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Book Jacket

Trade Paperback
156 pages
Feb 2006
White Swan Publishing

The QOD Diet: Eating Well Every Other Day

by John T. Daugirdas, M.D.

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt



Why a diet book from a kidney doctor? We’re in the middle of a worldwide epidemic of obesity. Obesity can lead to diabetes, and diabetes can cause heart and kidney damage. Is dieting the solution? It is difficult to diet successfully. If the body is deprived of food for several days, survival and starvation mechanisms kick in and fuel is burned more efficiently. Basically, the body learns to get by with less. So weight is lost at first, but then weight loss ceases, and ultimately, most dieters gain their weight back soon after resuming normal eating.

In the QOD diet, Dr. John Daugirdas—a kidney doctor—has applied his knowledge of physician “tricks” to develop a new kind of diet based on eating mostly every other day that tries to get  around this problem of activating starvation mode. What sort of “trick” is used? Physicians, including kidney doctors, sometimes need to suppress the immune system with steroids in order to treat diseases where the immune system has turned against the body. When steroids are given every day, they shut down production of the body’s normal stress hormones, causing a variety of side effects. One physician “trick” is to give the steroids every other day. This allows the body to rest and recover from the steroid treatments. With an every other day treatment schedule, steroid side effects are minimized.

Daugirdas adapts this physician “trick” to energy metabolism, in order to fool the body into not activating its survival-starvation mode. In his QOD diet, you diet for only a single day at a time—every other day—and these 1-day periods of reduced food intake are not long enough to activate the body’s starvation response. The body’s thermostat is not turned down so much or so quickly. As long as your average daily intake of calories remains below the body’s setpoint, you lose weight.

The question remains—Why a diet book by a kidney doctor? The kidneys control the amount of minerals, including salt, in our bodies. If we have too much salt, the kidneys get rid of it. If we have too little salt, the kidneys try to conserve it. Here comes the “salt secret”—what a kidney doctor knows, but others may not: We eat much more salt than we were designed to need. Most of us adapt to this quite well, and our kidneys pass the excess salt out in urine.

When people fast, they stop eating calories but they also stop taking in minerals, including salt. It takes the kidney several days to cut back from its “Let’s get rid of all this extra salt” mode. Plus, fasting by itself, by causing ketosis, makes the kidneys excrete more salt and water in the urine. So for the first day or two of fasting, a lot of salt and water continue to be lost in the urine, more than is good for the body. This loss of salt and water can lower the blood volume, and as a result, a person can feel weak and woozy. They think “I just can’t be without food for even half a day. I feel so washed out!”

So the “salt secret” is to keep up your intake of minerals, especially sodium, during fasting to prevent salt loss by the kidneys and volume depletion. This makes the every other day diet easy to tolerate.

Also, the QOD fast is only a partial fast—some carbs and other foods are taken in. A mild fast limits the tendency of the kidneys to lose so much salt and water.

Kidney doctors also know that you lose calcium in the urine every day, whether you eat or not, and that potassium and magnesium are good for you. So the QOD diet recommends a continuing, daily intake of calcium, potassium, and magnesium, even while dieting every other day.

Kidney doctors know, too, that very low carbohydrate diets have a dark side. When the body metabolizes most proteins, a little bit of acid is left behind. The kidneys normally put this acid out in the urine. But the more protein you take in, the more acid you put into your kidneys. The kidneys can get rid of this, but in doing so, you lose large amounts of calcium in the urine. A little bit of extra calcium lost in the urine each day, and you can wind up with osteoporosis in your old age. The high amount of meat taken in with low-carbohydrate diets may be bad for you as well. Most meats and many other protein-rich foods contain large amounts of purines, which are building blocks of DNA. Purines are broken down by the body into uric acid, and high levels of uric acid can lead to kidney stones, and there are new theories suggesting that high uric-acid levels can contribute to hypertension and cardiovascular disease1.

The QOD diet allows people to eat a healthful balance of proteins, fats and good carbs. It’s a way of dieting that can help people avoid being caught in the current epidemic of obesity, with all of its serious consequences. It’s not for patients with eating disorder tendencies, nor for patients with serious medical problems, nor for those who need to take medications for diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, or other conditions, but it is a way to help healthy people lose a moderate amount of weight and then to maintain their weight.



Chapter 1 – What is QOD?

Chapter 2 – QOD is Not for Everyone

Chapter 3 – Why Eating Every Other Day Does Work (and Why Many Diets Fail)

Chapter 4 – The Keys to QOD Success: Solid Base, Balance and Moderation

Chapter 5 – The OFF day: Using the “Salt Secret” to Keep Up Your Energy Level

Chapter 6 – The ON day: How You Should Eat (and How You Shouldn’t)

Chapter 7 – Monitoring, Problems, and Solutions

Chapter 8 – The Importance of Exercise

Chapter 9 – Clarifying the Mind and Spirit

Chapter 10 – Health and Longevity

Chapter 11 – Ten Reasons to Get Started

Chapter 12 – You’ve Reached Your Target Weight—Now What?

Afterword – Congratulations!

Appendix A– Bibliography, Footnotes, and Resources

Appendix B– QOD Snacks and Mini-meals

Appendix C– Back on QOD—a Blogger’s View





THE QOD DIET concept is simple. There are no long lists of foods to avoid and there is no need to focus on eating primarily one or two classes of food. Instead, the QOD diet alternates ON days when you eat well with OFF days, when you restrict food intake and give your body a rest. Although we refer to the OFF days as days of fasting, this is not quite accurate: You do take in a small amount of calories and relatively large amounts of certain key minerals and critical nutrients.

The great thing about the QOD diet is that it’s effective in multiple ways. You will lose weight if you have the discipline to follow the plan. And not only will it help you lose weight, you will enjoy additional benefits for your body, mind and spirit.

We’ll get into more details later in the book and I’ve also included recipes, but as an introduction, here’s how the QOD diet works:

The OFF days

On your OFF days—those alternating days when you restrict your food intake—you’ll be able to eat up to 400 calories. You will need to count your calories carefully. About half of these calories should be from juices that contain lots of sodium and potassium but that don’t contain too many calories. Tomato juice or vegetable juice is best. The remaining calories are taken in as small, 25- to 50-calorie “mini-meals” that will provide you with just enough fuel to stay energized.

You also take in at least 60 g of high-biologic value protein powder to help maintain your muscle mass and to help control hunger.

The ON days

On your ON days, you’ll be able to eat pretty much anything you want. As long as you are careful not to binge eat, to limit the size of each meal, and eat only one dessert per day, you will be able to eat as much food as you need to feel satisfied. Even if you eat a bit more than usual, your average food intake will be significantly reduced because of the small amount eaten during the OFF days.

The start of your journey

That’s the basic idea. Simple, right? It really is. The QOD diet isn’t new. Alternate-day fasting has been around for more than a thousand years in one form or another. Eating QOD not only achieves weight loss, but also may be useful in resting the body and clarifying the mind.

The hard part is developing the discipline it will take to stick with the diet. But that’s true of anything that brings long-lasting, positive results. To enjoy the benefits of this simple, effective diet, you’ll have to commit yourself and not give up. If you’re willing to dedicate yourself to following the QOD guidelines, you will achieve results. You will lose weight. And, not only will you look and feel better, but you very well may add years to your life.

What’s in the name?

QOD is an acronym representing both Latin and English words. The “Q” is for the Latin word “quaque,” which means “every.” The “O” is for the English word “other” and the “D”, well that means “day”, or as they say in Latin, “die”—Quaque Other Die—Every Other Day.