Order The Alternate-Day Diet to read recipes, menus, and strategies to help make your Down Days as easy as possible.

The Down Day

Every day on the Johnson UpDayDownDay Diet™ is either an Up Day or a Down Day. Since you are free to eat as much as you would like to on Up Days (without intentionally overeating), the Down Days are when you will do most of the "heavy lifting" on the diet. By restricting calories on Down Days, you will lose weight and you'll also activate SIRT1, a gene that has been shown to prevent disease, improve metabolism, and extend lifespan. Dr. James Johnson wrote The Alternate-Day Diet to help individuals lose weight easily and effectively. The book includes recipes, menus, and specific information and tips for Down Day success.

The Induction Phase – 2 Weeks

During the first two weeks of the diet, your Down Day calorie intake will consist of no more than 20 percent of what you would normally consume. A calorie counter is provided below so that you can figure out what your normal calorie intake and Down Day calorie intake should be. However, to simplify matters, Dr. Johnson has rounded off daily intake to 500 calories for Down Days during the induction phase.

Calorie Calculator


Although it may sound very difficult to limit yourself to such a small amount of food, this restrictive phase of the diet lasts for only 14 days. And seven of those days will be Up Days, when you are free to eat the types and amount of food that you would like to. 

In The Alternate-Day Diet, Dr. James Johnson explains why 500 calories is considered to be an ideal amount for Down Day consumption during the induction phase. He also describes several different strategies that will help you combat hunger on Down Days during this two-week period.

To help you control your calorie intake, only meal-replacement shakes (such as from Slim Fast®, Ensure®, Atkins®, Zone®, etc.) should be consumed on the seven Down Days during the induction phase. They are portable, convenient, and take the guesswork out of estimating how many calories you are consuming. Also, since your choices are greatly reduced, you don't have to worry about what you're going to eat next. And remember that you only have to diet for one day; the very next day you will be free to eat as you normally would if you weren't on a diet.

As you start the Johnson UpDayDownDay Diet™ and complete your first few Down Days, your body will begin to activate your SIRT1 gene, or "rescue" gene. This gene is activated in direct response to the mild stress that is placed on the body during periods of significant calorie restriction. Because the gene is activated and SIRT1 levels are increased so quickly, the induction phase needs to last for only two weeks. At that point, SIRT1 levels will be high enough that they need simply to be maintained. Also at this point, after being on the Johnson UpDayDownDay Diet™ for two weeks, you will begin to notice that you have increased energy and that you've lost some weight.

Long-term Maintenance

The long-term phase of the Johnson UpDayDownDay Diet™ is not nearly as restrictive as the two-week induction phase. You will be able to eat real food on Down Days, and you will also be allowed to consume up to 35 percent of your normal caloric intake if you want to continue to lose weight. If you simply want to maintain your weight, you can eat up to 50 to 60 percent of your regular calorie requirements. Many individuals on the diet often find that their appetites are greatly reduced after the induction phase and that these less restrictive levels are very easy to maintain. Over 50 healthy, low-calorie recipes are included in The Alternate-Day Diet as well as a full month's worth of Down Day menus to make following the diet even easier and more stress-free.

Read The Alternate-Day Diet For Down Day Recipes and More 

Learn more about Down Days on the Johnson UpDayDownDay Diet™ by ordering your copy of The Alternate-Day Diet today. The book includes recipes, a menu planner, and detailed strategies for successfully making it through the two-week induction phase and maintaining the diet on a long-term basis.

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