Case Against Intermittent Fasting
concept of Intermittent Fasting is incredibly popular these days.
Some would even call it a trend. But there are many exercise,
nutrition, and medical professionals that aren't all that impressed
by the lifestyle technique. They argue that there are downsides to
Intermittent Fasting which limit its potential benefits, and that it
may fall out of favor in the near future.
professionals do recognize that rearranging one's eating patterns in
such a manner can encourage weight loss, but argue that for many
people that it may be unsustainable, there are non-negligible health
risks, and the practice holds no special benefit for those looking to
maintain or enhance their athleticism.
on the Correct Way to Engage in Intermittent Fasting
of the things about Intermittent Fasting is that it seems that
everyone that recommends Intermittent Fasting, whether they be
professionals or simply advocates, has their own particular take on
the regimen. Some call for fasting during daylight, others recommend
to eat only during a four or eight hour period of the day, and still
others recommend taking entire day off from eating. There are some
proponents that consider intermittent fasting to mean only eating
when you truly are hungry.
as Intermittent is interpreted in a variety of ways, so is Fasting.
Some people recommend going completely without food during the fast.
Others believe that you should only drink protein shakes or stick to
berries and veggies during the fasting portion of your day. As you
can see, there is no clear consensus regarding what Intermittent
Fasting really means.
global society, there are many religions and cultures that engage in
fasting as a spiritual act, but among animals, there is little
evidence that other mammals fast for any reason except for illness.
In many cases, animals that are sick will even eat particular plants
like grass to purge their systems.
Fasting is Not a Natural Animal Behavior
core basis for Intermittent Fasting as a practice originally comes
from animal research. There is evidence that Intermittent Fasting can
be good for male animals in some ways, because it enhances
reproductive characteristics, but for female animals, the same
process can limit fertility.
process of Intermittent Fasting in animals studies induced the
females to sleep less, become unnecessarily alert, and limited their
ability to menstruate. Researchers hypothesize that the reason why
these changes take place is that their bodies are emphasizing traits
that will aid them in seeking food.
Related to Intermittent Fasting
there are many that firmly stand behind Intermittent Fasting, there
are other people that have experienced temporary physical and
psychological symptoms from their use of the technique. The following
are some issues that people that undergo Intermittent Fasting
issues, predominantly in women. These issues are caused primarily by
the stimulation of hypocretin neurons which encourage the body and
mind to stay awake.
admit to highly increased coffee consumption to deal with their
fasting. This overwhelming use of coffee can lead to circadian
rhythm issues, Hormone Imbalance, and significant adrenal fatigue.
dieters experienced an increased fixation on the foods that they
deny themselves. This also leads to a component increase in anxiety.
often experience a variety of Hormone Issues from extended
Intermittent Fasting, including menstrual irregularities, fixation
on self-image, changes in metabolic activity, and acne.
should be noted these symptoms are highly associated with the
severity of the Intermittent Fasting, and that other, more limited
forms of Intermittent Fasting will produce fewer of these negative
symptoms. Also, these issues are more related to long term
Intermittent Fasting, and certain diet plans may be able to usefully
utilize Intermittent Fasting as a means to lose weight.
that argue against Intermittent Fasting believe that there are other
methods that can more effectively extend longevity in the long term,
and can help enhance muscle mass and energy at the same time. The
following are five reasons why Intermittent Fasting may not be the
lifestyle that you're looking for:
Peak Cognitive and Physical Performance Rely on Regular Meals
Human body relies on normalized feeding patterns in order to sustain
energy and physiological capacity. Intermittent Fasting can lead to
Hormone Imbalance issues which lead to fatigue, deteriorated focus,
and changes in base hormone patterns. Also, the body relies on amino
acids to sustain and build muscle, and if you drain your body of
these amino acids, your body may start to break down muscle to meet
the needs of the rest of the body.
