The first time I heard of the Every Other Day Diet (EODD) was several years ago from a friend of mine who used this practice in order to lose weight. At the time, he was quite large; the largest I had ever known him to be. I believe the reason it appealed to him is the very reason Dr. Krista Varaday, Ph.D. designed it – for people who don’t like to diet, yet are desperate to lose weight.
The EODD diet is based on the idea that you “fast” one day, and eat whatever you want the next day – that simple!
By doing this, you don’t feel like you are a ‘dieter’ and not much discipline is required in order to lose weight. For those of you who have never heard of Dr. Krista Varaday, she is a highly accredited associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and holds a Ph.D. in the areas of Kinesiology, Nutrition and Rehabilitation Studies, Master of Science in Nutrition Science, Bachelor of Science in Nutrition Science.
Dr. Varaday’s explains: “The reasons why traditional diets don’t work are the same reasons why the Every-Other-Day Diet does work—because it does away with daily deprivation and hard-to-follow rules.”
Her Facebook page claims: “500 calories equals 12 lbs weight loss and 2 sizes less”. That is a serious claim – we know from science that the human body can “safely” lose 1-1.5 lbs of weight per week. This equates to only 4-6lbs in 4 weeks.
I am very surprised Dr. Varaday does not address the basic principles of nutrition that are widely known and firmly established by the highest authorities within the top nutritional institutions worldwide.
As a sports nutritionist what drives me crazy about diet programs is that many of them are not based on sound nutrition principles and therefore, fail in the end and the dieter ultimately ends up gaining the weight back because their metabolism is messed up.
In the nutrition world, we know that eating habits must be individually evaluated in order to establish the base rate of daily caloric consumption, which is necessary in order for our body to sustain good health and energy levels, making it easier to lose weight. Once the required number of daily calories have been determined; then you add in the macro nutrient ratios of protein, fats and carbohydrates for proper balance. It should only take an hour or so for a qualified nutritional counselor or dietician to evaluate you and provide you with this information. And, I would be not be doing my job if I didn’t add that exercise and activity is the necessary other half of the equation. Physical movement is a definite must for weight loss success.
The every other day diet plan leaves out a lot of essential information
For example, the program says “The first 10 days of the diet are pretty difficult. You may feel cranky and irritable and may be constipated. But 90% of people say that afterward they don’t crave a breakfast or dinner anymore. There is a hunger-suppressing affect that we believe is similar to what happens when you are on a low-carb diet. With this diet, the food allowance is so small with 500 calories that the carbohydrate allowance is also small. I also think people can get used to anything if they work at it”.
This is a poor explanation and the symptoms described above are more likely simply nutrient deficiencies of a lack of carbohydrates to fuel the nervous system and brain function, and constipation is from lack of fiber. The “hunger-suppressing affect” is more likely the most serious reason diets don’t work. This is a indication of your metabolism slowing down, therefore burning less calories! Eating less calories can create weight loss, however, the weight loss is only glycogen loss, water loss and muscle loss – the body fat remains!
The second day of eating allows you to eat whatever you want – this is not a responsible suggestion, one could over eat too many calories and not get the nutrients their body needs. However, Dr. Varaday does make a interesting point stating people following this approach ate less! She states that the people ate only half of their “normal” eating meals. We don’t know how many calories they were eating, so we don’t know what “half” is; again, this information lacks pertinent details. A reason they ate less could be a positive affect such as a reduction in insulin levels, which allows better regulation of blood sugar levels. Dr. Varaday states one reason they began to eat less was because of stomach shrinkage.
When it comes to nutrition, caloric restriction and/or modification is necessary for someone needing to lose weight. However, in order to do so properly, the basic nutrition principles should always be applied so that you will have sensible long-term weight loss success without the negative effects. Simply creating a sensible caloric range based on body weight and exercise activity with good ratios of protein, fats and carbohydrates will contribute to weight loss, and possibly improve physical performance!
Important Notes on Diet
– Most people should not eat less than a 1000 calories a day (men or women.) For example, a person who weighs 200lbs, but their lean body ratio is 150lbs therefore, their caloric intake should never fall below 1500 calories a day (150 x10=1500 calories/day.)
-Current Calorie Intake is 3000 calories/day (mostly carbohydrates and refined fats)
-Minimum calories needed in order lose to weight and maintain energy levels= 2500 calories/day. This person could eat as little as 2000 calories/day and still maintain good energy levels (proper ratios of macro-nutrients are 40% carbohydrates,30% protein and 30% fats) and lose weight!