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The QOD Diet

Eating Well Every Other Day

By John T. Daugirdas, MD

Reviewed by Sylvie Greil

Doctors write the abbreviation QOD (Quaque Other Die) on prescription pads when they want patients to take their meds every other day. Daugirdas, a retired kidney specialist, wants his readers to take a break from eating normally every other day.

In theory, at least, QOD is intriguing: On “on days,” you eat whatever you want (with some restrictions), while on “off days” you limit your intake to a paltry 400 calories. With a severely calorie-reduced diet, there's chance the body will go into a starvation response mode when there’s not enough energy supplied, causing it to cling to every single calorie—with the result that you end up having trouble losing or even gaining weight. Dr. Daugirdas claims that with QOD, the time your body doesn’t receive enough calories isn’t long enough to trigger this “red alert.” “You get all the benefits of reducing calories, but you don’t cut off the fuel long enough for the alarms to go off, or to send your body into defense mode,” he writes. This way you consume less calories overall, and the pounds drop off. He does caution that the diet may not be suited for everyone, excluding folks more than 25 pounds overweight, diabetics, binge eaters, heart or kidney disease sufferers etc.

That leaves the rest of us who will have to spend half our dieting time subsisting on less than a pair of Lean Cuisines in 24 very long hours. None of this sounds particularly appealing—nor do some of Daugirdas’ suggestions seem particularly healthful. In his blog appendix he indulges in doughnuts and fritters, writing that he’s not feeling “so good,” but he’s “glad I ate the fritter. Why? Because I can!” (Note: it’s an “on day.”) There’s also a lot of talk about having no hunger pains right off the bat on QOD. The doctor is lucky, but most people will likely have a much harder time.

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