The DODO diet - the new approach to fasting, but is it safe?

Sick of hearing about the 5:2? We have good news for you. The DODO fasting diet claims to be more effective, without the calorie counting!

Take a seat 5:2, there's a new diet in town!

The DODO diet, or Day On Day Off diet, is all about intermittent fasting. (opens in new tab)

So far, nothing we haven't heard of before, right? But unlike the 5:2 diet (opens in new tab), which took the dieting world by storm in 2013 with its promise that by eating 500 calories a day for two days and whatever you liked for the remaining five you could still lose weight (opens in new tab), the DODO diet calls for a complete day without food.

Sounds extreme, but so are the benefits, claims nutritionist and inventor of the diet Drew Price. He suggests that the DODO diet not only delivers better results than other fasting diets, but that calorie counting can become a thing of the past with this much simpler approach to intermittent fasting. In fact, the book promises that you can expect results of up to 7lbs of weight loss in the first week and 1lb to 3lbs in subsequent weeks.

We're starting to feel a little more tempted, but fasting for a whole day sounds scary. We need a little more convincing...

How does intermittent fasting work?

It's not the first time the concept of intermittent fasting has been suggested as a successful way to lose weight. In fact, there are many ways you can use breaks in your food intake to adjust the way your body handles its energy stores (including fat). But while the 5:2 allows you to eat a limited amount of calories on your fasting day, with the DODO diet you don't eat at all for 20 to 24 hours (a little bit of good news here, this includes while you sleep too. Phew!).

Creator of the diet Drew says that many people who allow themselves a 500 calorie fast day on other diets are likely to fail because the total calories they consume on those days will gradually increase.

So how does our body know to only use up fat rather than energy we need when we fast?

'The body is able to control how it uses different energy fuels such as fats, proteins and carbohydrate,' explains Drew. 'It burns the one it has the biggest supply of which means in times of fasting it favours fat over its carbohydrate stores.

The DODO diet involves a complete fast because even if you have a few grams of carbohydrate or protein the body flicks the switch from fasting mode to feeding mode so you lose the benefits of having a break from eating.'

Ok, so how do I DODO?

The night before your fast day, you need to consider the best time to eat dinner (opens in new tab) (your pre-fast meal). This can be anytime between 7pm and 10pm.

The fasting process starts while you sleep and continues until the following evening when you eat one mid-feast meal (no later than 24 hours after your pre-fast meal). The following morning eat a special morning meal, your break-fast meal, to end the period of fasting.

What can I eat on my non-fasting days?

Drew Price says that although whilst you're following the DODO plan you could stick to your normal diet on your non-fasting days and lose fat, he's found that most people do start making better choices for these meals. He recommends 'filling the plate first with a decent handful or two of fibrous vegetables and a palm-sized lump of lean meat, fish or vegetarian protein and then adding a splash of fat like olive oil, some nuts or avocado is a good start - on the plate this can look like a stew, a salad, a grilled bit of meat and fish and some roast veg.'

'Then, if fat loss is the aim then you follow a low carb diet (opens in new tab) - reducing  them to one or two meals a day and filling up on fibrous veg instead.'

You should do no more than three fasting days per week, and always have a break in-between.

To read more about the DODO diet and for clear guidelines about what to eat for the pre-fast, mid-fast and break-fast meals, you can buy The DODO Diet (opens in new tab) by Drew Price.