ADF – Week 5 Update: The Science

Hey guys! Week 5 was a muddle of different approaches because I wanted to be able to eat at my family gatherings.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, click here to read my introductory post on ADF, so you can be up to speed!

My fasting days were supposed to be Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Tues – Wed – Thurs – Fri – Sat – Sun – Mon

But, none of that matters because I definitely didn’t follow any of those rules anyways.

I had to restart today because last week basically went like this:

Tuesday – fasted
Wednesday – ate food
Thursday – fasted
Friday – family gathering
Saturday – family gathering
Sunday – family gathering
Monday – ate food

On those three days of family gatherings I definitely wanted to eat food (especially since I had to help cook it), and I didn’t want to be the oddball who wasn’t going to eat at an Easter gathering. Besides, there’s only so many days of the year when you can eat as many deviled eggs as you want, and nobody can look at you sideways for it.

They’re on my “top 10 reasons to keep living” list.

On those days, I chose to follow the OMAD diet. One Meal A Day. So I woke up, didn’t eat, went to family gatherings, ate my heart out for one sitting, and then fasted the rest of the day. It’s pretty straight-forward. You literally eat one meal a day.

I have no weight loss to report because I’m assuming I’m still sitting at 219 pounds. My scale says I’ve gained 3 pounds, but the scale doesn’t realize that I ate a lot of salt and barely drank any water. If I was to account for my water weight, there’s definitely no way I gained, but also no way to tell if I lost any.

This coming week is going to be the same fasting days as last week was supposed to be. I’ll be fasting Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Monday.

I’ve done a lot of research these past few weeks as to WHY alternate day fasting is a good idea, so let me share some of it with you. I haven’t really given any specifics in my past posts, so let me make my case for why I believe this is a great way to live your life!

First of all, a lot of these studies use the modified version of ADF (small 500 calorie meal on fasting days), so the results can be slightly skewed. But, if you’re following a true ADF then your results will be even better than what the science shows.

If you’re overweight or obese, you can lose 3-8% of your body fat as early as 2 weeks into the diet, or by 12 weeks if you start off with less weight you need to lose.

This study also shows that your inflammation and asthma can improve dramatically. A big part of what makes ADF such a powerful weight-loss tool is how your body can become “fat adapted” (we’ll get into that a little later). Here’s a quote from the study’s results:

“Levels of serum beta-hydroxybutyrate were increased and levels of leptin were decreased on CR days, indicating a shift in energy metabolism toward utilization of fatty acids and confirming compliance with the diet.”

Serum beta-hydroxybutyrate (or BHB) is a ketone, or a molecule produced by the liver when food is scarce. Your body needs to be able to function so normally you would give it food (sugar), but ketones are an alternative fuel formed from the fat cells in your body. Basically, you go awhile without eating and then your body starts to use your fat to produce ketones, so your organs don’t die. Remember in school when they told us that food is energy? It’s true, but it doesn’t always have to be your only source of energy when you’re overweight. So the study above is saying that when someone did ADF, their bodies were using ketones on their eating days, regardless of what they were eating (which is what we call being “fat adapted“).

Fat adaptation is when your body chooses to get it’s energy from fat specifically, even if glucose is available.

ADF approved!

The average weight loss between regular calorie restriction and ADF are pretty similar, but ADF is held as possibly more superior because you’re able to retain more of your muscle mass, while losing primarily fat mass. Not to mention, it’s easier to stick to. You’re much less likely to break your routine if you’re only having to watch what goes in your mouth every other day.

Compensatory hunger is basically what it sounds like. The longer you go without eating, the more hungry you are. The more hungry you are, the more likely you’re going to eat an entire buffet table. ADF doesn’t really seem to fit into that traditional way of thinking though. In fact, it turns out that by the end of week 2 you just don’t really get all that hungry anymore. According to this study, the combo of not getting very hungry and also feeling full more easily makes for a pretty effective weight loss tool.

You’ll also be happy to know that if you’ve decided to stop doing ADF and go back to regular eating or calorie restriction, you’re probably going to gain the weight back at a normal pace. We’ve all heard that when you go on “crash” diets you’ll just gain it all back right after you quit. This pretty much proves that it’s not a crash diet. It states:

“ADF is a safe and tolerable approach to weight loss. ADF produced similar changes in weight, body composition, lipids, and Si at 8 weeks and did not appear to increase risk for weight regain 24 weeks after completing the intervention.”

Here are a few other benefits:

It helps reduce insulin resistance just like any other form of intermittent fasting. I see a lot of other blogs making it seem like ADF is significantly better than the rest; however, I don’t see many studies that came to the same conclusion. Weight loss in general is good for reducing insulin resistance, and ADF isn’t very special in this area.

Don’t fall for the deceit.

This study says that it can help with your LDL components. If you need a re-cap from high school health class, the LDL is the bad cholesterol, and the HDL is the good cholesterol. You have both large and small LDL cholesterol particles. The large ones don’t really cause any problems, but the small ones can increase your risk of heart disease. ADF can increase your large particles while also decreasing your small ones. So it can effectively lower your risk of heart disease, and other heart related problems.

It can also raise your HDL (good cholesterol).

I saved the best for last. Autophagy.

Autophagy is when your body eats your body (if you wanted the most basic explanation ever). It’s like the internal cleaning crew, picking up the old junk and making space for the new cells. Here’s a list of a few things that are happening when your body is effectively cleaning itself, taken from this article from Healthline.com:

  • removing toxic proteins from the cells that are attributed to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease
  • recycling residual proteins
  • providing energy and building blocks for cells that could still benefit from repair
  • on a larger scale, it prompts regeneration and healthy cells

As we get older, this process slows down.

Efficient autophagy happens on ADF. This study worked with mice and it showed that 24-hour and 48-hour fasts put their bodies into overdrive, cleaning up the old crap they didn’t need anymore, boosting their longevity.

Autophagy also helps keep your body young.

She’s actually 36 years old.

Thank you for attending science class today! I promise it’s over for now, but hopefully you can see why I’m so excited about this.

Anyways, next week is going to be amazing. I’m ready to jump back on the wagon and get my fasting on!

Stay tuned for the next update! See you guys next Tuesday!

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