Is intermittent fasting a panacea?

Intermittent fasting has become a very popular diet in recent years because it can be easily adapted to the tough daily life of the modern working person, while offering the freedom to eat your favorite foods, even those high in calories, and still lose weight.

But is this diet really that healthy? The above question is answered by clinical nutritionist Karolos Papalazaru, a staff member at the Metropolitan Hospital, who explains the types, benefits and health risks of intermittent fasting.

The term “intermittent fasting” (IH) is used to describe eating patterns in which minimal or no calorie intake occurs for periods ranging from 12 hours to several days.

The main types of IG are:

Diet 16: 8, in which food is consumed within eight hours during the day, and for 16 – complete refusal of food. Diet 5: 2, in which food is consumed for five days in a row, and the next two days – fasting. An alternative daily fast, in which people who practice it usually spend an entire day without food, followed by a day of normal food intake. Diet 20: 4, in which the daily food intake is limited to 4 hours.

The most important advantages of IG:

Losing weight, as well as limiting food intake for a long time, contributes to weight loss. Reducing blood sugar levels and, as a result, reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Improving brain function. According to animal studies, IG leads to the formation of new nerve cells.

Disadvantages of IG:

Despite its clear benefits, IG also carries some health risks as it is a “shock therapy” for the body. There is a risk of nausea, vomiting, hair loss, neuropathy, sleep disturbances, menstrual irregularities, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and decreased bone density.

A recent study enrolled 1,339 people, of whom 687 were on IG and 652 were on a simple balanced diet plan with a reduction in daily calorie intake.

Although reductions in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides were observed in those who followed the IG, the reductions in all three of these parameters were greater in those who followed the reduced calorie intake.

Also, in a recent study (2021) in Sydney, studying mice that adhered to IG, it was found that, despite achieving weight loss, visceral fat (on the abdomen) remained stable, which suggests that this type of fasting could trigger the process his accumulation.

These two studies, as well as several older ones, lead us to conclude that there is no obvious reason to choose IG as a diet, as there are much safer types that can lead to weight loss, better health, and are even more effective.

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