Intermittent fasting—the practice of eating for only a few hours every day and fasting the rest of the day—is one of the latest diet trends to sweep the nation. Heck, people around the globe are trying it for the purpose of losing weight, controlling calorie intake, and avoiding unhealthy eating habits. While it has offered benefits to many dieters, you need to know that it’s not without its drawbacks. Below, we’ll explore some of the diet dangers of intermittent fasting…
How Intermittent Fasting Works
Intermittent fasting, or IF, is a diet plan that involves 6 to 8 hours of eating, followed by 16 to 18 hours of fasting. Or, in some cases, it involves 24 to 48 hours of fasting every week, followed by “normal” eating the rest of the time. The idea behind this diet is that condensing your caloric intake into one time slot will encourage your body to burn fats the rest of the time, once it runs out of the blood sugar calories to burn. It’s intended for a weight loss and fat-burning diet, one that has promised some good results across the board.
The Bad Habits of IF
One of the main dangers of intermittent fasting is that it allows for some pretty bad eating habits. Seeing as you’re fasting during the “off” periods, you’ll likely end up feeling very hungry during the “on” periods. It’s during this time that you’re most likely to binge eat or break your diet by eating unhealthy foods. You tell yourself that it’s allowed because it’s during the eating period, and thus you permit yourself some pretty unhealthy choices. Instead of just cutting back on calories and eliminating unhealthy foods from your diet, you cram them all into a shorter period of time. This is no better for your body than if you’d eaten the foods all day long.
It’s Just as Dangerous
Yes, eating a lot of high-calorie, high-carb foods within a short period of time can be just as bad for your body as doing so all day long. If you’re eating low-quality food that raises your cholesterol level and floods your body with carbohydrates, you’re still going to be at risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Your risk of chronic health conditions is very high, even though you’re “dieting”.
It Reduces Social Activities
The fact that you’re ONLY eating during a certain time of day can often mean that you’re unable to eat in the afternoons or evenings, when most of your friends go out for dinner and drinks. This can put a serious dent in your social calendar, mainly because you don’t want to break your diet so you end up staying home alone. While this may be good from a weight loss standpoint, social isolation can lead to depression and anxiety, which will lead to binge eating—triggering weight gain in a whole new way. It’s better to enjoy time with friends and eat in moderation than try to starve yourself thin!
It Can Ruin Your Mood
If you’ve ever been hangry, you know exactly how much hunger can affect your mood. When your blood sugar levels drop (roughly 3-4 hours after your last meal), you’ll often find yourself feeling irritable, angry, weak, and cranky. This is called reactive hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar levels caused by not eating. When you feel like this, you’re more likely to grab unhealthy foods—like chips, cookies, and candy—because your mind is telling you that you need a quick infusion of blood sugar. The result: unhealthy food choices.