22/08/2012 11:59 BST

Alternate Day Fasting: Would You Try It? (PICTURES Extreme Diets)

We're used to reading up about barmy diets from Six Weeks To OMG which recommends ice-cold baths to the K-E diet involving a 'nose drip'.

Now the diet trend on everyone's lips is Alternate Day fasting (ADF), that not only helps weight loss but improves generl health and well-being. We can't help but wonder how it will measure up.

Don't fret it's not about completely starving yourself, but to cut down calorie intake to about 5-600 one day and eat whatever you want to following day. Then back to fasting for a day, and then to eating whatever you want. And so on and so forth.

An eight-week study on two groups of overweight patients following was carried out by Dr Krista Varady from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Perhaps surprisingly, she discovered that on the non-fasting days dieters could eat whatever they wanted and still reap rewards.

"If you were sticking to your fast days, then in terms of cardiovascular disease risk, it didn't seem to matter if you were eating a high-fat or low-fat diet on your feed (non-fast) days," she said.

Michael Moseley attempted the ADF diet on BBC's Horizon: Eat, Fast and Live Longer, but found the standard ADF diet too difficult to live by. He opted for an alternative version known as 5:2 - involving two days of fasting per week and five days of eating normally.

"I found that I could get through my fast days best if I had a light breakfast (scrambled eggs, thin slice of ham, lots of black tea, adding up to about 300 calories), lots of water and herbal tea during the day, then a light dinner (grilled fish with lots of vegetables) at night," he said. "On my feed days I ate what I normally do and felt no need to gorge.

"I stuck to this diet for 5 weeks, during which time I lost nearly a stone and my blood markers, like IGF-1, glucose and cholesterol, improved. If I can sustain that, it will greatly reduce my risk of contracting age-related diseases like cancer and diabetes."

There is no concrete evidence that the ADF diet works, research is still being carried out.

Extreme Diets...

See also:

Swedish Atkins Diet Blamed For Cholesterol Surge And Heart Disease Risk

Yo-Yo Diets Do Not Affect Long-Term Weight-Loss

The New Diet Pill That Kills Appetite Without Side Effects