide?
What Are The Benefits of Alternate-Day Fasting?
When you think of any diet or lifestyle change, the main benefit anyone thinks about is weight loss. Surprisingly enough, the weight loss through alternate-day fasting isn’t achieved solely because of calorie-restrictions. The weight loss achieved through alternate-day fasting is due to the increase of ketone bodies on the days where you’re not fasting.
Think of ketone bodies as fuel from your fat. When you’re not consuming carbohydrates on your fasting day, your body needs to turn to another fuel source. Fortunately, your fat is a viable fuel source. Your body will start burning your fat as a backup. Think of carbohydrates as a readily-available source of energy. When you eat carbohydrates, you immediately feel a rush of energy. That’s because your body can pull energy from carbohydrates almost immediately. However, on fasting days, when there are no carbohydrates, your body must turn elsewhere. That’s why the concept of intermittent fasting, or alternate-day fasting, is an effective way to lose weight quickly.
Not only are you taking the weight off your body by shedding your fat, but you’re doing your body a favor by making it not work as hard to pump blood through your body. Losing weight will help improve your blood pressure because your blood flow isn’t so constricted by fat cells. This could lead to lower cholesterol levels, lower risk of heart disease, and a lower risk of a stroke.
Believe it or not, there are mental benefits to weight loss too. When you lose weight, you’re reducing inflammation in the brain, which can help improve depression and anxiety. You will also feel more confident in your own skin as you see the weight start to melt away following the alternate-day fasting schedule. However, there are a few different ways to do alternate-day fasting. One might seem more convenient than the other, but one is more effective if you want to see faster results. The faster you lose weight, the quicker you’ll reap the benefits of a healthier body.
What Are Some Alternate-Day Fasting Schedules?
Much like intermittent fasting, there are a couple of different variations of alternate-day fasting. The normal alternate-day fasting schedule is the one mentioned before is fasting for one day, then eating anything you want the other. However, some opt to eat as much as they want at the beginning of the week while limiting their food consumption for the rest of the week.
However, sometimes the best method is the easiest method: eating what you want every other day. The best alternate-day fasting schedule is to only eat without restrictions for a maximum of 12 hours in a 48 hour day. Those who follow this alternate-day fasting schedule lose body weight the fastest. Not only that, but this fasting schedule also allows for healthier outcomes other than the loss of body fat such as a lower risk of heart disease and lower risk of cholesterol. Lower body fat also means better blood sugar regulation, which lowers the risk of diabetes and certain cancers.
So if you’re looking for a fast and efficient way to lose weight, the alternate-day fasting schedule where you feast like a champion every other day is the best way to go. Not only will you reduce your risk of certain diseases, but it’s the schedule to follow for the fastest results. Keep in mind that you’re not stopping all consumption of food on days where you’re fasting. You are still eating, but you’re not eating as much. Try not to consume carbohydrates on those days so your body can lean on ketones for a fuel source. You don’t have to stop eating entirely for the fastest results.