Alternate-day fasting (ADF) is a new take on the subject of losing weight and an effective substitute for calorie restricting and intermittent fasting. A recent study also found a number of health benefits that accompanied weight loss from ADF.
A 4-week experiment was conducted by researchers from The Medical University of Graz, Austria, on 60 participants, who were randomly sorted into two groups: ADF group and Control group. The control participants were allowed to eat whatever they wanted, while, the ADF group participants were given 36 hours of no calorie fast, followed by 12 hours of unlimited eating.
The researchers kept tab on the daily glucose levels to ensure the participants didn’t consume calories during the fast. The team also worked with 30 people who had been on a strict ADF diet for 6 months, in order to study the long-term effects of the plan.
Everyone showed weight loss and a good overall health – the total calorie intake reduced by 35% and the participants lost around 7.7 pounds in the 4 weeks.
The diet also resulted in a number of health benefits. The ADF group participants showed a reduction in soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 levels – a marker linked with inflammation and age-related diseases.
They also showed a lower level of thyroid hormone – triiodothyronine – without a major effect on the gland’s function. According to previous researches, a lower level of the hormone is linked to a longer life span.
Furthermore, reduced cholesterol levels and an upregulation in the ketone bodies – beneficial for improving health – were also a side benefit of the diet.
According to Dr. Thomas Pieber, Director of the Endocrinology at the medical University of Graz, “The elegant thing about strict ADF is that it doesn’t require participants to count their meals and calories: They just don’t eat anything for 1 day.”
Although, previous studies have indicated long term effects of the diet may include malnutrition and an impaired immune function, researchers found no sign of immune problems in the participants who followed it for 6 months.