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Beliefs in intermittent fasting and eating patterns alternate between eating and fasting windows. Many medical professionals assert intermittent fasting provides health advantages, including weight reduction and enhanced brain function.


Is Intermittent Fasting Healthy?

The practice of intermittent fasting is well-liked for promoting weight reduction and general health enhancement. To reduce their weight and reclaim control over their health, many people are eager to attempt intermittent fasting. In order to make an informed choice, it is crucial to comprehend both the advantages and disadvantages of the diet. Continue reading to find out if Intermittent Fasting Is Healthy?

The basis of intermittent fasting in science

Numerous changes take place at cellular and molecular levels during fasting. The body takes three to five hours to digest food after eating. Insulin levels rise during digestion and absorption, and the body does not metabolize fat. The body enters a fasting state 4 to 6 hours after eating. Insulin levels fall after 8 to 12 hours without eating, and we convert fat to energy.

Intermittent fasting also causes other hormonal changes. For instance, human growth hormone levels rise by as much as 5 times to promote muscular growth and fat reduction. Up until stored fat is digested, sensitivity to this growth hormone increases and only gradually declines. Low insulin levels also make it easier to metabolize fat reserves during this period (1).

Additionally, intermittent fasting allows for cellular repair. Cells break down and get rid of intracellular protein buildup during a fast. Finally, fasting causes alterations in the genes involved in lifespan and disease resistance (2).

Are there specific foods that I need to focus on?

Strategically, you should eat a lot of high-fiber foods like salads and raw vegetables to be as full as you can with 500–600 calories.

In theory, you can eat whatever you want as long as it is within your calorie range, but choosing healthier options will make you feel fuller for longer.

Some of the pros and cons associated with intermittent fasting.

Pros of intermittent fasting

1. Fat Loss

We opted for "fat loss" rather than "weight loss" for a reason. The two are significantly unlike, which explains why. While losing weight can also imply losing muscle or bodily fluids, fat loss is exactly what it sounds like—a reduction in body fat. Any "weight loss" diet should aim to reduce body fat while preserving muscle mass, which is exactly what intermittent fasting accomplishes.

An outstanding evaluation that claimed fasting could "teach" your body to use more fat for energy rather than stored sugar was published (3). This implies that whatever you do, you may burn more fat!

Additionally, studies reveal that intermittent fasting has little impact on your daily calorie expenditure (4). This implies that, unlike when you restrict calories, you're less likely to reach a "plateau."

2. Autophagy

When your body recycles old cells to generate new ones, I know this process is autophagy. The advantages of autophagy include a reduced risk of heart disease, reduced inflammation, and a reduced chance of neurological diseases like Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease. It can also delay the aging process (5, 6).

3. Insulin Resistance

Type 2 diabetes is increasingly prevalent. Your body is less responsive to insulin, which results in prolonged blood sugar levels, which might have negative consequences.

In both animal and human research, they have proven that intermittent fasting lowers blood sugar levels and improves insulin resistance. In fact, a case study involving three diabetic people discovered that intermittent fasting was so successful that the subjects did not require ongoing insulin therapy (7,8).

However, if you have type 2 diabetes, please see your doctor before trying to fast or stop your insulin medication; additional research is required to determine whether fasting is a useful medical treatment for this condition.

What these trials do demonstrate is the potential for intermittent fasting as a preventative measure for type 2 diabetes in non-diabetics.

4. Cardiovascular disease

It has been demonstrated that intermittent fasting lowers blood pressure, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol (9,10).

Although it seems that intermittent fasting reduces some of the risk factors for cardiac events, like heart attack and stroke, further research is required to determine if it can do so.

5. Inflammation

You frequently hear the terms "inflammation" and "anti-inflammatory," but what do these terms truly mean? Despite having an evil reputation, inflammation is really your body's way of protecting and healing itself. The activation of immune cells that defend you against germs, viruses, poisons, and physical harm was once characterized as inflammation.

However, if this immune reaction persists over time, it may result in a number of illnesses, including metabolic disorders, cancer, internal organ damage, and asthma. (11). Poor eating habits frequently bring chronic inflammation about being overweight, not exercising, and more.

