Are you interested in intermittent fasting as a way to lose weight and improve your health?
In this video, I’ll go through intermittent fasting pros and cons so you can decide if this diet is right for you.
Hi, it’s Ivana, helping you get fit healthy and strong at any age.
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I’m a big believer that there are different nutrition plans that are ideal for each person. So what works for you might not work for me.
Intermittent fasting is one strategy that can help you produce a calorie deficit, and that’s how we lose weight. And I’m going to help you decide if it’s right for you.
Time Restricted Feeding
Although there are different forms of intermittent fasting, I’m going to focus primarily on the feeding window or time restricted feeding. The most common type is probably the 16:8 diet. You fast for 16 hours, and then you eat for eight hours.
So it’s fairly simple. For most people that means eating from about noon until 8:00 PM or perhaps 11 until 7:00 PM. No, I don’t actually do intermittent fasting myself and I’ll explain why when we get to the cons of IMF, but I do have some client experiences that I want to share that are relevant.
Pros Of Intermittent Fasting
Let’s start off with the pros.
And the first one is it’s simple.
Intermittent fasting allows you to lose weight without using any complicated method. You simply eat within a restricted time window. And this is really easy for most people to do. It essentially comes down to skipping breakfast. So if you’re now eating breakfast and then you skip breakfast, then that’s probably going to be intermittent fasting for you.
So here’s a simplified example:
If you continue to eat the same things at lunch and dinner, but just take out your breakfast, then you’re going to be reducing your calories and losing weight.
That’s not always how it works in practice. When people have a smaller window and they skip breakfast, they often eat a lot more calories later on. So they may end up in the same position calorie wise, or they may actually end up overeating as well.
But for many people, it does work.
Prone To Late Night Snacking?
Giving yourself a window of only eight hours to eight provides you a firm guideline. And if you’re prone to late night, snacking, then cutting off at a particular point may help you reduce your calories.
Intermittent Fasting Gives You More Time
Planning and preparing meals takes time. And if you’re skipping one meal, then you’ve got a little bit more time on your hands. Many people prefer to skip breakfast in the mornings anyway, because they don’t have an appetite or they feel rushed.
Makes You Appreciate The Meals You DO Have
It makes you appreciate the meals you do have. Sometimes when you’re eating really frequently, it becomes more of a chore than anything else. So if you’re limiting the number of meals you’re having, hopefully you’re going to appreciate those meals a little bit more.
Intermittent Fasting Helps Manage Your Blood Sugar Levels
Intermittent fasting does seem to lower blood glucose levels and increase your insulin sensitivity.
It makes sense because every time you eat, you’re getting an insulin response in your body. So if you’re eating less frequently, the insulin is not produced as often.
Now this is a strange word. “Auto” means self, and then “phagy” means to eat. Autophagy is your body’s way of clearing out dead cells. So theoretically, this could lead to a reduction in cancers and extension of your lifespan. Their research is not a hundred percent clear on this, whether it long-term fasting will do that. But that’s the idea.
Other Health Benefits?
Now it’s for the other health benefit, intermittent fasting has been shown in some studies, primarily rat studies, unfortunately, to reduce diabetes, high blood pressure, some forms of cancer, as well as neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, which really sounds great.
However, the largest systemic review of intermittent fasting conducted by the University of Sydney actually showed that most of those benefits were coming from just the weight loss that the person was obtaining.
So if you find a different way of losing weight, besides intermittent fasting, that works for you, you’re getting those health benefits through losing the weight, not from the actual process of intermittent fasting itself.
There’s also another recent study about intermittent fasting that I’m going to get to the cons of Intermittent Fasting.
So those are the main pros of intermittent fasting.
Have you done it yourself? And do you have an experience to share, please leave it in the comments below.
Cons Of Intermittent Fasting
Now we’re onto the cons.
