Intermittent Fasting Vs Alternate Day Fasting

Intermittent Fasting vs Alternate-day Fasting

Andrew Brewer - Intermittent Fasting Expert

Written by Andrew Brewer. Updated on March 2023.

Medically reviewed and fact checked by our team.

Intermittent Fasting Vs Alternate Day Fasting

Intermittent fasting is a type of diet and lifestyle change that helps you control when you eat rather than what you eat, and alternate-day fasting is an advanced type of it. You eat every other day, though you can be flexible if you need to eat a minimum amount of calories to get through the day, especially if you’re on medicine that requires food.

You get a lot of the same powerhouse benefits during these diets; however, the longer you fast, the more benefits you’ll see in both the long-term and the short-term. Let’s explore why so you can choose your plan.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is more than a diet. It’s a lifestyle that helps you limit your eating to certain times of the day or the week. One of the most popular intermittent fasting plans is 16/8, where you fast for 16 hours a day. This helps you get a lot of the great benefits of fasting while still eating every day. Weight loss, disease management and prevention, and improved sleep are just the beginning. Often, those who intermittent fast are able to successfully transition from medicine with just diet changes. It’s a powerful tool that can completely overhaul your life.

Benefits of Alternate-day Fasting

Alternate-day fasting is an advanced type of intermittent fasting. You’re more likely to be successful if you gradually increase your fasting windows because your body will have adapted over time. Alternate day fasting is when you eat every other day, though some iterations can include consuming 500 calories during fasts to help power through the day.

Alternate-day fasting can help improve your blood sugar levels, reduce your cholesterol, and promote heart health. You lose weight because of the calorie deficit during your fasting days, but you’ll still want to limit your eating windows to healthy, nutrient-rich foods for the best results.

What are the Differences?

Alternate-day fasting is a type of intermittent fasting, so there aren’t a lot of differences between the two. However, the benefits of fasting times will vary, so let’s explore why.

  • Weight Loss

Intermittent fasting and alternate-day fasting, and powerful weight loss tools; however, if you modify the plan to eat on your fasting days, then it will be no more effective at fostering weight loss than calorie restriction. For the best results, you want to avoid eating. If alternate day fasting is too challenging, adjust your eating window to something that works for you and your lifestyle. You will feel less restricted and set yourself up for success.  

  • Modified Fasting

The most benefits of intermittent fasting come from when you don’t eat - your body starts to heal, triggering beneficial processes that play huge roles in disease prevention and management. Alternate-day fasting allows you to eat every other day; however, there is a popular modified plan that allows you to eat up to 500 calories during your fasting days. You can still get great benefits, including lowering cholesterol

  • Autophagy

Autophagy is the most important side effect of intermittent fasting. It helps your body recycle cells, purging the dead, dying, and damaged cells and replacing them with healthy new cells. The longer you fast, the longer your body will be in autophagy. Eating anything - even some supplements - can break the process, so it’s important to maintain your fast. Modified alternate-day fasting will break autophagy, so keep that in mind.

How to Choose?

Because alternate-day fasting is a type of intermittent fasting, you don’t have to choose between the two to reap the most benefits! However, you do have to choose what fasting plan works for you and your lifestyle. If you’re considering alternate-day fasting, work up to it. Don’t just plunge in.

Andrew Brewer

Andrew Brewer

Andrew Brewer started to give people the guidance that he never received when he was first starting. His goal is to make your goals achievable and to offer you only the best fasting apps that the internet has to offer. You're not on your own - Andrew and the entire family of reviewers at are here with you every step of the way!