People use the phrase intermittent fasting to express eating behaviors that include frequent periods of fasting. During this period, they consume extremely few or no calories.
Many diets concentrate on what they should eat but intermittently focus on when to eat. Fasting for a specified number of hours per day or having to eat only one meal a couple of days per week can assist your body to burn fat.
A neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins claims that our organs have adapted to be able to survive off food for several hours, days, or even weeks. Prior to learning to farm, people were gatherers and hunters who evolved to cope and thrive for extended periods of time without eating. They just had to hunt games and gathering nuts and berries took a significant amount of energy and time.
Health benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting has been associated with a variety of health benefits, including:
- Weight loss,
- Reduced risk factors for heart disease,
- Reduced blood pressure,
- Enhanced insulin sensitivity,
- Reduced oxidative stress markers, and
- Enhanced blood sugar control.
These discoveries have enhanced the recognition of fasting regimes such as time-restricted eating (TRF), alternate-day fasting (ADF), and periodic fasting.
Side effects of Intermittent Fasting
- Cravings and hunger
It may come as no surprise that one of the common negative effects of intermittent fasting is hunger.
When you restrict your daily caloric intake or go for extended periods without eating, you may sense increased hunger.
According to research, hunger is a symptom that most people experience during the first few days of a fasting program.
As a result, as your body adapts to regular fasting intervals, feelings like hunger may fade.
- Lightheadedness and headaches
Intermittent is frequently associated with headaches. They are most common during the first several days of a fasting protocol.
Interestingly, researchers discovered that “fasting headaches” are frequently centered in the frontal area of the brain, with pain that is mild to moderate in severity.
They speculate that headaches during intermittent fasting may be caused by low sugar levels and caffeine abstinence.
- Digestive issues
If you practice intermittent fasting, you may encounter digestive difficulties such as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and bloating.
The reduced food intake associated with some fasting regimes may have a severe impact on your metabolism, causing constipation as well as other side effects.
Furthermore, dietary changes connected with fasting regimens may produce bloating and diarrhea.
Dehydration, another common negative effect of intermittent fasting, can aggravate constipation. Therefore, staying properly hydrated when intermittent fasting is critical.
Choosing fiber-rich, nutrient-dense foods also may help to prevent constipation.
- Irritation and other mood swings
Intermittent fasting may cause irritation and other mood changes in some people. Whenever your blood sugar is low, you may become irritated.
Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can occur during times of calorie restriction or fasting. This might cause anger, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating.
- Fatigue and a lack of energy
According to research, some people who practice various forms of intermittent fasting feel weariness and poor energy levels.
Low blood sugar generated by intermittent may cause weariness and weakness. Also, intermittent fasting may cause sleep disruptions in certain people, resulting in fatigue during the day.
However, some research suggests that intermittent fasting can actually lessen fatigue, particularly when your body adapts to regular fasting intervals.
- Bad breath
Bad breath is a nasty side effect that certain people experience while fasting intermittently. This is caused by a loss of salivary flow and an increase in acetone, mostly in breathing.
Acetone is a byproduct of fat metabolism; therefore it accumulates in your blood and breath during fasting.
Furthermore, dehydration, a sign of intermittent, can produce a dry mouth, which can lead to bad breath.
- Sleep disorders
According to some studies, sleep difficulties, such as the inability to fall or stay asleep, are some of the most common negative effects of intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting, on the other hand, has been demonstrated in research to have no effect on sleep.
In a 2021 study, 31 obese patients engaged in an intermittent fasting program while still adhering to a low-carb diet for 6 months.
The study discovered that this regimen had no effect on sleep quality, duration, or the severity of insomnia.
Malnutrition can occur if a person fasts for an extended period of time and does not refill their body with necessary nutrients.
The same is true for ill-conceived continuous energy restriction diets.
People may generally meet their calorie and nutritional needs while participating in various forms of intermittent fasting programs.
However, if you do not carefully plan or implement your fasting program over a long period of time, or if you purposely reduce calories to an extreme level, you may have bad nutrition and some other health concerns.
That is why it is critical to eat a well-balanced, nutritious meal while fasting intermittently. Never restrict your calorie intake excessively.
Individuals avoid Intermittent Fasting
Although intermittent fasting may be beneficial to some people, it is not appropriate or safe for others.
Some people may have negative side effects from intermittent fasting.
The following people should avoid intermittent, according to medical professionals:
- Women who are pregnant or nursing
- Young children and adolescents
- Elderly people who are experiencing weakness
- Immunocompromised persons
- Persons who have present or previous eating disorders
- Dementia patients
- People who have experienced severe brain damage or post-concussive syndrome.
This is not an extensive list, and there are exclusions. Fasting, for instance, has been used by medical professionals to treat epilepsy in children.
If you have a medical problem or are currently taking drugs, you should consult with a trusted healthcare provider about the advantages and risks of intermittent fasting.
Furthermore, if you encounter long-term adverse effects from intermittent, it may be a sign that it isn’t working for your body.
If intermittent is giving you discomfort and unhappiness, stop it.
Even though this manner of eating has been linked to health benefits, there are numerous other things you may do to improve your health that does not include fasting.
Adopting a healthy and balanced diet, getting sufficient sleep, participating in regular exercise, and stress management is considerably more crucial for overall health.