So a trendy new thing I have been hearing about is Intermittent Fasting.
What is this you may ask?
Intermittent fasting is when a person does not take in food for a period of time. I have seen it done for as short as 8 hours and heard of crazy ones like 72 hours and longer. There's actually a Bariatric surgery alternative group that has a program where the person is to fast for 3-6 days. No kidding.
Below are the 12 most common side effects of intermittent fasting.
There's one that I don't mention below but should also be covered. The lack of nutrients. While short intermittent fasting may be beneficial to some, it is not for everyone. Especially it's not for those with chronic health conditions. Now get into the line of 3-6 day fasting like this group is promoting, water and only cracker with medications that need food with them plus them pushing their miracle vitamins and weight loss supplements, we are talking not only the below side effects but also nutritional issues. Your body not getting the needed carbohydrates, protein and fat, the three macronutrients, leads to energy issues and just the overall issue to be able to function. Your body needs these to survive.
(In a later blog post I will discuss what exactly goes into the 3-6 day fasting the group on Facebook does.)
Now the 12 Side Effects Of Intermittent Fasting.
1. Being Uncomfortably Full After Eating
Most of us are used to eating several meals a day. This makes it easy to consume enough food without being overly full. But with a small feeding window, you have to eat one or two big meals. These big meals can leave you feeling uncomfortable and constipated. Furthermore, eating big meals at night can reduce the quality of sleep.
Most times you’ll be very hungry when the fasting period ends. So you’ll eat a lot of food and also eat again after a few hours before you start fasting again. With IF, you have to learn to handle big meals and you should be comfortable with your stomach being stretched out for a few hours. Also note that digesting a big meal can put stress on the body.
2. Obsession With Fasting And Feeding Window
Some IF dieters obsess over when they’ll eat. They go to the extent of counting down hours and minutes to the feeding window. This leads to an obsession over food and folks start thinking about food all the time. Other dieters stop following IF dieting protocols and extend the fast period in order to lose weight faster.
Unfortunately, this leads to unhealthy weight loss and regain of weight in future. These obsessions don’t last long so the dieters eventually go back to old (unhealthy) eating habits. Surprisingly, some dieters like IF because it reduces the obsession of eating after every few hours. They prefer the simplicity of one or two meals a day.
3. Over-Reliance On Coffee
Many intermittent fasting plans allow dieters to drink coffee to control hunger and stay energized. But drinking coffee regularly can lead to addiction. And as you may know, drinking caffeine can lead to poor sleeping habits, stress, and anxiety – causing weight gain in return.
4. Hunger And Food Cravings
Hunger and cravings are usually a challenge for anyone trying to lose weight. If you can’t control hunger and curb your cravings, you won’t lose weight. Some people experience hunger pangs even when they eat six meals a day. So fasting makes their hunger much more intense. But realize it’s natural to feel hungry at the start of an IF diet and your body may get used to hunger with time.
5. Reduction In Athletic Performance
It’s okay to train moderately when fasting. But doing intense workouts like power-lifting, cross-fit, or high intensity interval training can hurt you. Research shows that athletic performance usually diminishes when fasting. In a study, Senegalese researchers tested the athletic performance of runners during Ramadhan and during non-fasting time.1
And they found that the athletic performance of the athletes reduced significantly during the month of Ramadhan. Other studies also show increase of fatigue after intense workouts when fasting.
Many people experience heartburn when practicing IF. Sometimes, the heartburn rectifies itself after 5–6 weeks, but if it doesn’t, then you should see a doctor. The heartburn happens because the body is used to your old eating pattern, so it releases acids at certain times. And when you change the eating pattern, it’ll try to stick to previous eating behaviors.
Headaches are a common occurrence during fasting. Most folks complain of mild headaches every now and then, while others experience them throughout. Drinking enough water helps relieve the headaches in some cases.
8. Negatively Affects Pregnant Women
Some studies show that fasting during pregnancy does not affect the fetus or the mother.2 But you may want to avoid IF during pregnancy. Let hunger dictate what you eat during this period. Don’t starve yourself or the fetus in the name of intermittent fasting. After all, fasting may not be beneficial during pregnancy. In fact, the intermittent fasting side effects on this list can make life harder for you during pregnancy.
9. Frequent Diarrhea
Many IF PR practitioners experience diarrhea after fasting. But how severe it is depends on how long the fast was. Longer fasting duration causes explosive diarrhea. This is caused by high fluid intake – drinking a lot of coffee and water.
10. Brain Fog
Brain fog and feeling sluggish are also common with many IF dieters. But the brain fog usually disappears after some time. In fact, some studies show that long term fasting improves brain function.
11. Negatively Affects Women’s Hormones
Some women who try Intermittent Fasting claim to experience missed periods, metabolic disturbances and early-onset menopause. Women’s reproductive hormones are highly sensitive to energy intake. So going for long hours without food affects the functionality of these hormones. Other negative effects include: adult acne and obsession over body image.
12. Low Energy
Low energy is one of the biggest concerns for folks who want to try intermittent fasting. And it’s a genuine concern. Fasting results in low energy and weakness. This can stop you from exercising or staying physically active.