Advantages and Disadvantages of Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is one of the new-age fasting methods people follow nowadays. What makes this diet plan unique and how it benefits your health?

How good is intermittent fasting to get you in better shape and mood? Let’s talk more about the Advantages and Disadvantages of Intermittent Fasting and find out how it helps you cope with aging, disease, & stress.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Break conventional fasting into parts, it’s what intermittent fasting is, in general. You may feel hesitant hearing the term fasting at first; how is it different when you have to starve yourself. How is it different from dieting or traditional fasting?

The good news is you don’t have to starve or put yourself under any dietary restrictions at all. In this type of fasting, you can have what you like without casting your favorite food aside.

Eat what you want to eat but in a cyclic order or more like a pattern. That is what defines the purpose of intermittent fasting. Periodic Fasting lets you utilize all the elementary juices and calories to supply for the body’s growth and longevity. You simply follow a diet plan keeping an eye on the timing, basically, having minimal meals at regular breaks and periods.

Let’s say, you are on intermittent fasting for 18 hours a day, consuming food after a 6-hours break repeated in three cycles. How does it help you and affect your health? Let’s unwind some supportive answers in this regard.

What are the Advantages of Intermittent Fasting?

According to a report by the New England Journal of Medicine, You can beat life-threatening diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart attacks. These benefits of intermittent fasting are now backed up by medical sciences and more are yet to be unearthed.

Counts of research are now underway to discover long term benefits of periodic fasting, meanwhile, you can observe these positive effects of intermittent fasting on health following it for a while.

1. Intermittent fasting for weight loss

If staying away from delicious food seems one the most difficult tasks to you, try intermittent fasting for the good. Evidence-based studies have found that cyclic fasting can help you rid the excess of fats and shed weight effectively.

Refraining from a high-calorie and fatty diet for a certain period can help you limit your intake and dropping some weight. Your body tends to consume the less used calories and burn fats faster when you go foodless in successive intervals.

Your metabolism boosts up and increases the level of neurotransmitter norepinephrine rectifying the weight loss process. When you are hungry, the digestive system acts fast on your stored fatty cells and breaks them down into glucose to supply energy to your mechanism. In simpler words, your fat burns faster acting as fuel hence shedding your weight.

2. Intermittent Fasting for Longevity

A study conducted on animals in 2016 supports that cyclic fasting promotes longer life. Scientific studies are continuing to establish further evidence on how this practice affects humans to restrict the adversity of cancer, diabetes, and blood pressure to extend life expectancy among humans.

Restricting calories through fasting may also be a key factor in decreasing Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1) lowering your risk of chronic diseases and extending lifespan.

Longevity is associated with four primary factors; your age, gender, genetic structure, and what you eat after fasting. The latter plays a more significant role as many people tend to overeat after hours of break.

3. Slows Aging Process

A series of studies carried out on rodents establish a promising link between time-restricted diet and the aging process. Rats that were kept on a fasting period reportedly exhibited a delayed aging rate with a tendency to live 83% longer than the ones that didn’t fast.

Many evidence-based studies form a similar data favoring the concept of time-restricted diet plan and enhancing the survival rate among animals. Research on humans is still underway since these studies are limited to only animals as of now.

4. Helps Fight Body Inflammation

Chronic inflammation can have negative effects on your health that may also result in poor immunity to fight off serious infections. A handful of research also suggests that inflammation is the source of life-threatening diseases like cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.

A time-restricted diet comes as an anti-inflammatory aid to stave off the risks of such infections and promote better health. Check out a brief discovery made after people fasting for 12 hours a day for 1 month.

5. A Time-restricted Diet Improves Cognitive Function

Intermittent fasting is also firmly associated with cognitive behavior and brain functions. A 2018 case study reveals that restricting calorie intake through cyclic fasting can slow down the signs of neurodegenerative diseases. Another study based on rats showed that fasting for 11 months improved both brain functioning and structure.

Fasting keeps your brainy activities sharp as it also increases the generation of nerve cells and enhancing cognitive function.

What are the Disadvantages of Intermittent Fasting?

Some negative effects of intermittent fasting may be triggered if you follow it under specific medical conditions or practice it for far too long. Some disadvantages of intermittent fasting are also associated with behavior patterns interfering with your eating habits.

1. Pancreatic Changes

Intermittent fasting for the long term may shrink muscle and lead to fatty deposits on the stomach. Research documented in the 2018 annual meeting of the European Society of Endocrinology (ESE), researchers discovered that after fasting on a 90-day regimen, rats exhibited the same results. Such changes can put you at risk of diabetes.

2. Fasting can be risky for patients under Medication

A time-restricted diet plan can have adverse effects on your health if you are diabetic or undergoing chemo. Generally, a medicine works for 24 hours, fasting for long hours (4 hours or more) may also lower your insulin levels. If you have hair loss, depression, or sleeping disorder, or Anorexia, staying foodless can worsen these problems over time.

3. Overeating

Taming your cravings is more difficult after you end your fast. The first thing you do is dishing out all your favorite foods which are quite usual to do when you have three meals per day instead of 5. As your fasting gap extends further, you are more likely to overeat at times.

4. Induced Anorexia

Anorexia is an eating disorder that is caused by either food phobia, anxiety, or fear of weight gain. According to NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association), anorexic people generally restrict the number of calories and the food they eat, ignoring their bodies' maintenance and threshold intake of diet.

Practicing Intermittent fasting may result in forced starvation, weakness, poor immunity, and muscle weakness in anorexic patients.

5. Tiredness and Lethargy

For starters, fasting may turn their body into less active than before. This means you need a little more time to be habitual to this time-restricted diet plan. You may feel a loss of energy for the entire day. Thus practice may also induce stress levels if you are following a fitness routine daily. Exercising while fasting also affects your libido, immunity making you exhausted earlier than usual.


Given both the benefits and risks of intermittent fasting plans, researchers are still forming a concrete basis of the long-term pros and cons. For people under certain medical conditions, consulting dieticians/medical service providers is a must before following this periodic diet plan.

Information Source: CBC Canada, and National Institutes of Health.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Intermittent Fasting

Frequently Asked Questions

When you should not intermittent fast?

You should not follow intermittent fasting or other fasting methods under certain medical conditions like Cancer, Diabetes, and Pregnancy. Women who breastfeed are also recommended to consult their doctors before practicing fasting.

Who should not do Intermittent fasting?

If you are underweight, have low blood pressure, are undergoing chemotherapy, diabetic, or Anorexic you must avoid following a time-restricted diet plan.

What are the dangers of intermittent fasting?

If can aggravate risks of diabetes, insomnia, and weakness among people taking medicines or those who suffer from eating disorders. Older adults are also not allowed to follow this type of diet plan as they are at a higher risk of developing immunological problems.

Is it OK to intermittent fast everyday?

Taking a small amount of diet periodically is generally practiced on alternate days. For starters switching to 3-meals per day is difficult. several studies also show that A full fast every other day can result in extreme conditions like weakness and low blood pressure among people who are underweight.

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