Exploring the Benefits and Drawbacks of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting has taken the health and fitness world by storm since it gained popularity in late 2018. It is a controversial diet that has caused much debate over whether it is conducive to a healthy lifestyle. However, despite the controversy, it is still far more popular than fad diets such as Atkins and juice cleanses. Nutritionist and Clinical Dietitian Prachi Shah and founder of Health Habitat provides insight into what the benefits, drawbacks and important things to consider are before considering intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is a type of eating strategy that involves alternating between fixed periods of eating and fasting. It has become popular for its weight loss benefits, but it is important to note that it is not a magical cure for instant weight loss. Mary Hyer, a cardiac rehabilitation dietitian at the Elfers Cardiovascular Center at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, explains that the research on intermittent fasting is promising.
Intermittent fasting is often confused with overeating, but binge eating disorder is a rare but severe condition associated with physical and psychological issues. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) recognizes binge eating disorder as its own category, defined by recurring episodes of consuming large quantities of food in a short period, followed by feelings of guilt, disgust, or lack of control.
A study published in the journal Appetite by Texas A&M University researchers found a link that surprisingly connects intermittent fasting to binge eating and other food disorders in the long run. The researchers suggest that although intermittent fasting does not appear to be a risk factor for binge-eating while actively engaging in the diet, it may have lasting effects on one’s relationship with food.
In addition to this, research conducted in China found that 47.2% of diabetics no longer had type 2 diabetes after three months of intermittent fasting. This led to the understanding that intermittent fasting can lead to diabetes remission in people with type 2 diabetes, and could have a major impact on the over 537 million adults worldwide who suffer from the disease.
Intermittent fasting also has other benefits such as reduced inflammation, lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides. It may also help with weight loss as it helps the body switch from ‘production mode’ to ‘survival mode’, burning sugar and fat stores.
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1. “Intermittent Fasting: Meaning, Benefits & Side Effects” The Quint FIT, 6 Feb. 2023, https://www.thequint.com/fit/intermittent-fasting-list-of-pros-and-cons
2. “Study finds intermittent diet may reverse type 2 diabetes; expert warns ‘over fasting’ can do more harm than good” News9 LIVE, 7 Feb. 2023, https://www.news9live.com/health/health-conditions/study-finds-intermittent-diet-may-reverse-type-2-diabetes-expert-warns-over-fasting-can-do-more-harm-than-good-au288-2046240