Unable to find something to watch on Netflix the other night, I resorted to catching up on social media, not something I do often even though I have a web site. I did the Instagram thing, moved over to Facebook, got up to date with birthday messages and before I knew it, I stumbled upon this colourful, enticing ad that caught my attention big time! I had no idea what it was, it just led the way and made me answer questions which I’d normally simply bypass.

Name, age, height, weight… that’s how it started, then it moved to interests, hobbies, gym time, food likes and dislikes. The thing is it was so user friendly, fun, easy to complete and obviously addictive. Unbelievable how I got sucked into this marketing scheme but I did and before I knew it I got charged 30 euro. I had no idea what I was paying for but I paid for it. And in the end, I found out I had bought an ADF (alternate day fasting) meal plan and organiser.

Ok, I had heard about this intermittent fasting idea but now it was in front of me. Within seconds I had my own personal meal plan, schedule, recipes and grocery list right on email. Talk about life being made easy! Truth be said, I liked it! Why? It was a fresh intake on the whole diet idea and thinking about it, we fast without realising we do it a lot of the times.

Sadly, not many of us can say we’ve never counted calories. Whether it’s to curb a larger appetite, for a big occasion or before, or after, a beach holiday, controlling, counting, or cutting out, calories is supposedly one of the most straight forward ways to lose weight.

However a new trial, the biggest of its kind, has taken a deep dive into the effects of strict alternate-day fasting (ADF) in healthy people as an alternative to calorie restriction, and found that there were a plethora of health benefits.

The word ‘fasting’ is banded around a lot nowadays with lots of people trying diets, and lifestyle choices, like the 5:2 and intermittent fasting (eating within a window, normally of eight hours).

For people who do count calories this might come as a welcome relief. (ok, I don’t, I just like nibbling on my snacks and sweets until my jeans make my sides pop) Adding up calories can be time consuming, addictive, and means that we opt for foods that are lower in calorie rather than beneficial for us in terms of the nutrition they provide.

However ADF is not a miracle solution either, and there are things to be mindful of as, despite the benefits.

‘We feel that it is a good regime for some months for people to cut weight, or it might even be a useful clinical intervention in diseases driven by inflammation. However, further research is needed before it can be applied in daily practice. Additionally, we advise people not to fast if they have a viral infection, because the immune system probably requires immediate energy to fight viruses. Hence, it is important to consult a doctor before any harsh dietary regime is undertaken.’

So perhaps the old saying ‘no carbs before marbs’ is out the window in favour of ‘carbs every other day before marbs’. Not as catchy, is it?

Maria x