What To Expect With Intermittent Fasting
- You will most likely notice your stomach is grumbling during fasting periods, primarily if you are used to constant grazing throughout the day.
- Fasting may also lead to an increase in the stress hormone, cortisol, which may lead to even more food cravings.
- Overeating and binge eating are two common side effects of intermittent fasting.
- Intermittent fasting is sometimes associated with dehydration because when you do not eat, sometimes you forget to drink. For good health, it is essential to actively stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking, on average, three liters of water.
- You will most likely feel tired because your body is running on less energy than usual, and since fasting can boost stress levels, it can also disrupt your sleep patterns. It is crucial to adopt a healthy, regular sleep pattern and stick to it so you can feel rested on an everyday basis.
- The same biochemistry that regulates mood also regulates appetite with nutrient consumption affecting the activity of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. Fasting could play a role in anxiety and depression.
- Deregulating your appetite may do the same to your mood and therefore you will most likely feel irritable on occasions when you are fasting.
How Intermittent Fasting Can Affect Your Well
Megan Bruneau, a New York-based registered clinical counselor who specializes in mental health and eating disorders, echoes Kallens stance. She says that when we severely restrict our food intake, or dont eat even when were hungry, our body believes food is scarce. When this happens, not only does our metabolism slow, but our hormones can get out of whack, too. And, in extreme cases for women, periods can stop.
The hormone that regulates appetite is dramatically affected, and so that really throws off our ability to feel full and pay attention to our hunger cues, Bruneau says. Whats more, Kallen says that IF can lead to dangerous drops in blood sugar, which can make you feel dizzy or lightheaded. This can affect ones mentality and well-being, as too low blood sugar can affect concentration and cause headaches.
Potential Intermittent Fasting Side Effects
Intermittent fasting is a term people use to describe patterns of eating that include regular periods of fasting in which they consume very few or no calories (
- lower blood pressure
- reduction in markers of oxidative stress
- improved blood sugar control
These findings have led to the increased popularity of intermittent fasting regimens like:
- time-restricted feeding
- alternate-day fasting
- periodic fasting
If youre interested in trying out intermittent fasting, youre probably curious to know whether it has side effects.
The short answer: Intermittent fasting is safe for most people. However, studies have shown that intermittent fasting does have some minor side effects. Plus, its not the right choice for everyone (
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Intermittent Fasting Simplified My Eating Disorder Recovery
I spent almost every waking moment of my life thinking about food: what to eat, what not to eat, when I’d eat, feeling guilty about eating, calories in, calories out, and the list goes on. It was a sickening, never-ending cycle for me.
However, when I heard about intermittent fasting, I was intrigued. I’m not going to lie: the prospect of losing fat did appeal to me. I was perpetually bloated from binging and purging almost daily for years and I had no idea what my face truly looked like anymore. But what really appealed to me about intermittent fasting was that for 16 hours a day, I just didn’t have to think about food. If I adopted this eating paradigm, I might be able to relax.
I spoke to my doctor expecting a fight, but to my surprise, he encouraged my decision. My therapist agreed. Both of these professionals did repeat a tenant of intermittent fasting though: during the eight hours a day you eat, you have to eat all the macronutrients and micronutrients your body and brain require to be healthy.
There could be no skipping meals or snacks and no starving myself. I was going to have to learn to listen to my body and not ignore its hunger signals.
How Intermittent Fasting Affected My Eating Disorder Recovery
I want to preface what I am about to say by making it clear that intermittent fasting is absolutely not for everyone, especially not everyone trying to recover from an eating disorder. In fact, depending on the nature of your eating disorder, the act of purposely not eating for roughly 16 hours a day could be devastating to your recovery. If you’re in recovery and wondering about intermittent fasting, talk to your doctor and/or therapist first.
My experience with my eating disorder recovery and intermittent fasting is just that: my experience. I want to write about it here to show people who may be feeling suffocated by what they perceive to be limited eating paradigms for those in recovery that there are many ways to eat that can healthfully support your recovery.
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What Does Theresearch Say About If
Most of the research on intermittent fasting has onlybeen studied on animals- RATS . And, this will come as nosurprise, that the majority of studies on IF include calorie restriction, whichmost always produces short-term weight loss
There are a few studies done on men with type 2 diabetes.These studies looked primarily at indicators of health, such as glucose levels,rather than actual health outcomes, like diabetes. Many of these studies only lasteda few months. According to Howard Steiger, a professor of psychiatry at McGillUniversity: There hasnt been a long-term study establishing that intermittentfasting has good outcomes. There are only short-term improvements in markersof inflammation, reduced glucose levels and fatty liver improvements.
There have been some studies in women and the focus isalways on weight loss without reporting any detrimental changes in hormones ormental health. Theses studies are small sample sizes as well as short-termstudies, making it impossible to predict positive long-term health outcomes.
Want to turn back the clock on aging? Avoid all future health problems AND lose weight fast?
The good news is that you are already fasting!
