BOOK REVIEW | The Alternate Day Diet


Join Brian Hall of Fast Days Healing Days as he explores and reviews The Alternate Day Diet, by Dr. James B. Johnson, plastic surgeon and researcher out of LSU in Louisiana. Also known as the Johnson Up Day Down Day or JUDDD Diet for short, The Alternate Day Diet claims you can diet only half the time and lose weight and improve your health. The diet, based on SIRT1 gene activation, features a 2 week induction phase followed by an on-going weight loss phase where you determine your level of alternate day intermittent fasting.


Dr. James B. Johnson, author of The Alternate Day Diet

How would you like to diet only half the time? Dr. James B. Johnson, creator of the original Alternate Day Diet (sometimes referred to as the Johnson Up Day Down Day Diet or JUDDD Diet for short), published the first edition in 2008, after almost 5 years of research and personal JUDDD Diet experience. The Alternate Day Diet promises just that—diet half the time and lose twice the weight.

The Alternate Day Diet presupposes health benefits of alternate day, calorie restricted, intermittent fasting that are far-reaching and independent of any weight loss that happens as a result of limiting calories on alternating days to 20% of normal daily nutrition. Dr. Johnson describes the SIRT1 gene and how ADF activates SIRT1 (the repair or longevity gene), reducing inflammatory markers, reducing oxidative stress (metabolic stress) and improving such health markers like blood pressure, triglycerides, LDL levels and blood sugar.

Dr. Johnson became intrigued by Roy Walford, PhD, a researcher in the field of CRON (Calorie Restricted Optimal Nutrition) at UCLA. Walford later applied his theories about CRON in a “real-world” experience during the Biosphere II experiment that began in 1991, when he and 6 other researchers discovered they had underestimated food production capabilities within Biosphere II. By following Dr. Walford’s CRON premise, the group was able to complete the experiment and exited Biosphere II healthier (and thinner) than when they originally entered the program.

A later study in mice by Mark Mattson in 2003, further convinced Dr. Johnson that his 20/100 theory of nutrition could be a sustainable method for weight loss and health. He tried it on himself and over 200 others over the course of 5 years, experimenting with adding resveratrol, a powerful anti-oxidant. The results of this experience, became a published study on alternate day, calorie restricted nutrition and asthma; and the book, The Alternate Day Diet.


Diet only half the time with The Alternate Day Diet

The diet features a 2 week induction phase to ensure activation of SIRT1 genes. The first two weeks of JUDDD limit calories on alternate days to 500 calories taken by liquid protein supplements. Protein shakes to be exact. Johnson warns that failing to do the 2 week liquid diet induction will result in JUDDD diet failure.

This may be the only part we disagree about here at Fast Days Healing Days. We’ve experienced and observed in a group of fellow IFers (intermittent fasters), we call JUDDD Buddds, that it isn’t necessary to do the protein shake induction. Dr. Johnson says that we will fail to fully report our calories and that we won’t be able to accurately take in 500 calories a day, that we’ll take in more calories. And we simply haven’t seen this happen. As long as you have the proper tools and are mentally prepared for the hunger that occurs in the first weeks of JUDDD, it is entirely possible to activate SIRT1 genes and turn on the repair gene by taking in very low calorie, nutrient dense foods during that initial induction. We shy away from any diet doctor professing there is only one absolute way to diet success. From experience, we know there are many ways toward diet success and health (the ultimate goal), and realize it is often necessary to tweak a plan to fit the individual’s needs so that the diet plan can become a sustainable lifestyle, rather than a short-term event.

But, you do have to measure and report every bite of food or drink that contains calories in any form, on alternating days. The best way to do this is to use a digital scale and a tool such as the USDA Food Database, in addition to a calorie tracking/macronutrient tracking program like the MFP (My Fitness Pal) app. Using these tools along with the instructions on the JUDDD website about calculating BMI and JUDDD levels, you can succeed.

The Alternate Day Diet also has about 30 recipes that are very good, but only touch the surface of Fast Day (FD) recipes and cooking.

Fast Days Healing Days highly recommend The Alternate Day Diet and recognize it as one of the original diets dealing with alternate day nutrition. We are biased. DocP, Susie T. and I all follow the JUDDD version of ADF or every other day dieting. In the JUDDD version, we consume 500 calories per day on alternating Fast Days (FDs) or Down Days (DDs). We can eat these calories any time throughout the day in liquid or solid form and count all calories. On alternating days we try to eat to our Up Day (UD) or feast day levels as described on Dr. Johnson’s site as prescribed by his UD Calorie Calculator. We’ve found it a very effective means of losing weight and reducing inflammation as well as improving other health markers such as blood pressure, blood sugar and lipid profiles.

There are other forms of ADF that show very nice results. Two of the more popular plans are the 5:2 Fast Diet by Michael Mosley, MD, and the EOD or Every Other Day Diet by Krista Varady, PhD.

(Disclosure: Fast Days Healing Days purchased this book. No offers, money, nor rewards or benefits were received. No one invited or persuaded FDHD to make this review.)

Copyright © 2014 Fast Days Healing Days. All rights reserved.

Author: Brian Hall

Brian Hall, a mild-mannered, IT guru and FileMaker Pro database developer by day at, nutrition nerd and grill-o-phile by night. He likes things hot–by heat or by fire–he’s en fuego with passion for chiles and his first mistress, Sweet Lady Propane; cooking up dude-food to delight your inner Sasquatch. He’s the brains and muscle behind this joint and doesn’t mind flexing his guns or fire-starter on demand. Passionate about great steak and wine that makes you smile with pleasure, Brian can be found behind his grill on any given Sunday. Email Brian with your IT questions, FileMaker Pro Database needs, or just to chew the fat about grilling or Macs (his true love).

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