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What are the side effects of intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting has experienced an explosive increase in popularity over the past several years due to its tempting promises of better and weight control. Practitioners claim that extended durations of fasting (beyond the normal interval between meals) accelerate cellular rejuvenation, improve insulin sensitivity, raise levels of human growth hormone, and alter gene expression in a way that lengthens life and protects against disease.

Do any potential risks exist, though?

It is important to recognize that there are different types of intermittent fasting and that the long-term effectiveness and security of these techniques are still not fully understood before getting into the adverse effects of intermittent fasting. The most typical types include:

  1. Alternate-day fasting, which calls for every other day of fasting
  2. Modified alternate-day fasting, which calls for consuming only 25% of one's typical diet every alternate day.
  3. Intermittent fasting, which limits daily calorie intake to 500–600 calories on just two days per week.
  4. Eating on a timer and restricting one's daily “eating window”The following intermittent fasting side effects must be discussed with a medical practitioner before choosing a plan that works for your lifestyle, even if some regimens may cause more side effects than others.

#1. Intermittent fasting might make you sick.

People may have headaches, tiredness, irritability, and constipation depending on how long they fast. One can think about switching from annual fasting to periodic fasting or a time-restricted eating regimen that allows daily consumption within a set window of time in order to reduce some of these adverse effects.

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#2. It could result in overeating

because the brain's hunger center and appetite hormones go into overdrive when deprived of meals, there is a strong biological tendency to overeat during fasting periods. A sluggish metabolism and an increase in hunger, two noticeable side effects of calorie-restricted diets, are equally likely when using intermittent fasting as they are when using daily calorie restriction. Additionally, there is growing evidence from studies on time-restricted eating that eating meals that interfere with the body's natural circadian rhythm may result in metabolic problems.

#3. Among elderly adults, intermittent fasting may cause significant weight loss.

Although intermittent fasting shows promise, there is little information available on its advantages and how it affects older people. Studies on humans have mainly concentrated on small groups of young or middle-aged adults and only made brief observations. However, in some circumstances, intermittent fasting may be dangerous. Concerns about severe weight loss arise if a person is already on the verge of being underweight because it can affect their energy levels, immune system's overall performance, and the health of their bones.

#4. It might be dangerous for people using certain drugs.

If you plan to try intermittent fasting, it is essential to speak with your doctor first. For people with specific diseases, like diabetes, skipping meals and excessively limiting calories might be dangerous.

Additionally, people who take drugs for high blood pressure or heart disease may be more vulnerable to mineral imbalances, such as salt and potassium, when fasting for an extended period of time. Fasting may not be successful for people who need food intake and their medications to prevent nausea or stomach irritability. How to reduce the negative consequences of intermittent fasting?

  • *Your body can adjust more easily if you gradually introduce intermittent fasting into your diet.
  • *Reduce the window for eating gradually over a period of several months.
  • * It is important to follow your doctor's instructions for taking your prescribed medications.
  • *Keep hydrated by consuming calorie-free liquids like water and black coffee. 
  • *If you must eat while taking your medication, choose a modified fasting schedule that has been recommended by your doctor.
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Dr. Aabru
Dr. Aabru

I am Aabru Butt, an accomplished author and passionate advocate of holistic healing. My journey has led me to a BHMS degree from SRI GURUNANK DEV HOMEOPATHIC MEDICAL COLLEGE AND HOSPITAL, where I have cultivated a deep understanding of homeopathic medicine. My writing reflects a harmonious blend of practical experience and academic expertise, illustrating my commitment to providing accurate and insightful information.