Is Intermittent Fasting Good for Weight loss?
The age-old practice of fasting is historically done for religious reasons, but fasting for weight loss is all the hype nowadays. You can find many claimed benefits such as “expelling poisons”, “promoting autophagy”, “ ”MELTS Fat away”, “builds muscle”, and the list goes on!
For our purposes here we are just going to discuss the currently trendy intermittent fasting practice. We are not discussing short-term or periodic fasting for religious purposes or gut health.
It’s 100% true that fasting will result in WEIGHT LOSS, at least in the short term. BUT in my opinion, the risks far outweigh any benefits and it can actually cause more harm than good in the long term.
What is intermittent fasting?
This method of fasting involves eating in a time-restricted window of varying amounts but typically 16 hours to 8 hours of eating. It can be dangerous when you drastically reduce your calories during fasts to lose weight during a fasting protocol. This can cause muscle atrophy, reduce bone density, and hair loss. It can also reduce your overall metabolism so you will burn calories much slower to the point that you might not be able to lose weight, even on lower calories.
The likely and frequent outcome that we see with this method of fasting is quick and extreme weight loss followed by…
“Crap! I want to go back to being a human and eat some breakfast!”
“Crap! Now I can’t eat ANYTHING without gaining weight. What should I do?”
The Intermittent fasting diet has slowed your metabolism to the point that gaining back fat is almost inevitable.
Possible side effects of fasting include (but are not limited to): dizziness, headaches, low blood sugar, muscle aches, weakness, and fatigue. Long periods of fasting can lead to anemia, a weakened immune system, liver and kidney problems, and an irregular heartbeat. Fasting can also result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies, muscle breakdown, and diarrhea. When you drink laxative concoctions during a fast, there is an increased risk of fluid imbalance and dehydration. The risks get more severe the longer you stay on a fast, or if you repeatedly go on fasts.
What about detoxing?
The body rarely needs to detox since we have kidneys, a liver, lungs, a colon, and skin that are capable of removing toxins. Areas to look at before embarking on a drastic detox program include: eliminate alcohol, meditate daily, stretch daily, eliminate tobacco products, eliminate processed foods from your diet, eat plenty of nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, drink plenty of water, and exercise a minimum of 150 minutes per week (and increase from there). If you’re doing all of these things and still feel like you need to detox, have a conversation with a professional – not a supplement salesperson.
In the end, fasting is not our favorite diet, and we’ve never (literally never) seen lasting results with it (sometimes we don’t even see short-term results).
If you are currently fasting and seeing great results, that’s fantastic! Some individuals are able to execute fasting very well; breaking their fast appropriately, still eating clean and within an appropriate calorie range and macro makeup. But far and wide we see an overconsumption of less than ideal nutrient sources during the ‘eating’ period of the fasting protocol and this is what leads to the aforementioned undesirable side effects.
Again, we want to emphasize that this information is not directed at the short term practice of fasting for religious purposes. We are exclusively referring to fasting used as a weight-loss strategy.
Thanks for reading and if you have any other questions please feel free to contact us!
Coach Hunter Covelski
firstname.lastname@example.org for questions