Intermittent Fasting: Risky or Rewarding?
People have been fasting for years, primarily for religious reasons. However, there’s more than one way and reason to fast. Intermittent fasting has been gaining popularity. This eating pattern involves not eating for extended periods of time or sharply restricting your food intake. Intermittent fasting comes with potential upsides, but there are also risks. A regular, balanced diet is key for an overall healthy lifestyle. You should always talk to your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise regimen.
Several studies have proven that when intermittent fasting is done safely it can lead to weight loss. These studies are only moderate in size. The authors also suggest that further research should be done. A 2016 study focused on males who were following a resistance training program. It found that intermittent fasting resulted in significant body fat loss. Males following a regular diet did not see the same result.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to lead to weight loss in overweight or obese subjects. But it could lead to negative side effects in those who may be starting at a lower weight. A 2017 review showed that side effects range from changes in mood to low energy and even binge eating behavior.
Longevity is a potential reward of intermittent fasting. A 2014 study discovered that fasting could be a way to decrease the hormone insulin-like growth factor-1, or IGF-1. IGF-1 is linked to certain diseases like cancer and type 2 diabetes. Reducing your IGF-1 levels through fasting could potentially lower your risk of chronic diseases.
That same 2017 review turned out to be a specific risk for women. Restricting calories through intermittent fasting could interfere with the female menstrual cycle.
The bottom line
Remember, you should always talk to your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise regimen. If you’re looking to eat better but aren’t sure where to start, nutritional counseling is available via telehealth services.