The Alternate Day Diet Review

The Alternate Day Diet written by Dr. James B. Johnson and Dr. Donald R. Laub has an appealing name, due to the fact that it markets only having to diet half of the time. So what do you do the other half of the time? You eat whatever you want, whenever you want and are supposed to lose weight. It is said to be the original intermittent fasting diet, and is completely science based with a large focus on the SIRT1 gene also known as the “skinny gene.” This particular gene is said to help reduce inflammation, improve insulin resistance, release fat cells from troubled areas, and give you more energy long term. The program is only two steps when it is all said and done, and the reader is given over 30 low calorie recipes to follow when reading the book. The author’s claims are so large and promising that it is hard to take the book and its information all of the way serious.

eating whatever you wantThis book apparently came about through an epiphany Dr. Johnson had, and it is explained from his website like this: “Dr. Johnson's epiphany occurred as he read about a calorie restriction study at the National Institute on Aging that examined the effects of alternate-day feeding on mice. The results of this study were nothing short of remarkable. The researchers, led by Mark Mattson, discovered that even though the mice that were put on an alternate-day calorie-restricted diet were genetically engineered to gorge every other day, they lived longer, healthier lives than the mice whose calories were restricted every day.” * There is no actual support number on his website, but there is a form you can fill out to contact Dr. Johnson and his team here.

Do Dieters Lose Weight With The Alternate Day Diet?

Many dieters are mentioning that the book itself is very short, and all of the information present can be found directly on his website. The only thing you are getting from the book that the website does not provide is recipes to cook from when you are dieting. The author tries and sells the idea that you should also try and eat healthy and stay away from saturated fats on your “off days” which is going against the idea that you have to diet only half of the time. Side effects noted, have been massive lack of energy and headaches due to the switch in foods you are consuming on a daily basis.

short book“If you believe diet soda is healthy or a viable alternative, in any way, then this book preaches to your choir. The concept of “alternate day eating” is great, however within this book it ends there, with the concept. I was disappointed because I thought an MD was actually going to talk about health, what was I thinking?” Michele Cannata*

Ehleighen* said, “I heard about the Alternate Day Diet, aka Johnson Up Day Down Day Diet, a couple months ago on the internet and was excited to try it. I was so excited about the upcoming book that I preordered it 2 months in advance. I'm sorry I paid the $15. The reason I am disappointed is because there wasn't anything new in the book that I didn't already read on his website and other websites. I was hoping to get more information but didn't.” The author went on to explain in the book that you should try and eat healthy and avoid saturated fats. The book is rather contradictory in this regard, and the reviewer felt like saturated fats and some cholesterol are actually good. If you have read anything on his website regarding the information and the recipes you will not need to even purchase the book. The book itself was a letdown in this regard, and it was not something that she would ever purchase again.

 Is The Alternate Day Diet Easy To Follow?

First, I will start off by saying that the diet is a dry and more difficult read than most diet programs out on the market today. There was too much scientific garb in the book that simply processing the ideas was no easy task. Following the actual diet itself was another story as Dr. Johnson’s science was correct, but his advice was far from the science. He advocates a low-fat, high carb, low cholesterol diet on the days when you should be following an IF (intermittent fasting) plan, and we all know many of those food items are laced with chemicals and hidden sugars.

As quoted from his website, “The plan is straightforward and simple to follow: every other day you will limit your calories (Down Days), and on alternate days you will be free to eat what you would like (Up Days). After a two-week induction phase, the amount of restriction necessary on Down Days will depend upon your goals.”*

high carb foodDuring the two week induction phase you are to limit your caloric intake to no more than 500 calories on your down days, and this is where the chemical filled shakes are encouraged. By doing this for two weeks, you are apparently turning on the SIRT1 gene, which is said to hold weight loss benefits. Overall this is going to be a hard process to follow long term, as 500 calories every other day is borderline starvation half of the week.


The customers who have tried this diet out were less than impressed, and now I can see why. The idea that you are only allowed 500 calories every other day, and then you can literally eat whatever you want when you are not starving is a yoyo diet at its finest. The book was published back in 2009, and it has an outdated website to prove it. You will not find any social media sites for extra support or even a phone number to call. The platform the diet sits on has some scientific facts that are sound, but the majority of the diet is not one that I would recommend participating in for life.

*Please keep in mind that with any diet or weight loss program, individual results will vary.

Review Sources

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*Individual results will vary.