Intermittent fasting (IF) is not a diet in the classic sense, but rather the strategic timing of food intake. You think about when you eat – and in which periods you deliberately do without food.
There are many different IF methods, such as the 16:8 method, where you only eat during an eight-hour window each day.
Others, however, swear by abstaining from food for 36 hours at a time, which is out of the question for adherents of “flexible fasting,” which involves simply reducing food intake.
As with all health-related decisions, intermittent fasting may be right for some while not really benefiting others.
But how do you know which group you belong to? These are the pros and cons of intermittent fasting.
If you are thinking about trying intermittent fasting, the following positive aspects of the method could convince you. If you find yourself in it, chances are that IF is for you.
It seems that with each new trend diet there are more prohibitions and rules than the previous one. One of the biggest advantages of IF is that it doesn’t contain prohibitions on what kind of food you can eat.
Intermittent fasting doesn’t change what you eat, just when. Instead of constantly counting calories, you can continue to eat what you like.
If you usually skip breakfast anyway, it might be easier to incorporate this weight loss method into your current lifestyle.
For example, the 16/8 method, which involves not eating from 8 p.m. to 12 noon, would be appropriate. For those who don’t eat breakfast, it’s a perfect way to start a habit to lose weight.
No worries for all coffee junkies: According to ‘Healthline’, black coffee, tea and water are still allowed during the fasting period.
Instead of feeling guilty about still not having lunch at 4pm, why not take the opportunity to try IF? Packed schedules work well for the 16:8 method or the occasional 24-hour fast.
If you only have a few days when you’re particularly busy, this is an ideal time to try the 5:2 method: restricting your calorie intake to around 400-600 calories on just two days per week.
An underestimated benefit of intermittent fasting is the convenience it brings. No matter what method of intermittent fasting you try, you will eat fewer meals.
This also automatically means that there are fewer dishes to clean and less time to cook.
Plus, you don’t have to worry too much about cooking new, fancy dishes while intermittent fasting.
Because you generally eat fewer meals, you only want to have your absolute favorite food on your plate anyway.
If you’ve found that you’d rather skip something than do it in moderation, then intermittent fasting might be a good fit for you.
By limiting the diet to cycles of either full fasting or eating whatever you want, it fits well with an “all or nothing” mentality.
As already mentioned, the IF method does not require you to count calories. That means less stress trying to find something to eat when you’re out with friends.
On a calorie-restricted diet, you’d end up “to blame” for the greens that others then have to eat, too.
So if you can find an eight-hour window that fits into your social commitments, IF could be a good fit for you. However, a schedule that begins fasting at 8 p.m. or even earlier may not work well.
One last benefit of intermittent fasting: if other dietary changes haven’t worked, it might be worth trying.
The concept is fundamentally different from other restrictive diets, in which entire food groups are completely taboo.
Now that so many positive things have been said about intermittent fasting, now comes the negative side. There are some people for whom the method is less suitable.
Intermittent fasting is not recommended for certain hormonal, metabolic or cardiovascular pre-existing conditions. This includes:
For your own safety, remember to always check with a doctor before making any major diet or lifestyle changes.
Everyone’s body responds to fasting differently—and some experience lightheadedness, dizziness, or other adverse effects. According to ‘Popsugar’, there are sometimes severe side effects, especially during the first few weeks.
If you want to try intermittent fasting, you should start the first attempt in a week in which you do not have to drive or operate heavy machinery. Otherwise accidents may occur that could have been avoided.
Eating in the stomach slows the absorption of alcohol, which is why many caution against drinking on an empty stomach. A doctor at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, for example, warns that this could increase the risk of alcohol poisoning.
Of course, one should always drink in moderation, but it can be particularly dangerous to drink alcohol during or immediately after fasting. If you know you’re going to be drinking heavily, you should try trying IF after you’ve partied.
Many medications can cause lightheadedness or dizziness at first, and fasting can make these and other side effects worse.
If you take medications that need to be taken daily or with meals, intermittent fasting may not be right for you.
The effectiveness of the so-called “mini-pill” for contraception can, for example, be reduced in the case of drastic dietary changes according to ‘Planned Parenthood’.
Other medications that could be affected by fasting include blood thinners, antipsychotics, antidepressants, and transplant drugs.
In addition, it is important to note that certain medications can be taken with food, including fat-soluble vitamins (A, C, and E) and other preparations that require food for absorption.
Therefore, be sure to talk to your doctor and pharmacist beforehand about how the medication can be taken safely during intermittent fasting.
In addition to the possible negative physical effects of fasting, the method also doesn’t fit well with certain lifestyles.
Those who travel frequently for work or leisure find it harder to stick to food schedules: time zone changes or work meetings over lunch and dinner are not conducive to certain fasting and eating times.
The original for this post “Intermittent Fasting: The Pros and Cons of the Weight Loss Method” comes from FitForFun.