Discover the surprising health benefits of alternate day fasting, research reveals
(NaturalHealth365) If you’ve ever looked into an ideal fat loss diet, you’ve probably come across research about fasting. Though it’s been around for centuries, more recent studies about fasting have caused it to become a major trend —just ask anyone who’s tried intermittent fasting, time-restricted eating or alternate day fasting.
So, you might wonder how alternate day fasting and intermittent fasting compare to each other. You may also wonder how eating every other day could actually be healthy for you!
Well, new research published in the journal Cell Metabolism is sparking a great interest in this type of fast, especially for people who either can’t tolerate or shouldn’t follow a calorie restriction diet plan.
Alternate day fasting can help you lose belly fat and boost health, says new randomized controlled trial
Alternate day fasting is pretty much exactly how it sounds: on this fat loss diet plan, you eat every other day (as a comparison, intermittent fasting is more of a general term that can describe various types of fasting regiments, including time-restricted eating where you only eat within a certain window of time – every day).
Understandably, alternate day fasting can be seen as a bit of an extreme approach to eating. One interesting feature of this fast is that on eating days, you can eat unrestricted amounts of food. This poses an interesting question for a lot of doctors and researchers.
That is: research has shown that a calorie restriction diet plan can help you lose weight and even increase your lifespan. But, indefinitely restricting calories can be unsustainable for a lot of people, and research has shown that continuous calorie restriction can lead to serious issues like malnutrition and decreased immune function.
Could something like alternate day fasting be a good alternative?
In this article’s study in question, a team of researchers randomly assigned 60 participants into two groups: one group could simply continue eating as usual. The other group practiced alternate day fasting, in which they would alternate between 36 hours of absolutely no food or calorie intake followed by 12 hours of unlimited eating.
After just four weeks (and careful monitoring from the researchers to ensure that the fasting group participants went the full 36-hour periods without any calories), the study yielded some impressive results among the people who fasted:
- Decreased markers of inflammation and age-associated disease
- Increased and sustained levels of ketone bodies, even on non-fasting days; the body produces ketones for energy in the absence of carbohydrates and calories and are linked with a variety of health benefits
- Decreased cholesterol levels
- Decreased level of a certain hormone called triiodothyronine (low triiodothyronine levels have been linked to longevity)
- Decreased belly fat – which is strongly linked with heart disease
Interestingly, even though the alternate day fasters could eat an unlimited amount of food within their 12 hour feeding windows, they ate about 35% fewer calories on average anyway.
The researchers conclude that their data “supports [alternate day fasting’s] safety” and suggest that this type of fat loss diet plan could “eventually become a clinically relevant intervention.”
Should you implement fasting into your fat loss diet plan? Here are some things to know
If you’re currently being medically supervised or have a health condition, you should talk to your doctor before trying fasting for yourself. Even if you’ve tried intermittent fasting before and are generally healthy, it’s still a good idea to check with a physician before trying a more “extreme” type of fast such as alternate-day fasting or prolonged fasts lasting 2+ days.
And let’s be clear: the message of these exciting studies on fasting isn’t that you should feel free to eat just junk food as long as it’s within your allotted feeding window!
You can choose to enjoy some treats if you want, but be sure to make the bulk of your diet full of healthy (organic) proteins, complex carbs, veggies, and fats – no matter when you eat.
To check out some more benefits of intermittent fasting, click here to watch this quick video with Jonathan Landsman.
Sources for this article include: