Did You Know…that following an “alternate-day diet” can turn on your “skinny gene,” and help you to not only lose weight, but also live longer and healthier?
Researchers have identified a very simple weight-loss regimen that offers outstanding health benefits, from easing asthma symptoms and reducing blood sugar levels…to preventing heart disease and breast cancer.
This diet also helps you live longer. It’s called by different names, including:
- The Alternate-Day Diet
- Intermittent Fasting
- Longevity Diet
- Up Day, Down Day Diet
Whatever the name, the fundamentals are the same. You eat very little one day—half or less of your normal recommended caloric intake—and as much as you desire the next. This way of eating appears to trigger a “skinny” gene that promotes fat loss along with significantly better health.
Dr. James Johnson, respected metabolic researcher and author of The Alternate-Day Diet, explains, “The evidence says this is about the most healthy thing you can do for yourself.”
Fewer Calories, Longer, Healthier Life
Since the 1930s, scientists have known that calorie restriction increases health and longevity. Since then, countless studies have confirmed that animals restricted to a very low calorie diet live about 30% longer and reap measurable health benefits, such as:
- Clearer arteries
- Lowered inflammation
- Reduced blood sugar
- Less damage to brain cells
- Fewer age-related diseases
Calorie restriction may also help prevent breast cancer, according to recent research from the Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention Centre in Manchester, England.
The only problem, however, is that very few people have been able or willing to deprive themselves so significantly for any extended period of time!
The “Every Other Day” Breakthrough
The big breakthrough for calorie restriction came in 2003. That’s when neuroscientist Dr. Mark Mattson discovered that rats kept to a restricted-calorie diet every other day enjoyed the same outstanding health and longevity benefits as constantly deprived rats!
This discovery meant that for the first time, the weight-loss and health rewards of calorie restriction could be enjoyed by real people, not just lab rats.
Krista Varady, assistant professor of kinesiology and nutrition at the University of Illinois, Chicago, says, “It takes about two weeks to adjust to the diet and, after that, people don’t feel hungry on the fast days.”
Varady conducted a 10-week trial of 16 obese patients who alternated a regular, healthy diet one day and followed by 20% of their recommended caloric intake the next. Participants lost 10-30 pounds, much more than the 5 or 6 pounds expected!
The Skinny Gene: Burns Fat, Lowers Blood Sugar and Inflammation, and Dramatically Improves Asthma
Scientists believe the stress of a sudden, sharp drop in food intake triggers a “skinny” gene known as SIRT1. “This then blocks another gene involved in storing fat,” explains Dr. Johnson. “The body starts using up more of the fat stores. As a result you lose more weight than you would from just eating fewer calories.”
The SIRT1 gene is also associated with lowered blood sugar and inflammation. Inflammation is linked to virtually every serious health problem and chronic condition, including aging.
Therefore, controlling inflammation is critical to slowing aging and improving health. It’s also key to helping asthma patients, who stand to reap huge health gains from alternate-day dieting.
Dr. Johnson worked with scientists from the National Institute on Aging to conduct a study of the effects of alternate-day dieting on 10 obese asthmatics. After 8 weeks, study subjects lost an average of 8% of their body weight.
In addition, they had:
- 70% less inflammation in their lungs
- 90% lower levels of damaging free radicals (linked with heart disease and cancer)
“No other dietary approach to asthma has recorded anything like that benefit,” says Dr. Johnson.
Tips To Follow
- For the first 2 weeks, Dr. Johnson says you should limit yourself to 500 calories on the “fasting” days. This will ensure that you trigger the skinny gene. Using protein shakes or other meal replacement foods might make calorie counting easier.
- After the first 2 weeks, you can achieve continued weight loss by keeping your caloric intake on fasting days to 35% or less of your recommended allowance.
- To maintain weight, you can fast at 50-60% of recommended intake.
- On alternate days, you don’t need to count calories, just eat normally. For health reasons, Dr. Johnson and others emphasize making healthy food choices such as fresh vegetables and fruit.
- Don’t binge, but do enjoy yourself so that you don’t get burnt out and abandon the diet.
- Drink lots of water and get regular exercise, especially on the non-fasting days.
- Weight fluctuates more with alternate-day eating, so weigh yourself only once a week, on the same day.