Alternate day fasting is an intermittent fasting approach where one can fast on one day, and eat the food of their choice on the next day. Studies indicate that alternate day fasting is a viable dietary strategy for weight loss and protection of heart in obese adults. Usually, on fasting days, one is allowed to drink as many calorie-free beverages as they want. Additionally, they can take in about 20 to 25% of their daily calorie requirements (approximately 500 calories.)
A study published in the British Journal of Diabetes and Vascular Disease suggests that intermittent fasting can help in weight loss and improve the cardiovascular system of the body. The same study also indicates that fasting can cut down the incidence of diabetes. Another study conducted in 2014 suggests that alternate-day fasting has the same benefits as that of a restricted calorie intake diet and can help in fighting diabetes as well as cardiovascular diseases.
Alternate day fasting has long been associated with weight loss. This is because the human body is equipped with tools to cope with metabolic changes like starvation. When one does alternate day fasting, the body’s mechanism kicks up. As a result, the cells shift from using glucose as their primary fuel source to using fat stored in the cells. Because of this shift, triglycerides stored in the body are broken down and used as energy, leading to reduced fat content in the body.
According to a study, when overweight asthmatic patients were put on an alternate day fasting diet, they could stick to such a diet for longer as compared to a restricted calorie intake diet. Additionally, in these patients, the symptoms of asthma and pulmonary functions improved, and oxidative stress and inflammation declined significantly.
In a study published in 2009, 10 patients with different forms of cancer were asked to take up alternate day fasting, after undergoing chemotherapy sessions. It was noted that fasting along with chemotherapy was safe, feasible and had the potential to mitigate the side effects of chemotherapy.