With the majority of American’s carrying a few extra pounds, there is a steady release of get-thin-quick diets being offered. Many people want a fast weight loss solution, but is it really possible?
Well, believe it or not, there is such a thing! It’s an old trend made new again thanks to recent clinical research that shows the alternate day fasting diet trend could be your answer to fast weight loss.
A Fast History Lesson
Fasting is a ritual that has been around for thousands of years. It involves eating nothing and drinking very little for a set period of time; to only eating once at a certain time of day. Fasting is often associated with ritual and spiritual ceremony in all the major religions.
In 2003 a plastic surgeon named James Johnson, MD who believed that a clinical trial involving mice in a fasting research study could help people shed weight faster began researching it for human studies. His book the Alternate-Day Diet has landed his research in medical publications like Medical Hypothesis and Free Radical Biology & Medicine and he is considered one of the foremost experts in that area of study; fasting for not only weight loss, but longevity and a decreased risk of disease.
So fasting is not new, but the questions remain:
- Is it safe?
- Will it actually help you lose weight?
In the modern world the idea of only dieting every other day may seem like an attractive option. It would stand to reason that getting through a day with no food and only water to drink in anticipation of eating whatever you want the next day would make fasting seem like a good diet plan.
But not so fast! That is not how the Alternate Day Fasting Diet (ADF diet) works. Yes, you only fast every other day, not for days and days in a row, but there is no chowing down without regard for calories on the non-fasting days. The diet calls for calorie restrictions even on the non-fasting days, and obviously, copious amounts of ice cream and fried chicken are not on the list of recommended foods while following any fasting diet plan.
So is it safe to fast? According to WebMD it is safe for a healthy adult to fast from time to time. Of course, children, women who are pregnant or nursing, diabetics or those who need food to properly metabolize certain medications should never fast. Fasting long-term, as in no food for long periods of time (days/weeks) is not good for you either. However, alternate day fasting is not considered detrimental to your health. In fact, it may improve it!
How “Fast” Weight Loss Works
The alternate-day diet plan calls for eating 25% of your nutritional needs (a small very low calorie snack like fruit) on day one; which is a fasting day. Then you eat a normal diet on day two; fast again on day three, eat regularly on day four and so on.
In a clinical study published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition participants who followed the diet did lose weight and their bodies were oxidizing fat more efficiently. They noted that hunger on fasting days did not decrease with time and recommended adding one small meal (hence the 25% on fasting days) to make it a feasible diet plan for weight loss one could stick with for an extended period of time or even over a lifetime.
The theory behind how the fasting diet works is that it activates the so-called “skinny gene” known as SIRT1. This gene then makes our metabolism more efficient and can inhibit damaging inflammation inside the body.
A fasting diet can also aid in weight loss because it teaches you to live with hunger for an extended amount of time and to have restraint by not eating at the first pangs. It develops a mental discipline you can apply to your non-fasting days to choose healthier foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein over sugary or fatty junk foods.
On the ADF diet you will also see results right away. The creator of the diet, Dr. Johnson, says he lost on average three pounds a week. At that rate you will need a belt to keep your pants up in as little as two weeks. Those kinds of results can really motivate you to stick with the plan.
So to conclude, yes there is a safe fast weight loss diet that could work for you. It involves fasting and yields pretty speedy results when you stick with it. Be sure to check with your doctor if you are taking any medications before you start, though, and plan ahead to deal with some of the problems you might encounter like:
- Extreme hunger pangs
- Those who are not supportive of your choice
Taking a walk, listening to soothing music, spending time in quiet, and asking for support from those around you can help you stick with the alternate-day diet and jump start your weight loss efforts while improving other aspects of your health as well.