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Alternate-day diet and slimming signals

We’ve already discussed the benefits that short-fasting can have on your health by reducing inflammation. This time we’ll talk about another type of fasting called the alternate-day diet and how it can help you lose weight.

Spring is already here, it’s so nice to enjoy a day outdoors. But this also indicates that summer is coming and with it the swimsuit season! So it’s normal to start worrying about losing those extra kilos we put on during Christmas or might get during the Easter holidays with all its chocolates and sweets. No wonder gyms are so crowded around this time!

The alternate-day diet is a peculiar nutritional set-up based on a highly hypocaloric day (around 600-650 calories) followed by a free day in which it is allowed to eat freely in terms of quantities.

In our clinical experience, we have applied this technique on a specific subset of patients with great results. But be careful, it has to be done properly, following some simple rules for both the hypocaloric day and the free one. They have to respect the Personal Food Profile of the person. These days meals’ have to include good quality food, and of course, keep the correct proportion of protein, carbs, and vegetables.

In the past, several doctors and nutritionists stigmatized the concept of alternate-day fasting because they observed that many patients ate all kinds of junk food without restraint on the free day. And in part they were right. The free day should be a great opportunity to have nice healthy meals, and not candies, snacks and processed foods because then, the whole point of the diet is lost and we’ll get opposite results to what we expected. Still, it has been scientifically demonstrated that if the fasting approach is correctly done, it can be helpful for many patients who want to lose fat.

If the person follows the rules for a proper alternate-day, several signals of the metabolism will be activated, in particular, one that triggers a protein called FSP27 (Fat Specific Protein) that promotes the dissolution of fat by preserving muscle mass.

So it’s not a new diet, but understanding the signals that can activate the metabolism. In other words, we now know there are specific signs, that if triggered, will allow us to enjoy a tasteful healthy meal while losing weight at the same time!

There’s another important consideration for optimal results. The hypocaloric day should not last more than 24 hours. This is because we want to activate a metabolic signal, not to install a low-calorie continuous diet, that will send a “poverty” message to the organism that eventually will produce opposite effects.

The benefits obtained by the alternate-day fasting have been documented by numerous scientific articles. It has similar effects on men and women but seems to have better results in Caucasians as this study reports. Other researches were concerned about how the alternate-day fasting could affect certain eating disorders, but they found beneficial effects in these patients.

Science is indicating new foundations that are changing our perception of weight loss, deriving into new real dietary alternatives with integrated choices. It’s our duty to keep updated and present these new options to our patients, explaining how these new scientific discoveries can help them achieve well-being and fitness state.

In conclusion, if you want to lose weight you can consult with your health provider the possibility of doing an alternate-day fasting to control your diet a couple of days during the week, always following simple rules that will help you lose some weight and feel more active.

Well, swimsuit season here we go!

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