The great news is that we still reap the metabolic benefitsfrom fasting in twelve hours. In my opinion, its just not necessary nor worthit to go to the extremes that IF requires.
The Backstory On Intermittent Fasting
IF as a weight loss approach has been around in various forms for ages, but was highly popularized in 2012 by BBC broadcast journalist Dr. Michael Mosleys TV documentary Eat Fast, Live Longer and book The Fast Diet, followed by journalist Kate Harrisons book The 5:2 Diet based on her own experience, and subsequently by Dr. Jason Fungs 2016 bestseller The Obesity Code. IF generated a steady positive buzz as anecdotes of its effectiveness proliferated.
As a lifestyle-leaning research doctor, I needed to understand the science. The Obesity Code seemed the most evidence-based summary resource, and I loved it. Fung successfully combines plenty of research, his clinical experience, and sensible nutrition advice, and also addresses the socioeconomic forces conspiring to make us fat. He is very clear that we should eat more fruits and veggies, fiber, healthy protein, and fats, and avoid sugar, refined grains, processed foods, and for Gods sake, stop snacking. Check, check, check, I agree. The only part that was still questionable in my mind was the intermittent fasting part.
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How Do You Manage And Prevent Binge Eating During Stressful Times
Higher levels of stress has consistently been link to more episodes of over-eating. Unsurprisingly, we are all more anxious and stress during this year. This can lead us to reach for high sugar, fatty foods to cope with our emotions. Some ways to help combat this include:
- Have a regular eating pattern. Regular mealtimes are more effective at developing healthy eating habits and avoiding binge-eating than intermittent fasting.
- Lean on your loved ones . Having support from your close networks helps buffer against stress and protect your mental health.
- Schedule in joy frequently. Whether that be a long walk, your favourite movie or a park workout, planning ahead for positive experiences can help add in some relaxation and happiness.
- Try to avoid distracted eating and step away from screens to enjoy your food at mealtimes.
Issues With If An Unsustainable Approach
The primary issue for most people is that this method cannot be maintained. There arent many people who are willing to forgo periods of eating, such as skipping breakfast, or stray from their normal meal times.
It can also create tension in social situations, such as meetings or events scheduled during fasting days or periods. This can snowball, moving you from a safe approach to an unhealthy relationship with food.
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If You Or Anyone You Know Needs Help With An Eating Disorder:
There is science to fasting, although its not as solid as its advocates would claim. Research has found that intermittent fasting may help weight loss, , lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, and reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.
What’s often discounted, is that these results only apply to a relatively moderate fasting cycle of around 12-36 hours nothing like the seven day water diets being pushed by some.
Added to this is the danger of triggering an eating disorder.
Juliette Thomson, a psychologist who manages the Butterfly Foundation’s national eating disorder helpline, told Hack fasting weight loss and deprivation can together cause an eating disorder.
“A person fasting is more at risk of losing weight, which we know is one of the biggest risk factors for eating disorders,” she said.
“But it’s also that the longer you don’t have food affects how your brain and body are going to respond to thoughts about food.
When you start reintroducing food that might trigger a starve-binge mentality.
This doesn’t mean all forms of intermittent fasting is dangerous to everyone. It all depends on the period of fasting as well as on the individual.
Some people have an elevated risk of developing an eating disorder, and this is down to genetic and other factors being a perfectionist increases the risk, for example.
What Do You Need To Know About Binge Eating
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How To Eat In A Way Thats Best For Your Health
Bruneau says that if someone wants to eat well or engage in healthier lifestyle habits, intuitive eating is key. Intuitive or mindful eating is when you listen to your hunger cues, stop when full, and nourish your body in the way it needs. This means that if youre really craving a piece of birthday cake, have it. When you want vegetables, enjoy them just as much.
Bruneau says extreme dieting rarely works, and people often end up putting back on the weight they lostor gaining more altogether. Intuitive eating, on the other hand, is not a short-term weight-loss solution its a way of life.
Intuitive eating is definitely at the opposite end of the spectrum, because it allows you to work with your body, not against it like intermittent fasting suggests, Kallen adds.
Is Fasting An Unhealthy Behavior
Some experts say that intermittent fasting by definition is an unhealthy eating behavior because it involves restricting how much you eat, skipping meals, and being rigid about how you eat food .
If youre narrowing the timeframe in which youre allowed to eat and completely ignoring your hunger cues outside of that timeframe, it could be an unsafe approach, especially for those in eating disorder recovery, Samantha DeCaro, Psy.D., assistant clinical director at The Renfrew Center of Philadelphia, told Livestrong .
And what many people dont realize when starting an intermittent fasting schedule is that it can also take time for their body to adjust, so the urge to overeat at the end of a fasting period can be tough to overcome. If a person gets stuck in a cycle of fasting and overeating, this can lead to a condition known as binge-eating disorder.
This is a serious condition that can make you feel like you dont have any control of how much you eat. People who struggle with binge-eating disorder often eat when they arent hungry or continue to eat even if they feel uncomfortably full. After they finish eating, they are typically overwhelmed with guilt, shame, or disgust .
