Today it is very trendy to talk about intermittent fasting, which promises to help us lose weight faster than traditional diets, as well as reduce inflammation and other risks of heart disease. And that is why in this article I´m going to talk about its posible benefits and pros and cons.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating style that involves restricting calorie intake for a period of time each day. It is also known as the 16: 8 diet because you fast for 16 hours and have an 8 hour window to eat.
All diets make you lose weight through the same equation: eating less food energy each day than what your body burns for normal activity. Intermittent fasting achieves this goal by severely limiting calories during certain times of the day, making it easier to achieve a calorie deficit for weight loss.
According to the Cleveland HeartLab, intermittent fasting also has benefits beyond weight loss, such as improving heart health, lowering blood pressure, and can cause something called cellular autophagy, where cells eat each other [to destroy damaged cells and make way for new, healthy ones]. It's also practical because it works with many people's lifestyles, allowing them to skip meals throughout the day when they're busy or not very hungry.
That being said, intermittent fasting isn't for everyone. Remember that each body is different, and reacts in a unique way to different eating protocols, so I recommend that you first assess whether this eating style feels good for your personality and lifestyle.
Honestly, anyone who requires a consistent, healthy intake of calories throughout the day to be physically and emotionally healthy is not the ideal candidate to try intermittent fasting, and in my experience as a nutritionist, I consider the following people should not consider intermittent fasting:
- People with diabetes or other metabolic disorders.
- People who take medicines that require food.
- Anyone with a history of eating disorders.
- Women who are pregnant or trying to conceive.
- Children and adolescents.
It's also important to mention potential downsides, side effects, and direct warnings about intermittent fasting that you should be aware of if you are currently healthy and are considering trying intermittent fasting:
1) You may feel much hungrier.
2) You may feel more fatigued.
3) Blood sugar imbalances.
4) You can become obsessive and rigid with food.
5) Your physical performance can be compromised.
6) Increase your physiological stress levels.
My final advice is that before you try any nutrition protocol, remember that your health comes first. Always focus on feeling strong, forget about restrictive diets and meal plans that make you lose weight too quickly. The most important thing is that you stop obsessing over a number on the scale and that you learn to eat healthy, sufficient and balanced as part of your lifestyle. Remember that you only have one body and the more you take care of it, love and appreciate it, the faster you will reach your goals.
Monica is a nutritionist, author, and founder of Nutrición Energética. She participates as a nutrition expert on TV and radio and her professional studies include a BS in Nutrition, and a Ms in Nutrition from Columbia University in New York. You can contact her at IG and FB: @monica.hefferan and on her website: www.monicahefferan.com