🏡 Lifestyle

Is Intermittent Fasting Right for You?

Wondering if intermittent fasting is right for your health goals? We discuss everything you need to know in this article.
Updated on Mar 11, 2024

Are you curious about intermittent fasting (IF) and if it’s right for you? Known for its potential to shed kilos, this eating pattern extends far beyond weight loss, promising a slew of health perks for both your body and mind.

From trimming waistlines to enhancing blood markers, such as glucose and triglyceride levels, intermittent fasting might just be the health boost you’re seeking. It’s even linked to anti-aging effects and combating neurological disorders.

But hold on – IF isn’t one-size-fits-all. Your overall health and the fasting method you pick play a crucial role. Wondering if you should jump on the bandwagon? Let’s find out.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Believe it or not, you already fast in a 24 hour period – you do it every night. Intermittent fasting simply extends the gap between meals, pushing past the traditional overnight break. It’s the reason behind the term ‘breakfast’ – literally breaking the fast from the night before. By delaying your next meal, you can stretch this fasting period from 12 to a whopping 24 hours.

The duration of your fast will vary based on personal factors, including gender, as men often handle longer fasts more easily. Take the ‘Lean Gains’ method: a 16-hour fast followed by an 8-hour eating window. Or, for the more adventurous, there’s the ‘Warrior Diet’ – a hefty 20 hours of fasting complemented by a 4-hour feast.

Can Intermittent Help You Lose Weight?

Many people turn to intermittent fasting to slim down, and it does work for most people. By narrowing your eating window, overeating becomes less likely, steering you towards a calorie deficit – the golden ticket to weight loss. However, like any diet, mindfulness is key; it’s entirely possible to overindulge even in a short time frame.

Your fasting schedule should gel with your lifestyle, whether that means enjoying breakfast and lunch while skipping dinner, or vice versa. The beauty of IF lies in its flexibility – as long as you avoid excessive calories, you’re on track to burn fat and shed weight.

Does Intermittent Fasting Work for Everyone?

It’s crucial to acknowledge that intermittent fasting reacts differently across individuals. Some bodies naturally adapt and thrive under fasting conditions, while others might not respond as positively. Here are some of the pros and cons:

Pros of Intermittent FastingCons of Intermittent Fasting
Promotes Weight Loss: Limits eating periods, leading to a natural reduction in calorie intake.Hunger and Fatigue: Extended periods without food can lead to feelings of hunger and tiredness, especially initially.
Improves Health Markers: Can improve blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation, and lower cholesterol.Social and Lifestyle Challenges: Adapting social life and daily routines to fit fasting periods can be challenging.
Enhances Brain Health: May improve mental clarity and concentration; potential to reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.Not Suitable for Everyone: People with certain health conditions, pregnant women, and those with a history of eating disorders should avoid it.
Convenience: Simplifies meal planning and reduces meal prep time.Overeating Risk: Possibility of overeating during eating windows, negating calorie deficit and health benefits.
Potential Longevity Benefits: Linked to anti-aging effects and increased lifespan in some studies.Nutrient Deficiency: Risk of missing out on essential nutrients if food intake is not carefully planned.

Who is Intermittent Fasting Good For?

  • Individuals looking to lose weight or manage obesity.
  • People seeking to improve metabolic health, including blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and blood pressure.
  • Those aiming to enhance brain function and potentially lower the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Individuals interested in simplifying meal planning and reducing the time spent on meal prep.

Who Should Avoid It?

  • Individuals with a history of eating disorders or disordered eating patterns.
  • People with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, where blood sugar levels need to be regularly monitored and maintained.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to increased nutritional demands.
  • Children and teenagers, as they are still growing and have different nutritional needs.
  • People taking medications that require food intake at specific times.
  • Individuals who experience significant stress or have a high physical activity level, as they may require more regular nutrition.
  • Those who have previously struggled with intermittent fasting or found it unsustainable for their lifestyle.

The Verdict

Studies show intermittent fasting not only helps with weight loss, but it can slow down aging, control blood sugar, improve your mental sharpness, reduce chronic disease risks and decrease hunger. Not to mention IF also helps give your digestive system a break and improve your gut health.

It has been shown to reduce something called postprandial endotoxemia, which has been found to increase the risk for obesity and insulin resistance. Therefore, fasting can in some cases lower that risk.

The most vital thing to remember before you try intermittent fasting is it’s not for everyone and it’s highly important to consult your doctor before trying any new dieting protocol.

Have a question? Contact us
Ally Burnie
Ally Burnie
Health & fitness journalist and presenter based in Melbourne/Naarm with a passion for – you guessed it - health and fitness, cooking, outdoor adventures, hiking, and travel.


Leave a comment