Some People Just Don’t Like Intermittent Fasting
Missing a meal can be difficult for some people. They enjoy eating regularly. Some people wake up ravenous and really want to have breakfast side effects of intermittent fasting can include fatigue, mental fog, headaches, heartburn. So it can definitely be an unpleasant experience for some people. As I said, intermittent fasting is not right for everybody.
Intermittent Fasting Can Lead To Disordered Eating
For some people, it can lead to disordered eating.
So if you have a history of eating disorders, then intermittent fasting may cause issues for you. Some people are highly competitive and they might try to go longer and longer without eating. And that’s not really the purpose of this diet.
As with many diets, it can also lead to an unhealthy obsession with food.
Larger Meals Are NOT For Everyone
This is actually the reason why I don’t do intermittent fasting.
I suffer from GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and I try to have slightly smaller meals more frequently at the moment.
If I skip one meal in the morning, it’s harder for me to get all the nutrients that I need. I have a hard enough time getting in enough protein and enough nutrients to maintain my muscle mass. When I spread it out over the course of the day.
And if I eliminate one meal from that, I’m going to be in bigger trouble.
Difficult To Get Adequate Nutrients
This actually brings me onto my next point, which is that it’s more difficult to get adequate nutrients.
Now, of course, this is for some people and with nutrients I’m talking about not just vitamins and minerals, but the correct macro. That means the right amount of carbs, protein and fat, particularly protein.
I actually had one client who was doing intermittent fasting. And at the beginning, he had already lost weight, about 20 pounds doing Intermittent Fasting. He came to me because he was struggling. He couldn’t get any further. His goal was to get leaner and he wanted to build more muscle and he wasn’t able to get enough protein. So I actually encouraged him to go off of intermittent, fasting and throw in extra meal and add some more protein early on in a day. And that was how he was able to get leaner because macros do matter. And having enough protein in your overall diet also matters before how much you can build and maintain your muscle mass and how you’re able to manage your appetite throughout the day.
If someone does intermittent fasting and manages to get all their calories that they need, all the micronutrients and all the protein that they need throughout the day, then it will probably work for them.
Overeating And Cravings
The next con of intermittent fasting is overeating and cravings. Now, for some people, intermittent fasting helps manage overeating and cravings because they’re getting the tighter timeframe for when they’re eating.
For other people, if they miss a meal, they’re more likely to eat later on, they get really hungry. They really want more sugar. They want more tasty food and they end up overeating.
I had a client who was a new mom and she was inadvertently intermittent fasting. She was skipping breakfast because she was so busy and she was actually putting on weight because later on in the day, when she finally had some time, she would stuff herself with a lot of food, you won’t be able to maintain a calorie deficit.
Not Enough Research On Intermittent Fasting
Most of the health benefits of intermittent fasting are far from conclusive, and they seem to be tied more to the weight loss that’s achieved by using this method than from the system itself, the recent study, which actually was just September of 2020, which was a randomized clinical trial. So not a huge study, but fairly well-designed. They compared intermittent fasting, just telling people to skip breakfast compared to three meals a day. And the results are very similar to a lot of studies there. In this case, neither group lost a lot of weight and there was no difference between the groups.
I’m going to link that study HERE, If you’re interested in looking at it.
The Bottom Line
Intermittent fasting is just one system that can help you lose weight. It’s one nutritional strategy that can help reduce your calorie intake, produce a calorie deficit and lose weight. So if it doesn’t work for you, no problem. If it’s working great, you feel great, then keep going.
That’s always my point of view. Anyway, if something’s working for you, keep doing it.
If you’re interested in me reviewing other nutritional strategies, please leave a comment and I’ll be sure to do a video for you.
In general, many people have found that intermittent fasting works at the beginning, particularly if you have a lot of weight to lose. But as you get closer and closer to your target weight (and you want to build a bit more muscle or get leaner or shredded) then it becomes harder to get the right amount of nutrients in a shorter timeframe.
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I look forward to seeing you next week.