A-list stars from Vanessa Hudgens to Jennifer Aniston have been expressing enthusiastic praise for intermittent fasting (IF). The latest popular concept may sound complex, but it’s actually quite easy: intermittent fasting involves limiting food during a predetermined period of time.
The advantages of intermittent fasting extend far and wide, covering areas from slimming down to improved focus (and who couldn’t use an upgrade in mental ability?). Before considering what sort of IF approach would be suitable for your needs or blending IF with other diets such as keto, one thing to note is that IF can still induce side effects, particularly if not done properly.
It is essential to determine what sort of IF is best for you, such as selecting a shorter or extended period of fasting or performing it on certain days of the week. If you are not taking in enough calories or nourishment while fasting, there can be adverse effects.
No established instructions exist for determining precisely what intermittent fasting routine is best, ultimately leaving it to you to decide the one that suits your body most. Figuring out what works requires experimentation and considering if the downside risks are worth it.
Do All Intermittent Fasting Schedules Cause Side Effects?
It is significant to point out that there has not been a great deal of research conducted into the advantages of IF. Compared to research on mice, research on humans is quite limited, and the studies that have been done mainly included males, according to Audrey Fleck, MS, RDN. It is uncertain if the major cause of the positive results (and negative consequences) is the pattern of intermittent fasting, for example, how it influences your body at a cellular level, or only the decrease in calories.
Fleck states that it is inevitable that there will be certain adverse reactions associated with something. Yes, even the 16:8 Intermittent Fasting (IF) technique is well-known. She suggested that it can take as long as one month for your body to adjust to a routine of intermittent fasting if you are not eating.
After utilizing Intermittent Fasting for a period of time, you should have a greater understanding of the effects it has on you and your health. It is sensible to monitor for potential long-term repercussions.
Signs of Too Much Fasting
If you have ever tried to do a period of fasting, initially, it can feel difficult and quite uncomfortable. You get hangry, frail, and can’t wait to eat. Never again…
Inquiries from people who have undergone fasting for a more extended period often exhibit that it is straightforward, effortless, and delightful. Many of them do not intend to quit since it has become a part of their way of life.
The drawbacks of abstaining from food can include muscle wastage, severe cravings for food, uncontrollable eating, digestion issues, ongoing tiredness, and many additional issues. These signs are not necessarily caused by fasting; they can just be the result of another issue that can easily be fixed. This should not be taken as a medical consultation, and I am not a healthcare provider.
It is possible to both over-fast and under-fast. If you’re uncertain if you’re fasting too much, read this post which looks into indicators of excessive fasting and how to prevent them.
#1 Hair Loss
There are many reasons why people lose their hair. For the most part, the causes of this are genes passed down, but hormonal imbalances, prescriptions, radiation treatments, constant tension, and nutrient shortages may also be to blame.
In order to stop hair thinning, you should get plenty of zinc, protein, vitamins A, B, C, D, E, collagen, iron, selenium, magnesium and some other vital components. Eating some oysters and organ meats can be a good idea to increase your intake of common nutrients such as zinc, B vitamins, D, and magnesium.
Tangible hair loss may result from a long fasting period, such as one that lasts in excess of seven days. This can be too overwhelming for someone, potentially leading to further nutritional deficiencies.
Daily periods of fasting that last up to 16-24 hours don’t create excessive concern since such a short window of time is not enough to cause major issues. In the majority of cases, it is attributed to inadequate nutrient intake and inadequate dietary selections, not fasting. If you are losing hair, it is likely to be the result of inadequate nutrition and tension.
#2 Sleeping Problems
Fasting excessively can result in sleeplessness due to the stress it can cause. If you suffer from wakefulness multiple times during the evening, feel full of energy before bedtime, don’t get enough quality sleep, or can’t fall asleep in any way, it’s indicating that your body is held in what is known as a sympathetic dominant state. Constantly remaining in a ketogenic state and not eating for prolonged periods of time can put an excessive amount of strain on the body.
You can regain a state of relaxation for your body by having something that contains some protein as well as carbohydrates. This aids in the generation of serotonin in the intestinal tract, and due to insulin, it is transferred to the brain, where it is transformed into melatonin. Eating this for supper could cause you to become drowsy and relaxed.
It is expected that having difficulty sleeping will occur during long periods without eating. It will be more difficult for you to fall asleep if you are starving or fasting for more than a day. For a short period, such as a couple of days, fasting is not unsafe, so long-term fasting should not be practiced routinely.
One way to aid in falling asleep is to sip on some calming herbal teas in the evening, such as chamomile or lavender. Be wary of how much caffeine you consume during the day as it can have a significant impact on your sleeping habits.
#3 Digestion Problems
Abstention from eating is advantageous in treating certain digestive issues or ameliorating the indications. Having fewer meals will provide the digestive system with some respite and lighten the load of having to digest a large amount of food.
Nonetheless, if you carry on consuming an exorbitant amount of food or it’s too complicated to digest, then you will still experience some problems. It is commonly experienced that after eating, people can become bloated or suffer from constipation due to a lack of stomach acid, imbalanced levels of electrolytes, or simply eating more than should be in one meal.
Drinking salty water can help your body maintain the production of hydrochloric acid and keep you from becoming dehydrated during the period of fasting. Secondly, pick out food items that you know your body can process without difficulty. It is possible that you may have a disturbed microbial balance in your body or an autoimmune disorder, so it is wise to speak to a healthcare provider or an expert in digestive health to find out.
If you’re having difficulty processing or feeling too full from eating a lot, you should consider giving digestive enzymes a go. They will help in the decomposition of large molecules of essential nutrients and improve digestion. The ones I’m using is Masszymes from Bioptimizers.
