Pros And Cons Of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a type of eating that places more emphasis on when you eat rather than what you eat.
The nice thing about this type of diet is that you can mix and match to find a method that suits you. The other good news is that intermittent fasting may help with short-term weight loss and lower the risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. However, there might also be negative aspects to it.
The most common types of IF are:
16/8: a 16-hour period of fasting and an eight-hour window for eating. So, if dinner is at 8pm, you would fast until 12 noon the following day.
18/6: fasting for 18 hours and eating within a six-hour window.
20/4: the eating window is four hours and you fast for the rest of the day. (Obviously this one will take some practice before you can reasonably manage it!).
Other types of fasting include alternate day fasting, which involves alternating between eating and fasting days, and modified fasting, which has two versions:
- Eating very little food on days when you’re fasting.
- The "5:2 fast," where you eat normally for five days in a row and then abstain from eating completely for the other two days of the week.
Water and calorie-free drinks like black coffee and tea are acceptable during a fast.
Now let’s discuss the pros and cons of intermittent fasting
- To keep track of when to eat, all you need is a watch or a calendar once you've decided which intermittent fasting method is best for you.
- It’s not necessary to count calories during intermittent fasting. Most of the time, calorie restriction and weight loss come from eliminating or limiting food at particular times of the day.
- You don’t have to figure out tricky macronutrient counts and other technical bits.
- On days or hours when you’re not fasting, you can typically eat whatever you want. Food restriction only applies during specific hours.
- For short-term weight loss, intermittent fasting seems to be effective regardless of body mass index (BMI).
- There’s been some heartening research that intermittent fasting can help those who have problems with insulin resistance or have Type 2 diabetes.
- Intermittent fasting can have some negative effects, including irritability, fatigue, heartburn, constipation, dehydration, poor sleep, headaches and anaemia.
- Most intermittent fasting plans discourage regular exercise, and you may feel too exhausted to exercise anyway.
- Enjoying social situations can be tough, especially at restaurants if you’re not within your eating period for that day.
- Your pharmacist will often advise you to take certain medications with food. As a result, it might be challenging to take medications while fasting. Consult your doctor before starting any IF programme to ensure that your fasting schedule won't affect your medication.
- Timing is more important in intermittent fasting plans than food selection. So, no foods are avoided and nutritional foods are not necessarily the focus. Adopting this diet won't guarantee that you learn how to eat a balanced, nutrient-rich diet.
- Meal size and frequency are not restricted during the "feasting" phase of many intermittent fasting methods. This might encourage you to overeat. On days when "feasting" is allowed, you may feel compelled to overeat or eat foods high in fat, calories, sodium or added sugar.
Speak to your doctor when starting an IF program. They will monitor your progress, including both benefits and concerns, to ensure that your eating style is healthy and suitable for you.