Here’s a revolutionary concept: A diet you follow every other day. You might doubt that such a part-time weight loss regimen could actually work — yet when 16 obese adults alternated days of fasting with days of unrestricted eating, they ended up losing  an average of 12 pounds. Even more encouraging, the study published in theAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that alternate day dieters lowered overall and bad cholesterol.

How it works: Monday you eat as you usually would, Tuesday you eat only lunch (aiming for roughly 25% of the calories you’d normally take in), Wednesday you eat what you want, Thursday you fast again, etc. Dieters didn’t pig out, as one might expect, when breaking fast, possibly because their stomachs had shrunk on the previous days. Alternate Day Fasting (ADF) is somewhat outside-the-box — and would not be recommended for diabetics or those with eating disorders. But for those who have a hard time sticking with boring diets, or find their metabolism hitting a plateau after extended, consistent calorie restriction, ADF might merit a try.

By and large, however, we at the Dole Nutrition Institute remain committed to a dietary approach that relies on high-water-content, nutrient-rich fruit and vegetables, which not only help you feel more full, but also help prevent the nutrient deficiencies which fuel cravings and often prompt binging. Our Dole Diet provides two weeks of meal plans that add up to roughly 100% of all the nutrients you need. Otherwise, we’re fans of Volumetrics, which lets people eat their fill of high-fiber, low-calorie produce.

Published July 1, 2010