Thanks to celebrities, social media influencers, and Silicon Valley execs, who swear to the many benefits of intermittent fasting, it’s become one of the most popular diet plans today. You can hear about it from many sources; how people have lost much weight and the brain’s prowess being enhanced by it, and more. There’s also no data that point to intermittent fasting being harmful to otherwise healthy individuals. However, Sai Das, who works as an associate professor at Tufts University, Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy, adds that it is still best to remain cautious about the new trend. “We cannot say across the board that it’s safe for everyone.” Das said.
Here’s what you should know:
Intermittent Fasting Has Its Risks
This dietary plan may work out well for many people, as we all can see in the Internet, especially on social media. But it’s not best for everyone. Do reconsider if you’re on medication, for example, as doctors prescribe medicines based on regular meal schedules. For those who have health issues, it’s better to talk to your physician first. The same goes for those beyond 65 years old. It isn’t recommended, too, if you’re diabetic, or employed in a type of work that could turn out risky if one is lightheaded and easily enervated. A lot of things need to be taken into consideration beforehand. Staying hungry for 16 hours or more is not joke. It’s too risky for those who are pregnant, susceptible to eating disorders, and tend to have emotional instability for obvious reasons.
You Will Get Hungry
Intermittent fasting is by and large a sacrifice; one that needs commitment and devotion to follow through. Feeling hungry is obviously part of the process, but there are things you can do to trick your mind away from it, Yuan-Xiang Pan, a nutrition professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, says. He recommends reading books regularly, or doing things to keep your mind preoccupied. Drink coffee or tea to fill your stomach. And when it’s your schedule to have a meal, best focus on a balanced diet. Choose foods that have high fiber content to feel fuller for a longer period. Moderate healthy fats and protein.
There are two types of intermittent fasting. Alternate day fasting means doing it every other day, and this could be more difficult to endure. Others practice it on a certain time frame daily, like from noon to 8pm, limiting food intake only on a certain time window. It is advisable to find out what works best for you first before committing fully. Start slow, test yourself for a week by restricting your food intake by half or 75% and see how it goes.
Overeating is a Possibility
Researchers warn that considerable diet could naturally lead to binging. People feel deprived for hours or even a day, and when the time comes for non-fasting days they overeat, leading to weight gain. When people are used to having regular meals, snacks in between, it becomes harder to scrap out food intake for a long period. Stress levels increase, releasing the stress hormone cortisol that could lead to food cravings. To lower cortisol, it is advised to practice activities like listening to music or meditation.
Watch Out for Dehydration
There is a tendency for people to not drink fluids when they observe intermittent fasting, when it is in fact recommended to fill up our stomachs by drinking water, tea, or coffee. Always watch out that you don’t forget to drink when your main intention is not to eat when you fast. Listen to your body’s signals for thirst. Don’t get dehydrated.