Is it possible that alternate day works better than extended fasts for Weight Loss?


While I found an old thread on this Extended Fasting vs Alternate Day Fasting - for Weight Loss?, and I listened to a Megan Ramos podcast a few months ago on this topic where she does seem to advocate ADF for weight loss, I was still surprised when it happened to me.

I seem to mainly be able to lose weight fasting, even strict keto only maintains weight. I do have a bad habit of eating most of my calories at 8PM too. Sometimes later although I am usually up past 12 anyway.

I have done extended fasts 3-5 days. In 2017 I would lose about 4 lbs on a 5 day fast and keep most but not all. More recently (after a pandemic weight gain back to near my original weight), it seems I will only lose 1lb or even nothing (after refeeding). This past summer with watching what I am eating, tracking my glucose better (not T2) to see my triggers, some EFs of 3 days or so, I have lost about 15 lbs. I have not lost much in the last month but this week I fasted for 24 hours (and prior to the fast ate much earlier than usual which helped my morning BG), then ate a little at night after the fast but not a full amount, then unintentionally fasted yesterday (actually ate about 500 calories) after being too busy to eat last night so by 10 I said forget it. I had eaten a keto cracker and some cheese before the distraction set in so was not a true fast. Much to my surprise this morning I had lost about 4 lbs since last week. I know the scale is not the absolute guide but it is pretty reliable for me.

Bottom line over the 3 or 4 days, I lost more weight ADF and eating a little and eating earlier in the day, than I would have not eating at all over those 3 or 4 days. Makes no sense to me and may just be a fluke but am wondering if anyone has had a similar experience?

(Robin) #2

As per usual, the best way to learn the answer is to experiment yourself. What works for one person might not for another.


Extremely important to watch trends when fasting, you’ll obviously lose “weight” when not eating, but what did you lose? Stomach contents? Stuff on the way out? Water? Muscle in the case of extended fasts? Was it actually fat? That’s why “weight” loss is bad term.

(David Cooke) #4

For about a week I was only eating breakfast, I was ILL. Lost 6 Kg. However when I started running again I’m pretty sure that a lot of that weight loss was muscle and not fat, I was never a big protein eater anyway.

(Allie) #5

I’ve heard good things about ADF but when I was fasting, never could stick with it. Monday was OK fasted, Weds too, but come Friday I was absolutely ravenous and couldn’t think of anything but food. Tried several times.

I stopped fasting a few years back now, after realising it was doing me more harm than good. It never resulted in any fat loss, any weight difference that showed on the scale was short lived and never lasted more than a couple of days beyond the end of the fast and fasting always made me feel awful. Never had the energised feeling some mention, just felt cold and weak. Several times I went to five days in search of the lack of hunger mentioned, never found that either.

It’s clear that fasting helps a great number of people, but from my experience it isn’t the answer for everyone and in some cases (like mine) actually does more bad than good.

I still do intermittent fasting but that’s not for fat loss, it’s just because I sleep so much better when I don’t eat in the afternoon / evening. The high protein approach I’ve been following for the last couple of years is working much better for me than any sort of deliberate restrictions ever did.


I dont think I could ever do alternate day fasting. It means doing the hardest part of fasting 3 or 4 times a week.
The overall effect would be that you half your weekly calories, but I’m not sure it would be healthy do do for a prolonged period. I think there are lost of benefits to fasting, but as i understand it, most of these benefits are attained on the 2nd day onwards.

(Allie) #7

So people say, such as the decreased hunger, increased energy, etc. but even going up to five days I never found these things, I just felt progressively colder and weaker.


I am currently half way through a 3 hour fast and I have to say, I’m struggling.


It’s obivously individual.
I never experienced increased energy but it’s the same with keto, it never gave me energy.
I never was cold (not even when starving in an unheated house in winter, that was curious :smiley: I guess it was a mental thing and it only lasted for 11 days anyway, I was fat too and I had clothes and blankets).
Decreased hunger, well, being well-fasted and in ketosis may have such an effect but nope, I get hungry again, usually pretty soon. Sometimes at 45 hour, sometimes at 110-120 (okay I had that only once) but at some point I start STARVING despite being well-fasted. Normally I only feel strong hunger soon after eating, my well-fasted hunger is cuter. Still insistent and annoying sometimes but still softer.
I never felt weaker on EF (zillion times on IF, sometimes I don’t get hungry, just weak, it means my body wants fuel already. I always eat immediately when I feel weak) but probably because I always stopped when I had any problems. I can’t force a fast, I do it when I like it or I am super determined but I still don’t do it hard…

I wish to do EF again but my body is horribly uncooperative since I lowered my carbs again.

ADF always sounded extreme to me, I couldn’t even want to try it I suppose… Not eating for days sounds more humane to someone like me :slight_smile: I actually did that before… I am obsessed with food but I quickly lose the connection with it when I don’t eat and it’s easy to continue until I get hungry. But bringing back eating and going off again… The 2 days after a meal is the hardest, I would rather do a longer fast.

(Allie) #10

You mean 3 day surely?


You read it right the first time. I just about made it.
I’m now nearly finishes with my 2nd 3hour fast if the day.


Sometimes I can’t last for 3 hours, not even 2… I pretty dislike those days… Only happens on extreme low-carb.

But for normal persons and situations, 3 isn’t that big of a challenge. 4-5, on the other hand…


With me the only problems I have on EF is the sleep disruptions. I cannot sleep in the mornings if I am fasted. Sometimes I am cold but that is at night only and I keep an extra blanket around. Strangely I am only cold sometimes and it goes away in the morning.

I am not particularly hungry the first day of a fast and I usually do not eat much until dinner anyway. A weird thing I have noticed is I feel the same whether I have eaten or not during the day. For example, I was thinking that I had only had coffee today then I remembered that I had a few pieces of chicken that someone had made at home. If anything if I have dinner I am craving something sweet around 10, if I am fasting I do not (I know BG levels).

Most of time when I am fasting I am either not hungry or feel the way you would when you are waiting for dinner. I never feel like I have not eaten in days or rarely and if I did feel that way I probably would stop. I have never gone past 5.5 days because at that point I want to be done but mostly because I miss eating rather than because I am hungry. Often when I do eat after an EF I get a feeling of disappointment that it is over

(Bob M) #14

It’s definitely individual, and changes over time even in the same individual. I found 4.5 day fasts easy at first, but they got progressively more difficult.

But if you want something that will lower your insulin, fasting is it.

I still fast 36 hours, trying for once per week, and it’s been great so far. Actually seems to cause a major decrease in hunger, which is weird. The opposite of what you’re think.