Intermittent fasting (IF) is a popular health and fitness trend that has recently gained a great deal of traction. This dieting technique consists of alternating periods of regular eating and extreme caloric reduction. Some studies have shown that an intermittent fasting diet helps lose weight faster than traditional diets and reduces a person’s risk of heart disease and inflammation. Yet, like any other dieting fad, there are pros and cons associated with this type of program.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a dieting program where a person cycles intervals of fasting and eating. It tends to be great for those who don’t want to restrict what they can eat and don’t mind going hours without eating.
Since many people already “fast” daily as they sleep, the method is easy to achieve by simply adding additional time to this fast. This can be done by adding more time at the end of the day or by skipping breakfast the next day.
While some intermittent fasting methods split up the week into periods of eating and fasting, other methods break up days. One of the most common options is fasting for 16-hours each day and eating within an 8-hour window.
During periods of fasting, food is not allowed, but people can drink coffee, water, tea, or other calorie-free beverages. However, some forms of this method allow specific amounts of low-calorie foods while fasting.
Intermittent Fasting Diet – Pros and Cons
Now that you know a bit more about what intermittent fasting is, let’s look at the pros and cons of this diet.
Pros of Intermittent Fasting
There is no calorie counting involved
Let’s face it, most diets are hard to follow because they involve a lot of work, such as counting calories as well as micro-and macronutrients. And the truth is that most people looking to lose weight actually prefer not having to count anything. With intermittent fasting, you don’t need to worry about this because you will only have a certain amount of time each day to eat. This means you should consume fewer calories because there aren’t as many opportunities to indulge in food.
It’s perfect for weight loss
Why do people diet? To lose weight, of course! Intermittent fasting has been found to promote weight loss better than other traditional diets. As your body gets used to eating less, it puts you more in tune with your body’s needs. This means that you will become hungry less often and it’s easier to eliminate eating during times of boredom or social pressure. And the best part is if you maintain a healthy weight, it leads to health benefits and gets you better rates for private health insurance and life insurance.
Intermittent fasting offers a host of health benefits
Many experts believe that intermittent fasting provides many more benefits than just weight loss. Here’s a look at other health benefits that may come from this form of dieting:
- Better heart health
- Glucose control
- Lower blood pressure
- Increased energy
- Enhanced mental clarity
- Healthier cells
- Less inflammation
- Longer life span
Cons of Intermittent Fasting
Severe hunger and weight gain
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that fasting can lead to severe hunger. With that being said, not only is this uncomfortable, but it can also lead to weight gain. After being in a period of starvation, many people will binge eat, leading to a caloric surplus and thus weight gain.
Intermittent fasting is not suitable for everyone
While it sounds good in theory, this form of dieting is not suitable for everyone. For example, people who have prescription medications that require a full stomach should not attempt intermittent fasting. Medication must be taken regularly and on time, and fasting can interfere when not done correctly. Furthermore, some people with diabetes need food to prevent their blood sugar from becoming too high or too low. In this instance, intermittent fasting is not recommended.
There are side effects
Feeling hungry can lead to side effects such as moodiness, headache, fatigue, and nausea. This is especially true for people who suffer from certain illnesses such as hypertension.
IF does not promote healthy eating
While dieting without food restrictions sounds excellent in theory, one great thing about some diets is that they force you to eat nutritious foods. Since intermittent fasting does not limit the types of foods you can eat, some people choose only to eat ultra-processed or junk foods during their periods of eating. This alone can lead to other health issues in the long run.
In the end, an intermittent fasting diet is perfect for some people. However, before deciding if it’s right for you, be sure to speak with your doctor or health professional. And most importantly, be sure to eat only healthy foods during your time of eating. This will not only ensure that your stomach feels satisfied for longer, but it also helps your body get all of the nutrients it needs for good health.