The Alternate Day Diet

Can The Alternate Day Diet Work For You?

Note:  This is a review.  Click Here To Visit The Alternate Day Diet Site!

Another diet that you may not have heard of but may want to check out is The Alternate Day Diet.

The plan is the brainchild of James B. Johnson, M.D. who wrote the bestselling book “The Alternate Day Diet: Turn on Your “Skinny Gene,” Shed the Pounds, and Live a Longer and Healthier Life”.

Why is it called The Alternate Day Diet?    the alternate day diet

Calorie restriction is achieved by severely cutting calories every other day, resulting in a lower calorie diet over time.  In other words, practicing one of my favorite health habits; fasting.

This strategy is based on animal studies that demonstrate that restricting calories on alternate days can activate the “thin” gene.

Dr. Johnson tested the same hypothesis in human clinical trials and discovered that not only does this strategy help people lose weight, but it also offers a variety of health benefits.

Over the course of eight weeks, volunteers dropped an average of 8% of their body weight and reported benefits such as reduced inflammation, improved insulin resistance, and enhanced cellular energy generation.


Alternate-day dieting, according to Johnson, can help lower blood pressure, relieve arthritis, and lessen levels of potentially hazardous free radicals in the bloodstream.

That is a lot of positives in one diet.

Basics of the Alternate Day Diet

 It’s either an Up Day or a Down Day every 24 hours.

On Up Days, you can eat as much as you want, whereas on Down Days, you must limit your calories.

While you are free to eat whatever you want on Up Days, and as much as you want, you should not purposely overeat; rather, you should eat enough to feel satiated.

On Down Days, you should consume no more than 20% of your typical calorie consumption for the first two weeks of the program. During the induction period, a daily intake of 500 calories for Down Days is recommended to keep things simple.

That is NOT very many calories!

During the induction phase, meal replacement shakes are recommended as the sole source of nutrition. This is due to the fact that they are convenient and make tracking your calorie intake simple.

You basically are on a on a one-day diet. The following day is your Up Day, when you can eat as you normally would.

The Alternate Day Diet plan for the long term is less restrictive than the first two weeks. If you wish to lose weight as you progress, you can eat real food on Down Days and boost your calorie intake to up to 35 percent of your typical amount.

If you’ve already attained your goal weight, you’ll need to consume up to 60% of your daily calorie requirements to maintain your weight.

See more doctor based diet reviews.

 Foods That Are Recommended

Some of the foods that you will be eating on this plan include the following:

Fruits, vegetables, chicken, turkey, salmon, egg whites, pasta, oats, whole wheat bread, high-fiber cereal, legumes, Shirataki noodles, red wine,  and meal replacement shakes.

Is There An Exercise Requirement?

 A red flag to me is that there is no exercise included in this plan.  Now, while I believe that losing weight is 80% what you eat, I still believe very strongly that exercise should be a major lifestyle component.

Alternate Day Diet Pros

  • There are no foods that are absolutely forbidden.
  • It’s simple to follow and maintain.
  • Long-term dieting causes feelings of deprivation, which are eliminated.
  • A medical doctor wrote this plan.
  • Down Day menus are included for thirty days.
  • There are fifty recipes in total.
  • According to studies, this diet can dramatically alleviate asthma symptoms along with other physical health benefits.
  • It’s possible that it’ll boost your metabolism and help you live longer.

Alternate Day Diet Cons

  • On bad days, dieters may feel hungry and tired.
  • Those with a history of eating disorders should avoid it.
  • Does not encourage physical activity.


 I love fasting although I do 16 hour a day fasts instead of alternate days.  So, I think the science behind this plan is legitimate.  Personally, eating all meals in 8 hours is a habit and pretty easy to follow.

However, I am not sure I would want to do the alternate day fast as it might be a little tough for me.

But will The Alternate Day Diet help improve your health and assist with weight loss?




1. Johnson, J. B. (2008). The Alternate-Day Diet. Perigee Trade.

Joel Dreher MS EdS
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