Pros and Cons of Intermittent Fasting
If you’re thinking about starting intermittent fasting or have heard about its benefits but aren’t sure if it’s for you, this post explains the pros and cons of intermittent fasting.
That’s why I want to share my experience and what you need to know to do intermittent fasting safely, without starving yourself or depriving your body of the nutrients it needs.
The purpose of this post is to give you a simplified version of how to do intermittent fasting safely, without depriving yourself of meals, and what its pros and cons are, not to give you medical or professional advice.
BENEFITS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING PROS
Intermittent fasting consists of intercalating hours in which you eat and hours in which you abstain from eating. One of the most common methods is to concentrate meals for 8 hours and fast for the remaining 16 . This means that you do not reduce what you eat, but that you concentrate it in a shorter period of hours.
Here are some of the benefits of practicing intermittent fasting:
- During fasting hours, the body enters a “fat burning” state, which can help with weight loss. Intermittent fasting is not a weight loss plan, but a way of organizing meals that helps maintain a healthy weight.
- Enjoy all meals. Unlike other eating plans, here you don’t have to stop eating a certain food group, you just have to respect the times you eat. That being said, a varied and balanced diet will help you stay strong and healthy.
- Cell repair. By entering a fasting state, the body has already digested and can deal with other things, such as repairing cells, getting rid of waste. This process, known as autophagy, reduces the effects of aging and there are even studies that maintain that it repairs cells damaged in certain diseases.
- More clarity and mental health. Much of the fasting time passes naturally when we sleep, but by extending that fast for a few more hours, eating breakfast later, the mind is clearer. I notice more mental clarity and am more productive before breaking the fast .
- Reduces insulin resistance. In addition, it reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Reduces inflammation. Studies have shown that intermittent fasting helps reduce inflammation in the body.
IS INTERMITTENT FASTING GOOD?
There is plenty of research on the health benefits of intermittent fasting , as well as different reasons why everyone decides to do it.
In general, people do it with the goal of losing weight. In this sense, it has been studied that intermittent fasting may be more effective than diets to lose weight.
While it can help you lose weight, it’s important to do intermittent fasting in a healthy and sustainable way so you don’t starve yourself and your body gets all the nutrients it needs.
Intermittent fasting is more about when you eat and less about what . This means that it is more important to respect meal times and fast than to avoid certain foods or reduce the amount of calories.
Therefore, incorporating it as part of a healthy lifestyle can be very beneficial for health. The hardest thing, for most people, is to start intermittent fasting.
But then, is intermittent fasting good? It is common for people to set out to limit the hours in which they eat, but also end up reducing the number of daily calories they consume.
Decreasing calorie intake is not the goal of intermittent fasting, even though many end up doing it because they skip breakfast or dinner.
The objective of intermittent fasting is to make the body, during the hours of fasting, switch from burning glycogen to burning stored fat.
Some studies have shown that fasting contributes to weight loss, once the body enters a “fat burning” state.
Yes, with intermittent fasting you can reach your goal of losing weight and improving your health while enjoying a wide variety of healthy foods, without cutting calories .
Even so, while it may help you lose weight, I encourage you to view intermittent fasting not just as a way to lose weight, but as a lifestyle change with numerous health benefits .
IS INTERMITTENT FASTING BAD?
When considering the pros and cons of intermittent fasting, it must be said that not much research has been done on its negative effects.
It is important to say that any change in our diet or lifestyle that restricts the needs of the body can become harmful.
Intermittent fasting may be harmful for some people with certain health conditions, such as low blood pressure, diabetes, low blood sugar, or other cardiovascular conditions .
For this reason, it is extremely important that you consult with your doctor before beginning intermittent fasting .
When intermittent fasting is combined with drastic changes in diet or strict diets, the body does not receive the necessary nutrients. It is important to focus on eating a variety of healthy foods rather than starving the body of food.
INTERMITTENT FASTING RISKS
Intermittent fasting does pose some risks for people with underlying health problems; especially when taking medication that must be taken early in the morning or at night and with food.
This is one of the reasons I’ve stopped intermittent fasting for a while; because my health and medication outweighed the benefits of fasting. Again: consult your doctor.
Intermittent fasting is not recommended for pregnant women, people with eating disorders, or who have struggled with eating disorders.
While intermittent fasting isn’t about what you can eat, for many, focusing on when to eat can be the trigger for a restrictive diet.
WHAT INTERMITTENT FASTING IS NOT
Intermittent fasting is not skipping breakfast, it is not a diet with “forbidden” foods, it is not going hungry or consuming fewer calories.
Intermittent fasting is giving the body enough time to focus on processes other than digestion.
In the fasted state, the body can recover from workouts, reset its hormonal cycles, and focus on all the functions it needs to do, without being distracted by the digestive process.
HOW TO DO INTERMITTENT FASTING RIGHT
Knowing what the pros and cons of intermittent fasting are, the important thing is to do it the right way . The best way to do intermittent fasting well is to choose a schedule that fits your lifestyle and won’t deprive you of the food you need.
In addition to eating a variety of foods, make sure you drink enough water to keep your body hydrated.
One of the most chosen schedules is intermittent fasting 16:8 , as it is less restrictive and it is not difficult to incorporate it into the daily routine. In this case, you fast for 16 hours and concentrate meals in 8 hours, without eliminating food or reducing calories.
According to metabolism expert Dr. Deborah Wexler, Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Diabetes Center and a tenured professor at Harvard Medical School, “There is evidence to suggest that circadian rhythm fasting, in which meals are concentrated in an 8- to 10 hours a day, it is effective”. Even so, she recommends that people “have a food routine that works for them and that they can maintain over time.”