#4 Detox Symptoms
There is no evidence that fasting directly leads to the removal of toxins or results in a spiritually enlightened state. It is not necessary to fast for your body to cleanse itself, provided there are an adequate amount of enzymes, minerals, and vitamins, and the liver is functioning correctly. Autophagy is significantly increased when a person consumes either no calories or very few calories.
Shifting your weight and getting rid of your body fat could trigger some of the toxins stored in your system to be released. These reactions to detox may include puffiness, sluggishness, fatigue, mental confusion, tension, and queasiness. It is not necessary to be adhering to a specific detox program to encounter these symptoms.
You should take certain supplements that bind to the poisons released when you start to burn fat in order to protect against and reduce unpleasant detox side effects. A few examples of the most attainable binders include activated charcoal, bitter herbs, green tea, milk thistle, and chlorella.
#5 Binge Eating and Fasting
Abstaining from food can be beneficial in addressing certain dietary issues, such as craving sugar too much and having an unhealthy preoccupation with eating. Yet if it is overused, it can be detrimental.
If you remember the very first time you stopped fasting, if it was a period of 16 or 20 hours, then it’s likely that you were incredibly ravenous and keen to start eating. Since your body was unfamiliar with abstaining from food, you desired to eat even more to make up for the hunger. Eventually, as your body gets used to burning fat, the effects might lessen, and you should feel alright while fasting.
Gorging oneself after fasting is usually the result of long-term low-calorie diets, having too frequent fasting sessions in a row, tension, lack of sleep, too hard exercise, and poor food selection. In the majority of cases, these issues are due to some deep-rooted emotional issue, dependence, or a shortfall of gratification in other regions of your life. You might be literally eating away your feelings.
If you have found yourself trapped in a routine of overeating and then avoiding food, you may want to give a two to three-day fast a try; it may serve as a total reset. However, don’t forget to maintain moderation in your diet once you finish fasting.
#7 Muscle Loss and Frailty
The primary explanation for why folks observe indications of excessive fasting is due to prolonged energy limitation and inadequate nutrition. This will also cause you to lose lean muscle mass and reduce your bone density.
You should also do resistance exercises to reduce muscle loss even further. You need to engage in muscle-building exercise as well as fasting to avoid experiencing frailty and sarcopenia in your later years. Therefore, it’s integral that you remain physically active throughout your entire life.
#8 Food Obsessions
Adopting a restricted eating plan can influence the way you view food. Some people enjoy the strictness of intermittent fasting while others could end up over-focusing on when they can have their meals or how many calories they are taking in.
The over-evaluation of food in terms of its quality or amount is eaten every day may make you prone to developing orthorexia, a form of disordered eating. The National Eating Disorders Association believes that orthorexia is an unhealthy obsession with eating only what is viewed as “healthy” or “right,” which can ultimately lead to decreased well-being.
That shouldn’t be the goal of any die. The priority should be creating a nourishing, upbeat association with food.
Fleck argues that to prevent issues with disordered eating, it is best to refrain from doing IF. I have witnessed this practice turn into an eating disorder in which a person experiences fear of eating outside of pre-assigned times. If you have a history of disordered eating, engaging in this behavior may likely cause a relapse of previous patterns.
#9 Changes in Your Menstrual Cycle
An additional consequence of quick weight reduction (which may be generated by IF) is that females who witness a drastic loss in weight or are habitually ingesting too few calories daily could observe their menstrual cycles becoming sluggish or ceasing altogether.
According to the Mayo Clinic, amenorrhea, which is the absence of menstruation, is a condition that tends to affect women with dangerously low body weight.
Rapid shedding of weight or being too thin can affect the regular hormone cycle and make periods arrive late; while you may feel great about how IF has helped you lose weight, it is possible that you are not providing your body with the adequate calories that it requires to function.
If you are no longer having menstrual cycles and think it is connected with intermittent fasting you are doing, discontinue fasting and contact your gynecologist to help find solutions.
#10 Unhealthy Diet
Even if IF does not lead to an extreme condition such as orthorexia, it could still involve unhealthy dietary patterns. Furthermore, you might find yourself opting for unhealthy food choices during non-fasting hours if you are not getting sufficient nutrients.
Dr Charlie Seltzer, a weight-loss doctor and personal trainer, has previously shared concerns that when a person eats a large number of calories (more than the daily recommended amount) through intermittent fasting, it can trigger binge eating.
It may be helpful for you to consult with a registered dietician to come up with an approach that does not necessitate restricting your mealtimes and instead emphasizes maintaining a diet full of nourishing items throughout the day, as opposed to eating during a certain window of time.
#11 Mood Changes
It would be strange if you didn’t experience any feelings of changing emotions or, shall we say, a bad temper due to a lack of food during IF, especially initially. It is essential to take into account that fasting is still limiting, although some people may feel more motivated and energized after adapting to it. It’s possible that following a strict dietary plan could have a negative impact on your mental health, especially if it leads to restricted access to friends and family members.
If you are in a low emotional state due to your IF, it is of the utmost importance that you contact a professional such as a dietician, psychologist, or nutrition coach with haste. They might be able to devise a fasting plan that is better suited to your mental and physical health.
Is There Research Behind the Long-Term Effects?
To be honest: not so much. These are essentially educated assumptions based on what current health specialists are aware of regarding food, intake, and nutrition. Fleck states that for women, it takes a toll on their physical form. It is possible that the body could become accustomed to this, and you could feel a pleasant sensation.
A significant amount of research has been conducted to examine the effects of not eating enough and not receiving enough nutrition. She further states that this is the basis of the information we have.
The conclusion: Examine yourself cautiously if you are not in the best state while participating in intermittent fasting, and discuss any issues you experience with your doctor or nutrition professional.