Alternatively eating

By Ann Griswold • Published: February 12th, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Exercise and cutting calories is the tried-and-true recipe for losing weight.

But for some people, shedding a few pounds is a matter of feast or famine.

These dieters eat as much as they want one day, then fast the next, limiting themselves to water or plain coffee or tea.

The jury is out on the healthfulness of the diet… called alternate-day fasting… but some people say it helped them lose weight.

Scientists from the University of California at Berkeley studied the effects of alternate-day fasting on twenty-four male mice for four weeks.

They also studied mice that followed the diet only partially… not completely fasting on alternate days, but instead cutting their food consumption by fifty or twenty-five percent.

The mice that completely fasted on alternate days lost some weight, but more significantly, their fat cells actually shrunk.

Likewise, fat cells shrunk in mice whose food consumption was cut in half every other day.

Accumulating evidence suggests that fat cell enlargement may be linked to a greater risk of chronic disease.

So in that respect, the idea of shrinking fat cells seems to be a good idea.

But the overall results suggest that alternate-day fasting regimens don’t result in major weight loss.

More studies in people will decide whether alternate-day fasting is at all healthful.

Until then, stick with the figurative “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

For now, saying “an apple every other day” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.