There is a myriad of different diets available, such as the GM diet, the Keto diet but it doesn't always work out the way we hope. Sticking to any one diet for a long period of time can be difficult, and once your cravings kick in, there's no going back. There go six weeks of dieting down the drain for one delicious but hefty fast food meal. A new study shows that Alternate Day Fasting (ADF), may be a healthier option for those looking to lose calories and eat their cake too!
Who can benefit from ADF
The study was published on August 27th, 2019 in the journal for Cell Metabolism, Clinical and Translational Report. It is important to note that the study was specifically to note the effects of ADF on increased longevity and health, and participants for the trial were non-obese persons of average health and age 30 upwards. However, Professor Frank Madeo, of the Institute of Molecular Biosciences at the University of Graz, one of the brains behind the study, believes that the ADF regimen could potentially help people suffering from obesity to lose weight.
What is ADF
Alternate Day Fasting is a form of intermittent fasting and is believed to be a far better alternative to caloric restriction. The concept of ADF essentially works to cut down your calorie intake by half. The ADF routine entails one full day of fasting followed by a day of unrestricted calorie intake. The fasting periods generally last at least 24 hours followed by a 12-hour break during which you may eat freely.
How is it Beneficial
According to numerous animal studies, ADF has been extremely beneficial for reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, extremely serious ailments.
It is also one of the most effective ways to lose weight. It is extremely helpful in reducing harmful belly fat and inflammatory markers, especially in persons suffering from obesity.
It also has the added benefit of preserving muscle mass and is easier to keep up. It significantly helps in reducing the production of the "hunger hormone" ghrelin and increasing "satiety hormones" like leptin, though exact effects can vary from person to person based on physiology and genetic disposition. Some Alternate Day Fasting regimens also allow for 500 calories of consumption on fasting days.
Now on to the study in question
The 2019 study looked into the viability of ADF as a means of caloric reduction and increased cardiovascular strength.
Most of the researchers for the study in question were from the Medical University of Graz in Austria.
A randomized controlled study was conducted, involving 60 participants. The participants were divided into two groups, one assigned the ADF Routine and the other one assigned to a control group.
The control group was given full freedom to eat without restriction. The ADF group was given a regimen of 36 hours of a no-calorie fast, during which only zero-calorie liquids can be consumed. Following the period of fasting, the ADF group was granted 12 hours of unlimited eating.
The glucose levels of the participants in the ADF group were carefully monitored and scrutinized to ensure that no calories were consumed at any point during the fasting period.
It was noted that while most of the people in the ADF group attempted to compensate for the lack of calorie intake during the fasting periods on completion of the 36-hour time frame. However, despite the attempts, not all calories could be compensated for, as an added bonus of ADF is reduced hunger hormones.
In addition to the lost calories, the trial also resulted in a reduction of soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1, which is a major element in the cause of numerous age-related diseases and inflammation.
Lower levels of triiodothyronine were also noted, which is a hormone produced by the thyroid, without affecting the thyroid function, as well as reductions in cholesterol and body fat.
Furthermore, the ADF routine resulted in an increase in ketone levels which greatly promotes liver function. This is a major health benefit on both fasting days as well as non-fasting days.
The way forward
While it can definitely be said that ADF has numerous conclusive health benefits, there is much research still underway to make sure that ADF can be a healthy permanent daily routine. Routines involving strict ADF are best maintained, according to current research, by healthy people that also regularly exercise and do endurance workouts.
However, this study offers much promise in the use of ADF for obese persons as well as people with high cholesterol and frequent inflammation