According to several studies, intermittent fasting has anti-inflammatory properties. As a result, this diet may be effective in reducing chronic inflammation and the health concerns that come with it (12,13).

6. Gut Health

The current food trend is undoubtedly optimizing your gut health by modifying the kind and quantity of your gut bacteria, or "gut bugs." Supplements with probiotics and prebiotics are widely available and pricey. But you may quickly improve your gut health without wasting money on pricey pills. you can just be fasting!

First, let's discuss the significance of intestinal health. It is now clear that maintaining a healthy gut is essential for enhancing and optimizing our general health, even if scientists still have a great deal to learn about the bacteria in our gut and how they affect our health.

There isn't much research on how intermittent fasting can alter your gut bugs since, as we've already discussed, scientists still have a lot to learn about our gut microbiota. However, it does seem that fasting can alter the gut flora, enhancing general health (14).

7. Cancer

To keep things straightforward, cancer is a category of disorder in which a small number of cells get a particular mutation. These cells have the capacity to multiply quickly, mutate surrounding cells, and spread to other body areas.

Although there is still much to understand about the underlying processes, it appears that intermittent fasting can reduce the risk of cancer in a number of ways, including hormonal changes, enhanced autophagy, lower oxidative stress, and more (16). Furthermore, several studies have demonstrated how fasting might improve chemotherapy patients' cancer treatment. What do you think of the article Best Intermittent Fasting Window for Weight Loss, I think it will be useful for you.

Cons of intermittent fasting

1. Dehydration

Your body may be "taught" to use stored fat more frequently for energy instead of carbs via intermittent fasting. Your body will use its stored carbohydrate reserves for energy prior to this.

Your body loses more water and salt via this process, so if you don't compensate by drinking more, you risk dehydration.

Keep an eye on the color of your urine to make sure you are getting enough water. It ought to be transparent to a light golden tone. You are probably dehydrated and should drink some water if the color of your urine is dark yellow or orange.

2. Not Eating Enough

You are eating fewer meals when you practice intermittent fasting. You don't want this to result in a significant daily calorie deficit, though. Make sure you are providing your body with the nutrients it requires because we consume food to fuel our bodies.

To determine how many calories you are consuming compared to how much you require daily, try keeping a meal journal. Look for methods to include more calorie-dense foods if you have a significant calorie deficit of -500+ calories per day.

3. Malnutrition

This danger is quite similar to under-calorie intake. There is a strong risk that you are not getting enough vitamins and minerals if you are not eating enough meals.

To meet your recommended intake of calories and nutrients, make sure you are consuming enough nutrient- and calorie-dense foods.

4. Problems Sleeping

It's interesting that some people who experiment with intermittent fasting claim to have trouble falling asleep. People specifically mention that they have problems falling asleep and frequently wake up many times during the night.

Give it a few days if you attempt fasting and have difficulties sleeping to determine whether your body is simply adapting. Fasting may not be the best diet for you if this issue continues.

5. Weight Gain

Gaining weight, I thought intermittent fasting was meant to aid with weight loss. Yes, it can probably aid in weight reduction, but only if done properly.

It's a common misconception that if you fast, you may skip one or more meals and then eat anything you want afterward. This is not accurate. You can still consume more calories than you burn each day, even if you limit yourself to particularly calorie-dense meals. Weight gain will result from this.

Some people who are intermittently fasting also experience extreme nighttime hunger and bingeing, which may be a result of their insufficient calorie intake throughout the day. Another reason for weight gain is binge-eating late at night (17).

Make sure you are consuming a balanced diet to fight them. Make sure you are receiving enough calories throughout the day while eating nutrient-dense foods. If you wake up at night feeling ravenous, consider eating more during the day. What do you think of the article Intermittent Fasting and 9 Ways to Make It Easier, I think it will be useful for you.


My name is John Tolan, 36 years old affiliate marketer and blogger holding a Bachelor's degree in Nutrition from the Australian University of Science and Technology. My interests revolve around writing about health and nutrition topics.