Pros and Cons of the Alternate Day Diet

The Alternate Day Diet works by placing you on a low calorie restrictive diet every other day, to bring about an overall reduction in calorie intake while still letting you eat all your favorite foods. The Alternate Day Diet claims to bring about long term weight loss without forcing you to make drastic long term changes in your diet. Like every diet, the Alternate Day Diet has benefits and drawbacks. Here are some of them.

Pro: The Alternate Day Diet is Easy to Follow

The Alternate Day Diet offers a simple plan that’s easy for most dieters to follow. On the Alternate Day Diet, you’ll have Up Days and Down Days. On Up Days, you can eat as much as you like of whatever you want, but on Down Days, you’ll severely restrict your calories.

During the first two weeks, you’ll eat 500 calories a day on your Down Days, preferably meal replacement shakes since they’re easy to eat and they simplify calorie counting. After the first two weeks, you’re allowed to eat normal healthy foods, like fruits, vegetables, lean meats and low fat dairy products, on Down Days, as long as you eat no more than 35% of the calories you eat on Up Days. On Up Days, you’re allowed to eat as much as you want of anything you like.

Pro: You Only Have to Diet for One Day at a Time

One of the benefits of the Alternate Day Diet is that you don’t have to restrict calories and deprive yourself of your favorite foods over a longer period of time, as many diets require. Instead, you only have to restrict calories every other day. On alternate days, you can eat whatever you want in whatever quantities you need to feel satisfied.

Con: The Alternate Day Diet May Not Be Appropriate for Those with Eating Disorders

Anyone with a history of disordered eating should not attempt the Alternate Day Diet. The day to day changes in eating patterns can trigger a return of unhealthy behavior in those recovering from anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder.

Con: The Alternate Day Diet May Backfire

If you try the Alternate Day Diet, be careful not to overeat on Up Days. For many, the severe calorie restrictions imposed on Down Days lead to overeating on Up Days. On Up Days, eat until you’re satisfied, and then stop.

Con: Restricting Calories, Even for One Day, Can Have Unpleasant Side Effects

The severe calorie restrictions used on Down Days may cause feelings of hunger, weakness and fatigue on those days. Dieters will find that these feelings don’t occur on Up Days, when calorie intake is higher.

Con: The Alternate Day Diet Doesn’t Promote Exercise

The Alternate Day Diet doesn’t make any recommendations about regular moderate exercise. While the Alternate Day Diet can help you lose weight and may boost your metabolism, you still need regular moderate exercise to stay in good health.


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