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to think this 'diet' is an eating disorder

(301 Posts)
BlackMaryJanes Fri 25-Jan-13 10:52:08

I'm dieting the old fashioned way - exercise and reducing calories to about 1800.

My friend recently told me about a diet she's thinking about doing called "The Alternative Day Diet". In this diet, you eat 400 cals one day, then you're allowed to eat whatever you like the next day, then back to 400 cals the next day, then eat whatever you like for a day, etc.

I've done some research on this seemingly popular diet. Apparently it switches on a 'skinny gene' which keeps your metabolism in top condition, burning calories. It also has other claimed health benefits such as - making you live longer (there was a Horizon documentary on the BBC backing this up). The internet is full of gleeming reviews.

But surely this pattern of eating is unsustainable and encourages disordered thinking? I feel a bit concerned for my friend. When she latches onto an idea she tends to go hardcore.

catkitson Fri 25-Jan-13 11:09:16

I can only speak from personal experience, but once I started restricting on some days, then some meals on all days, it spiralled until I was restricting what I ate all the time. Going down the path of severely restricting what you eat is not normal or healthy eating, and as I said, in my case led to an eating disorder.

BlackMaryJanes Fri 25-Jan-13 11:10:11

Oh, and it's 500 calories a day for women and 600 for men - not 400.

She said it was 400 for women and 500 for men.

specialsubject Fri 25-Jan-13 11:10:35

Michael Mosley is not promoting this for his health (or anyone else's). 'eat properly, move more' never made anyone any money.

the diet will work short term, and then the weight will go back on again.

I've never dieted and I'm not fat. I just eat normally and move about.

tell your friend that as starving like this will make her miserable and grumpy, you don't want to see her until she is back on normal eating.

VinegarTits Fri 25-Jan-13 11:11:58

you dont binge then starve, you eat normally one day, then very low calorie the next

your obviously making up your own interpretation of this diet

notMarlene Fri 25-Jan-13 11:12:22

Dunno minty. For me, the constant calorie counting required diets by leads to obsessive thoughts about reducing food intake, I'd guess that'd be less likely to happen with the 5/2 diet (no idea what it's called) and thus that a typical weight loss diet would be more likely to trigger an ED in someone who has no history of them.

mrsjay Fri 25-Jan-13 11:12:40

tbh I am iffy about any sort of crash diet or miracle diet it is denying and rewarding yourself about being 'good' and the 'bad' if you slip up I think they give people unhealthy attitudes towards food

diets do no cause eating disorders eating disorders Id assume are more complicated than being on a diet,

Winternight Fri 25-Jan-13 11:12:51

I kind of agree with you black. I've been reading about the 5:2 and it scares me.

Starting a binge gorge way of thinking about eating isn't a great idea. Imo if it becomes habit could be similar to bulimia which i used to suffer from.

I would personally Avoid.

I find that sitting down to eat, focusing on the food, avoiding snacking, being active is a better way for me. However, this might work for people short term I guess.

FlouncingMintyy Fri 25-Jan-13 11:13:05

Oh grrrrrr I do wish people wouldn't opine when they haven't even looked at the basic facts.

StephaniePowers Fri 25-Jan-13 11:13:32

I'm sure there are differing interpretations, and many MNers are following 500/600 cals for men/women - that's not the point though.

Firstly the BBC would have been really bloody daft to have allowed a programme to suggest a dangerous or unhealthy eating plan which was in itself going to mimic any kind of eating disorder. People with eating disorders will gravitate towards unhealthy eating patterns no matter what plan they are following, if they're not controlling their disorder.

Secondly you don't binge eat on other days. There's nothing more to say there.

KobayashiMaru Fri 25-Jan-13 11:14:44

"Hey, I really don't like this thing I know nothing about. I'm going to tell you why its shit, even though I haven't a clue!"


StephaniePowers Fri 25-Jan-13 11:15:01

I'm in two minds though about Michael Mosely. He's a tv producer who went to medical school a long time ago. I inherently distrust people who call themselves Dr without actually practising medicine.

catkitson Fri 25-Jan-13 11:16:05

Oh sure, because the BBC is SO moral and upstanding and cares about people and so much, it just HAS to be fine! grin

TepidCoffee Fri 25-Jan-13 11:16:18

LOVE that this thread appeared right next to the 5:2 thread on active convos when I clicked grin

YABU. Eating disorders are serious mental health problems <polishes survivor badge>

BlackMaryJanes Fri 25-Jan-13 11:16:29

YABU, are you worried she might lose more weight than you and your diet?

No, she's encouraging me to join her.

Is the book worth a read?

StephaniePowers Fri 25-Jan-13 11:17:32

Can you imagine the fall out if any of those researchers featured turn out to be Patrick-Holford style charlatans? Or if people start dropping like flies because of some unknown side-effect? I imagine the BBC went through it all with a fine tooth comb (or their lawyers did).

BlackMaryJanes Fri 25-Jan-13 11:17:53

You don't binge the next day. Don't be so fucking stupid!

That's what she said. She's going to eat McDonalds, pizzas, fudge cakes. She's under the impression that you can do this on your 'feast' days.

KirstyoffEastenders Fri 25-Jan-13 11:17:57

How can people cope with between 0 and 500 calories in a day? I'd have to lie in bed all day. No idea if it's physically 'healthy' or not but it just sounds mad.

StephaniePowers Fri 25-Jan-13 11:19:48

It's fine (so long as you're basically healthy).
We're mentally addicted to food; your body doesn't need as much as you're conditioned to think. You drink a lot on fast days - being dehydrated will make you feel dizzy/ears ringing/etc.

StephaniePowers Fri 25-Jan-13 11:20:40

BlackMaryJanes your friend's got the wrong end of the stick, not sure what you can do about that but unless she's got underlying health problems the worst that can happen is she'll just not lose weight.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 25-Jan-13 11:21:57

It is based on when we were Hunter Gathers on the day of the hunt we would bing on what had been caught on the hunt then for several days after we would just eat nuts, seeds and fruits till the next hunt. So actually is keying into our physiology much more than regular diets do.

BlackMaryJanes Fri 25-Jan-13 11:23:16

How can people cope with between 0 and 500 calories in a day? I'd have to lie in bed all day. No idea if it's physically 'healthy' or not but it just sounds mad.

That's the major thing that put me off doing this diet myself. I'm not sure how I could function as a SAHM to two toddlers.

FreePeaceSweet Fri 25-Jan-13 11:23:20

If you don't read the webchat then read this. Its not about weightloss its the other health benefits too.

Boobz Fri 25-Jan-13 11:23:41

5:2 doesn't work as well as Low carbing anyway. Get your friend on that diet / way of eating. I've lost nearly 2 stone and am now a size 6/8 on LCing. And never have to restrict to 400cals per day either.

BlackMaryJanes Fri 25-Jan-13 11:24:33

It is based on when we were Hunter Gathers on the day of the hunt we would bing on what had been caught

So you do binge?

BlackMaryJanes Fri 25-Jan-13 11:25:38

Which is best, 5:2 or alternative day?

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