Without the help of professionals, regaining control of how, when, and why you eat can be challenging once you have developed a condition such as binge-eating disorder.
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Is Intermittent Fasting Actually A Symptom Of An Eating Disorder
Contributor: Staff at Carolina House
Eating nothing for days on end may sound counterintuitive, but many people do just that in the name of better health. Known as intermittent fasting, this approach to eating has its advocates and detractors, with some asking whether this method can lead to unhealthy eating behaviors or the development of an eating disorder.
How Intermittent Fasting Triggered My Binge Eating Disorder
Its natural, no extra shakes or vitamins needed, no tracking calories, and yields flatter tummies in record time- goodbye bloating! After maintaining a 40 lb weight loss using WW for the last year and a half, I decided that mixing it up with intermittent fasting might be just the thing I needed to lose the last 5 pounds I wanted to drop. After all, I already had a balanced diet in place, as well as portion control, and regular exercise had become my norm. Maybe just limiting my eating window would surprise my metabolism and kick it back into gear. What happened next was definitely surprising, but not in the, Welcome back my old friend- size 8 jeans!! sort of way. Noooooo.
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If Glamorizes Restriction And Disordered Behavior
No matter the physical impacts of intermittent fasting, marketing severe energy restriction as a diet is dangerous. Intermittent fasting directly opposes the idea of honoring your physical hunger cues and trusting your body. Intermittent fasting now joins the laundry list of trendy diets that glamorize restriction and disordered behavior.
Want some help getting started on your journey to food freedom? Check out some of my free intuitive eating and body acceptance resources.
This article was written by Caroline Jones, UGA Dietetic student and edited by Courtney Vickery, MS, RD, LD.
Patterson RE, Laughlin GA, LaCroix AZ, et al. Intermittent Fasting and Human Metabolic Health. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015 115:1203-12. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2015.02.018
Gunnars K. Healthline. 10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting. Version current 16 August 2016. Internet: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-health-benefits-of-intermittent-fasting.
Ram R. Extrapolation of Animal Research Data to Humans: An Analysis of the Evidence. In: Animal Experimentation: Working Towards a Paradigm Change. 2019 22:341-75. doi:10.1163/9789004391192_016
Klein E. UNC Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders. Intermittent Fasting: A fast track to disordered eating? Version current 13 December 2016. Internet: https://uncexchanges.org/2016/10/26/intermittent-fasting-a-fast-track-to-disordered-eating/.
What Are Clients Actually Telling Us When They Say They Want To Try If
What are clients hoping to achieve through fasting? The idea that this rigid ritual of denying ones body of life-giving fuel somehow cleanses it and makes it well suggests something unfortunate about many of our clients relationships with food.
We know from history that wellness fads dont just go away unless something fundamental changes in our culture, IF will be replaced by something entirely different, and yet completely the same. Therefore, the focus must remain on intentionality when it comes to eating, and not on considering each variation of the same diet culture trap.
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The Difference Between A Diet And An Eating Disorder
We also need to pay attention to the effects that intermittent fasting can have on our relationship with food. Kallen says that when we see food as something we need to control, it can go from being pleasurable and nourishing to something that causes stress. In my opinion, a form of eating becomes disordered when it starts to negatively impact a persons life, either physically, emotionally, or both, Kallen explains.
She says this can come in various forms including obsessing over food, feeling guilt or shame around eating, or binge eating. Kallen says that those who partake in IF are at risk since research shows restricting food intake can cause disordered eating patterns to emerge. Furthermore, about 20 to 25 percent of dieters are at risk for developing a full-blown eating disorder, according to the National Eating Disorders Association, she adds.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder or a form of disordered eating, its important to talk to your healthcare provider. They can find you the right support.
Intermittent Fasting Can Be Hard But Maybe It Doesnt Have To Be
Initial human studies that compared fasting every other day to eating less every day showed that both worked about equally for weight loss, though people struggled with the fasting days. So, I had written off IF as no better or worse than simply eating less, only far more uncomfortable. My advice was to just stick with the sensible, , diet.
New research is suggesting that not all IF approaches are the same, and some are actually very reasonable, effective, and sustainable, especially when combined with a nutritious plant-based diet. So Im prepared to take my lumps on this one .
We have evolved to be in sync with the day/night cycle, i.e., a circadian rhythm. Our metabolism has adapted to daytime food, nighttime sleep. Nighttime eating is well associated with a higher risk of obesity, as well as .
Based on this, researchers from the University of Alabama conducted a study with a small group of obese men with prediabetes. They compared a form of intermittent fasting called “early time-restricted feeding,” where all meals were fit into an early eight-hour period of the day ,or spread out over 12 hours . Both groups maintained their weight but after five weeks, the eight-hours group had dramatically lower insulin levels and significantly improved insulin sensitivity, as well as significantly lower blood pressure. The best part? The eight-hours group also had significantly decreased appetite. They werent starving.
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