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Intermittent Fasting

Common Pitfalls & Side Effects

Another common pitfall of IF is succumbing to binge eating during non-fasting days; binging can counteract any intended health and weight loss goals. By eating uncontrollably on non-fasting days, IF eating plan participants can counter any progress made during their fasting periods and can trigger weight gain and spikes in blood sugar. “It’s human nature for people to want to reward themselves after doing very hard work, such as exercise or fasting for a long period of time, so there is a danger of indulging in unhealthy dietary habits on non-fasting days,” says Dr. Frank Hu, Chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Similarly, stopping the fast altogether can also lead to weight gain, as many people return to old eating habits rather than modifying their diet to maintain any progress they achieved through IF. Although often temporary or short-term, other physical side-effects of IF can include heartburn, headaches, and diarrhea. Lastly, those with a history of eating disorders or other medical conditions must consult with a doctor prior to beginning an IF regimen.

One way to avoid these pitfalls it to try a different type fast, like a Fasting Mimicking Diet or Time Restricted Feed.

For those who have the green light and desire to move forward, IF can offer a host of mental and physical benefits. Combined with ample exercise, sleep, and good nutrition, IF can be one of the most effective ways to lose weight and improve overall health and well-being.


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