Is Intermittent Fasting Right For You? Who should avoid it?

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Disclaimer: This story is about eating disorders, eating disorders, and restrictive eating practices.

From the 5: 2 diet to the 16: 8 method, intermittent fasting is growing in popularity.

The health trend is to alternate between periods of unrestricted eating and periods of restricted eating – the restricted periods last certain times of the day or certain days of the week, depending on the plan you are following.

While early research suggests that fasting diets have some benefits, experts say they’re not suitable for everyone – and readers should consult their healthcare practitioner if considering jumping on the fasting bandwagon. .

So, is this right for you or should you stay away?

The benefits, from reducing inflammation to improving lifespan

Research into the effectiveness of fasting diets is still in its infancy. Some of the studies have primarily been conducted in animals, and the researchers note that there are still concerns about the safety and feasibility of fasting diets.

But early research suggests that fasting may help relieve health problems – from inflammation to arthritis pain to asthma, and promote positive changes associated with longevity and lifespan.

Fasting diets can also help with weight loss and improve associated biochemical markers, from hypertension to blood sugar and cholesterol levels, says Dr Anika Rouf, registered dietitian practitioner and spokesperson for Dietitians Australia.

But it’s not for everyone – these bands should avoid it

As fasting has become more popular in recent years, Dr Rouf says: “As dieticians we wouldn’t recommend it unless it’s something the person really wants to do and we think it might. suit him. “

People with a history of eating disorders

For starters, anyone with a current eating disorder or a history of eating disorders shouldn’t embark on an intermittent fasting diet, says Dr Rouf.

Chris Fowler, of the Butterfly Foundation, said the organization “does not endorse fasting diets that promote restricted eating behaviors such as the 5: 2 diet or the 16: 8 diet” in general – because, says- it is still a form of diet. . And dieting is one of the most important risk factors for the development of eating disorders and eating disorders.

Anyone with an eating disorder or eating disorder should avoid intermittent fasting, experts say.(

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The organization’s helpline has received calls from Australians saying, “I started with these certain diets and found myself cutting back and restricting further,” he says, adding that the fasting diets can be “a bit of a slippery slope” for some.

“It can start in the area of ​​the desire to be healthy, but it can then escalate,” he adds.

Another group who may be at higher risk for developing an eating disorder are those who have a family history of such conditions.

“We know there may be a genetic link to eating disorders – not to say that anyone who has a family member with a history of developing an eating disorder… but it certainly puts someone in danger, ”Fowler said.

Pregnant women, young people, athletes and people with certain medical conditions

“Growing children and adolescents – they shouldn’t be doing intermittent fasting,” says Dr Rouf.

Highly active people, like athletes, shouldn’t be doing this either, she adds.

Intermittent fasting is not appropriate for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant, says Dr Leonie Heilbronn, associate professor of obesity and metabolism at the University of Adelaide who has studied intermittent fasting.

And if you have a medical condition, “it’s best to talk to your doctor about it before starting intermittent fasting,” adds Dr. Heilbronn.

“This is especially important if you have diabetes or if you are taking medicines that can cause low blood sugar. “

Watch out for these two stumbling blocks

If you are thinking of giving fasting a try, there are two common stumbling blocks in mind.

Two women eating sushi in a restaurant.
Those attempting to fast should beware of the temptation to overeat during their “allowed period” – for example, bingeing in the last hours or minutes before the start of their fast.(

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First, diet quality is critical to the success of intermittent fasting diets, says Dr Mark Larance, senior lecturer at the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Science, whose research has suggested that intermittent fasting may alter liver enzymes and help prevent liver disease.

“It’s important to maintain healthy, balanced food choices and not think that you can eat a bad diet (like a diet high in fat and sugar) just because you are fasting intermittently,” he says.

Dr Rouf says similarly, those who try to fast should be wary of the temptation to overeat during their “allowed period” – for example, binge-feeding in the last hours or minutes before the start of their fast.

“It causes people to have this all or nothing approach – this sort of black and white approach around food and when they’re allowed to eat it can be pretty damaging.”

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