Intermittent fasting: no food for thought

Intermittent fasting has been receiving a lot of attention in the dieting industry. Sometimes it’s referred to as ‘staggered calorie intake’. One specific take that’s quite popular is the 5:2 philosophy, where you are meant to eat ‘normally’ for 5 days, and then fast for 2 days. (Fasting here means eating very restricted calories.) It all falls under the umbrella of intermittent fasting.

Potential problems with ‘extreme’ intermittent fasting

Here are some potential issues that might arise when you attempt intermittent fasting. These points certainly provide some food for thought:

  • The reputed benefits of intermittent fasting might be achieved by simply evening out the calorie consumption across seven days. This is particularly pertinent to people whose ‘normal’ eating is actually over-eating.
  • The 5:2 approach might induce a binge-purge cycle. In other words, after feeling as though you have been starving yourself for two days, you recklessly overindulge as soon as the two days of fasting are up.
  • If you don’t eat enough calories for two days, your body will go into starvation mode. Your metabolism will slow down. You will lose lean muscle mass. Any extra calories you eat when you resume your ‘normal’ diet will be stored as fat.
  • Providing your body with insufficient food and nutrients for two days will place your body under stress. This causes additional cortisol to be released in your system. Over time, this will increase your body’s fat storage.
  • Some nutrients need to be consumed on a daily basis. For example, consuming insufficient calcium during intermittent fasting can lead to poor bone health and other worrying conditions.

As you can see, intermittent fasting is a debatable approach to health and weight loss. One of the arguments for the 5:2 philosophy is that it is good for body composition. Although it’s dubious that intermittent fasting in the answer, your body composition is something that you do need to pay attention to. Make sure you read my next post to find out more about this!