How does the alternate day fasting diet work and what can you eat? Here's everything you need to know
Easy diet, 15 strategies to lose weight naturally
The alternate-day fasting diet is a particular diet that includes a day of complete fasting (or a sharp reduction in caloric intake up to 75%) and a day of normal nutrition, during which it is possible to consume everything we want . The benefits of this diet are numerous, starting with weight loss and a decrease in appetite.
In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about intermittent fasting, a dietary regimen that prompts people to consume food only on certain days. One of the most followed variants is the diet of fasting every other day, which allows you to lose weight while enjoying all the pleasures of the table at the same time. As we have already said, the operation is very simple: during the fasting day you can totally avoid calorie intake or reduce it up to a maximum of 25%, while the next day you can eat normally.
The most common version involves the intake of about 500 calories during the fasting day, so as to make it less difficult to follow the diet, without compromising its benefits. It does not matter how the calorie intake is divided during the day: it is possible to have a single meal, for lunch or dinner, or to consume several snacks within 24 hours. Furthermore, it is allowed to drink any non-calorie beverage without any limit. Green light therefore to unsweetened water, tea and coffee.
What to eat during the fasting day? In reality, there is no rule: any food can be introduced into the diet, as long as it does not exceed 500 calories. Given the reduced calorie intake, it is however better to focus on nutritious and protein-rich foods, which help increase the sense of satiety. Vegetables are undoubtedly the most suitable choice, because they have important nutrients that ensure the proper functioning of our body and are rich in fiber, which reduces the sense of hunger.
Eggs are an important source of protein, as are lean meats: if accompanied by a good side dish, they provide the right caloric intake and make up a complete meal. Grilled fish is also an excellent option, especially if you opt for those varieties rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Instead, it is better to reduce the consumption of fruit, which generally contains a lot of sugars.
Now let's see what the benefits of the alternate day fasting diet are. Many studies have been conducted on subjects with overweight or obesity problems, to verify the effectiveness of this diet in losing weight. Evidence shows that fasting every other day helps to lose 3% to 8% of body weight in a period ranging from 2 to 12 weeks. An experiment, the results of which were published in Obesity, showed that weight loss is doubled if the diet is combined with a training plan with resistance exercises.
On the other hand, the effects of fasting every other day on the hormones that regulate appetite are contrasting. Some studies on guinea pigs have found a correlation between the adoption of this diet and a change in the levels of these hormones (in particular, an increase in the satiety hormone and a decrease in that of hunger). However, there are still no clear results on humans.
The diet also brings other important health benefits. A study published in Nutrition Reviews has shown how this diet helps to keep blood sugar levels under control, thus decreasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Further research has highlighted its protective effects for the heart: it reduces blood pressure and the level of "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.
Finally, intermittent fasting stimulates the process known as autophagy, or the degradation of old cells in favor of cell renewal. His is a key role in the prevention of numerous diseases, including heart problems, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.
This type of diet did not present particular contraindications, although it is not advisable in pregnant and lactating women. However, it is advisable to consult your doctor before adopting a diet that includes fasting days.