Intermittent fasting has become a trusted option for weight loss; however, not everyone is fit for this fat shedding alternative. If you are considering intermittent fasting but are not sure if you are in good shape for it, then you should read further as we enlighten you on who should avoid intermittent fasting.
At the mention of fasting, many people would immediately think about the spiritual reasons and effects of fasting. Although it is a practice common in Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism, it has been recognized as an eating pattern that can be used to lose weight.
Going without food for a period of time (Fasting) has been a practice in existence for as long as mankind itself. Ancient hunters and gatherers had no efficient means of storing food to make food available all year round for them and their family members.
So sometimes when they couldn’t find anything to eat, they would go hungry. Today modern man has learned to utilize the benefits associated with intermittent fasting.
What is intermittent fasting
Intermittent Fasting is a feeding pattern that rotates between periods of fasting and periods of eating. It does not point out which foods you should eat, but instead, it specifies when that food should be eaten.
Normal intermittent fasting methods require 16 hours fast every day or fasting for 24 hours twice a week. Intermittent fasting popularly called IF is presently one of the most common health and fitness trends in the world.
Positive effects of intermittent fasting on the body
Intermittent fasting is considered healthy; there is nothing harmful about not eating for a period of time if you are healthy and well-nourished.
It is, however, important to seek your doctor’s advice before embarking on intermittent fasting so that he will make sure you do not have any underlying health condition that might be aggravated as a result of the fasting.
When the body is deprived of food, several things happen to it both on the cellular and molecular level. The body alters hormone levels to make stored fat more available, a result of increased insulin sensitivity and reduction in the level of insulin.
An example of this alteration is an increase in the level of growth hormone for as much as five times its previous count. This increase is one of the factors that enables fat loss and promotes muscle gain.
During fasting, cellular repair processes are initiated, including autophagy, a situation where old and dysfunctional proteins being built up in the cell are digested and removed. Some of these changes are known to improve cell longevity and profer protection against diseases.
In addition, fasting causes an increase in norepinephrine a fat-burning hormone.
Who should not try intermittent fasting?
As beneficial as intermittent fasting may have been labelled, it still has its cons just like every other weight control method. For some people, it can be an effective method of weight control, but for some other people, fasting should never be considered.
Some of those people who should never consider fasting are:
Those suffering from an eating disorder
Even during eating windows, a person who is fasting is required to show discipline and restraint with meals. This can be a triggering factor for people with eating disorders such as bulimia or binge eating disorder and might cause adverse effects on their health.
Therefore, it is not advisable for people with eating disorders to fast. If there is a need for them, they should consult a healthcare professional to help deal with their disorders first.
Those who are pregnant
Carrying a baby demands a lot of energy and being on a diet will only deplete your energy levels, lower your blood sugar levels, and worse still deprive your baby of essential nutrients and calories at specific times.
While pregnant, the health and well-being of the baby and mother should be of utmost concern, and this is certainly not a good time to diet.
If you have type 1 diabetes
Although researchers suggest that some forms of dieting, including intermittent fasting, can help control diabetes, It can be quite harmful to those with acute diabetes or those people who are dependent on insulin.
Fasting for long hours can alter blood sugar levels and even lower them to extreme levels. As a result, those who are suffering from diabetes should eat nutritious meals regularly and not fast for long hours.
The same is applicable to individuals suffering from a low immunity of chronic health problems such as cancer.
Those who are training
It is normally thought that when sportsmen train for competitive sports like long-distance races, the body needs to go on a diet and reduce the intake of calories to a certain level in other to achieve a certain body weight or a certain shape.
However, intermittent fasting might not be the best way to go about it. In strenuous sports, sports requiring high endurance and strength, the body relies on proper nutrition and embarking on a diet plan such as this could be dangerous.
Other health benefits of intermittent fasting
- Weight loss: without having to consciously limit calorie intake,intermittent fasting can make you weigh less. As long as you don’t compensate by eating more during the eat time, a reduced rate of calorie intake can make one lose weight.
- Insulin resistance: with the reduction in insulin resistance,blood sugar level is reduced, and the body is protected from type 2 diabetes.
- Inflammation: inflammation, especially of vital organs in the body, are the key causes of many chronic diseases—people who fast show traces of reduction in markers of inflammation.
- Heart health: with the reduction in food intake, all risk factors for heart diseases are greatly reduced.Bad cholesterol is gotten rid of; blood triglycerides are reduced, blood sugar level and insulin resistance are limited.
- Brain health:while intermittent fasting multiplies the hormone, it also helps in the build-up of new nerve cells.
Intermittent fasting makes it easier for you to eat healthy while living a simple lifestyle. You need not go through the stress of trying to prepare a meal every time.
Other disadvantages of intermittent fasting
- It alters a woman’s menstrual cycle,causing problems like amenorrhea (absence of menstruation)
- In women, it could reduce the blood sugar level to a point where it becomes detrimental to health.
- Socially, fasting can be very limiting as you wouldn’t always be available for dinner dates or lunch hang out with friends.
- Hunger is the primary side effect of intermittent fasting, and many people get irritated when they are hungry and find it difficult to concentrate.
- Fasting triggers eating disorders in people who have tendencies to develop them in the future.
- It could also cause weakness in some people, although this condition may only be temporary as it takes the body time to adjust to new house eating habits.
Answers to frequently asked questions concerning intermittent fasting
Q1. Am I allowed to drink liquids during the fast?
It is fine to drink non-caloric beverages. Coffee, tea, and water are allowed. Sugar shouldn’t be added to the coffee; if you must add milk, it must be a very little quantity.
Q2. Is it unhealthy to skip breakfast?
If you are going to eat healthy food for the rest of the day, then it is not such a big deal. The danger lies in skipping breakfast and eating unhealthy for the rest of the day.
Q3. Can one take supplements while fasting?
Yes, it is very ok to take supplements during fasting. However, bear in mind that some supplements work better when taken in-between meals.
Q4. Are workouts encouraged while fasting?
Fasted workouts are OK, but some people are advised to take branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) before a fasted workout. As long as you are eating healthy during eating windows, workouts create even more room for a better lifestyle.
Q5. Will fasting cause muscle loss?
Muscles are lost during intermittent fasting, just like in every other weight loss methods, that is why it is important to keep your protein intake high and lift weights during fasting.
Q6. Will fasting slow down metabolism?
Contrary to this, fasting actually increases the rate of metabolism. However, metabolism begins to be suppressed if fasting continues for three or more days.
For people seeking weight loss through intermittent fasting, always endeavour to make your health top priority, losing weight shouldn’t be the only goal. Any deficiency and other health problems should first be taken into consideration.
Partaking in physical fitness activities, along with a healthy diet, is the key to maintaining a good lifestyle.