Celebrities all across the world love intermittent fasting. The popular, new fad includes restricting your daily eating to a specific time window. It may sound fancy, but it’s actually rather straightforward. Who couldn’t use a brain boost? Weight loss and improved concentration are just a few of the many advantages of intermittent fasting. But let’s make one thing clear: intermittent fasting can still have adverse effects, especially if you’re not doing it correctly. Before you wonder what kind of fasting schedule is best for you or whether you can combine it with other diets like the ketogenic diet.
Since there are no clear definitions of what an IF regimen is, it’s largely up to you to determine what suits your body the best. That calls for a great deal of trial and error—and determining if the possible drawbacks are worthwhile. Although research on intermittent fasting is still very much in its early stages, there have been some encouraging results. There is, however, a lot of anecdotal evidence that intermittent fasting can have some unfavourable side effects, so you should discuss them with your doctor before beginning an intermittent fasting eating regimen.
Here are 10 warning signs to look out for. And if you experience any of these negative effects, discontinue IF immediately and consult a nutritionist or your doctor.
Effects of Intermittent Fasting
Hair loss can be brought on by abrupt weight loss or a lack of essential nutrients, particularly protein and B vitamins. A key point: While intermittent fasting doesn’t always result in nutrient loss, consuming a balanced meal is sometimes more challenging when you’re trying to fit a complete day’s worth of food into a few hours. If you notice that you are losing more hair than normal in the shower each day, re-examine the nutrition value of your daily meals, and consult your doctor about whether intermittent fasting is actually a good idea for you.
2. Disturbed Sleep
Rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep is thought to be reduced by diurnal intermittent fasting (daytime fasting), according to a 2018 review published in the journal Nature and Science of Sleep. According to the Harvard Business Review, getting enough REM sleep has been related to a variety of health advantages, including improved memory, cognitive processing, and concentration. It’s not entirely clear why. Again, halt and consult a professional to make sure you aren’t endangering your health if you discover that you are unable to fall or remain asleep after beginning an intermittent fasting eating plan.
3. Low Blood Sugar
Having frequent headaches, nausea, or light headedness while on intermittent fasting is a warning sign that the diet may be causing your blood sugar to fluctuate. As previously mentioned by WH, diabetics ought to stay away from all fasting diets for the following reason: If you have insulin or thyroid issues, intermittent fasting might make you hypoglycemia, which is a serious condition.
Fleck continues that any intermittent fasting plan that calls for skipping breakfast can have a special impact on your blood sugar levels. Starting the day on an empty stomach might cause problems for the rest of the day and prepare your body for later-on extreme desires.
4. Disordered Eating
Any diet that encourages meal skipping or restrictive eating may result in certain unfavourable food associations. Especially when restricting or skipping meals have a direct negative impact on the benefits of weight loss. This is not a healthy way to approach fasting and can cause some people to take it too far, leading to disordered eating habits or falling into a vicious cycle of dieting. Not to mention that consuming fewer calories than you require each day to meet your fundamental needs might result in vitamin shortages, lower immunity, and other health problems.
5. Disturbed Menstrual Cycles
Another negative impact of abrupt weight loss, which can occur as a result of IF, is as follows: Women who drastically drop weight or continuously don’t consume enough calories per day may notice that their menstrual cycles are slowed down or possibly stop altogether.
According to the Mayo Clinic, women who are too thin are more likely to experience amenorrhea, or the absence of menstruation. While you might be celebrating the way IF has helped you lose weight, you could also be depriving your body of the energy it needs to function. Sudden weight loss or being underweight can interrupt your regular hormone cycle and result in missing periods.
6. Mood Swings
It would be strange if, at least initially, you didn’t feel any moodiness or, hangriness, during IF. It’s also crucial to keep in mind that fasting is still a limiting diet, even though some people report experiencing a significant increase in energy or motivation after adjusting to it. Feeling pressured to adhere to it could be detrimental to your mood, particularly if your dietary restrictions are causing you to isolate yourself from friends or family.
7. Bad Breath
An unpleasant side effect of intermittent fasting for some people is bad breath. Lack of salivary flow and an increase in acetone in the breath are to blame for this. Your body uses fat as fuel while you fast. Acetone is a by-product of fat metabolism, and fasting causes it to accumulate in your blood and breath. Dehydration, a side effect of intermittent fasting, can also cause dry mouth, which can result in bad breath.
8. Weight Gain
Some people may be more likely to engage in binge behaviours when they are not fasting if they feel starving throughout their fasting time. And even if you continuously fast for 12–16 hours every day, eating more calories than your body uses will result in a long-term gain in body fat.
To put it another way, you risk putting on weight if you have difficulties controlling your hunger and wind up bingeing during your non-fasting periods. Going rogue during your non-fasting periods can jeopardise your efforts to achieve a healthy weight. Establish a pattern for meal preparation or plan your meals to make sure you’re giving your body what it needs.
9. Fatigue or Brain Fog
Ever found yourself drowsing repeatedly in the middle of the day only to remember you forgot to have breakfast? Since the majority of individuals who IF often skip breakfast, being overly fatigued every day or making blunders due of brain fog are signs that you’re not consuming the correct things during non-fasting hours or that fasting isn’t working for your lifestyle.
As was already noted, the body excretes a lot of water and salt in the first few days of fasting. Natural diuresis or natriuresis of fasting are terms used to describe this process. You risk dehydration if this occurs to you and you don’t replenish the fluids and electrolytes your pee removed.
Additionally, those who engage in intermittent fasting may overlook or under-hydrate. This might be more prevalent when you first start an intermittent fasting practise. Drink water all day long and pay attention to the colour of your urine to ensure that you are well hydrated. It should ideally be a light lemonade colour. If your pee is black in colour, you may be dehydrated.