I love eating food – savoury, sweet, you name it, I enjoy eating it. Like most women though, I often feel guilty reaching for my third cereal bar of the day (they’re made of oats so they must be good for you!) or indulging in another slice of my colleague’s birthday cake. So when I heard about the Alternative Day diet, which encourages you to eat guilt free half of the week, I knew I had to give it a try.

Not really a believer in diets and the silly rules which come with them, this one seems quite straight forward.  Every other day you’re allowed to eat whatever you want (win!) and during the days in between you have to restrict what you eat to 600 calories or less (not so great). Fortunately, there is an easier version called the 5:2 diet, which is a little bit more practical and allows you (as the name implies) to eat normally 5 days a week, then for the remaining two days you eat 500 calories if you are woman, or 600 if you are a man.

As well as helping to shed a few pounds, there is mounting evidence suggesting that restricting the number of calories you eat can actually help extend your life expectancy. Without bogging you down in too much science (chances are you’ve already heard all of this on the recent episode of Panorma which looked into Alternate Day fasting), it’s all linked to a specific growth hormone called IGF-1.

It would seem that high levels of IGF-1 can lead to accelerated ageing and age-related diseases such as cancer or diabetes, while low levels are protective. And intermittent fasting can help lower the levels of IGF-1 in your body. So not only does the Alternate Day diet help you stay trim, it helps fend off old age as well… or so I have read.

While I know it’s going to be hard on my fast days, the thought of being able to eat what I like  for the rest of the week (to an extent of course – stuffing your face with McDonalds, chocolate and pastries isn’t encouraged) without having to worry about my waist line, sounds too good to be true. So in the name of research, I’m going to give it a go for four weeks and keep you all posted on how I get on…

Update one coming soon!