Fasting in the short term appears to have a balancing impact on these
same factors, however, and may be beneficial as a means to lose
weight and reset the body. In the initial period of
Intermittent Fasting, men tend to experience increased cognitive
function, boosted alertness, and there is even evidence that the
experience even promotes healthier insulin production. As we
mentioned previously, these benefits are less pronounced among women,
and come with some potentially negative side-effects.
men that are overweight, Intermittent Fasting can be a highly
effective means to re-balance the body, especially in the short term,
but for men that are already thin and looking to promote enhanced
athletic ability, the benefits of Intermittent Fasting are limited.
is primarily because asymmetrical eating pattern can lead to blood
sugar issues and insulin spikes. Over time, this can cause the
circadian rhythm, neurotransmitter activity, and hormone production
to get out of sorts.
nutritionists and fitness experts recommend using a Paleolithic diet
to accentuate many of the positive aspects of Intermittent Fasting
while avoiding the negative aspects. A Paleolithic diet encourages
healthy Insulin Balance, and provides a dependable stream of amino
acids which aid metabolism, cognition, and muscle building.
diet which revolves around healthy fats and high protein while
limiting carbohydrates, with small meals consumed five to six times
per day is one of the best ways to keep your body working and your
metabolism pumping. This helps energy levels, muscle health, and
cognitive ability, while also keeping blood sugar in check and
promoting enhanced longevity.
Regular Protein Consumption Necessary For Muscle Building Protein
is important to recognize that there is a significant difference
building muscle and sustaining muscle. If you don't get your body the
protein that it needs, you stand to lose muscle mass. It is very easy
to design an Intermittent Fasting diet that prevents loss of muscle
mass, but the issue is that Intermittent Fasting is not an ideal
method for growing and enhancing muscles.
if you are interested in losing weight, Intermittent Fasting may be a
valid option, but if you are looking to enhance lean muscle and
longevity from a healthy weight, other options are likely more
beneficial. There is a body of research out there that explains
exactly why Intermittent Fasting is not ideal for muscle development.
are a lot of chemical processes that happen when your body builds
muscles, and there are a number of important ingredients to make it
happen. To build muscle optimally, the body needs a steady stream of
hormones which promote anabolic activity, proteins and amino acids
which supply the body's anabolic needs, and strength training which
stimulates the use of these ingredients. If every ingredient is not
available, it makes it very difficult to build muscle.
study released in 2010 exemplifies this clearly. In this study, male
participants were placed on a caloric-restriction diet, but still
obtained high levels of protein each day1.5 grams per kilogram by
weight. In spite of getting the necessary protein to build muscle,
they still experienced a decline in muscle-building power because
they weren't consuming enough calories.
this led to a loss of one kilogram of lean muscle mass in ten days.
If the body isn't getting all of the nutrients that it needs, it will
convert consumed protein into other products to meet the body's
needs, to the deficit of the muscles.
studies show the benefits of multiple modest meals per day. In one
particular study, athletic men performed anaerobic lower body
exercise routines and consumed proteins in three experimental
patterns dependent upon their group. One group took two doses of
forty grams every six hours, a second group took twenty gram doses
four times daily every three hours, and the third group took a ten
gram dose every hour and a half eight times daily. The group that
experienced the most enhanced protein utilization was the group which
took twenty gram doses.
final study examined how taking protein before bed affected protein
synthesis. Researchers found that young males that consumed forty
grams of protein before falling asleep experienced a 25% boost in
protein utilization. In this study, participants worked out in the
evening, consumed protein, and went to bed. The benefits continued to
take place even overnight.
opposite result is seen in studies mimicking the effects of
Intermittent Fasting. In one study, conducted over the course of
three days, young males ate twice per day with a twelve hour space
between meals. Instead of building muscle, these patients burned the
protein they consumed for energy, whereas men that consumed five
meals per day utilized protein for protein synthesis.
important to note that this was only a three day study, and does not
necessarily characterize how the body eventually adapts to regular
Intermittent Fasting. Nutrition experts caution older men and women
from engaging in Intermittent Fasting, because of issues related to
sarcopenia and loss of muscle mass.
line between protein burning and protein synthesis is finer than one
would assume. Building muscle depends on supplying your body with a
healthy diet, and giving your body the nutrients that it needs in the
periods after physical activity. If you do not provide your body the
necessary building materials, you slow down your body's recovery and
slow down the rate at which your body synthesizes muscle.
Adrenal Stress and Intermittent Fasting
body eventually adapts to a pattern of Intermittent Fasting, but in
the short term, the abrupt change in dietary patterns can have a
significant impact on the way that your body functions, and can
interrupt your circadian rhythm. The body will eventually get over
adrenal fatigue over the course of an extended period of Intermittent
Fasting, but there are other methods that can impact body composition
in a more effective manner.
study involving Islamic athletes shows the impact of short term
fasting on athletic performance. In athletes that fasted during the
day for Ramadan, the act of fasting led to higher levels of fatigue.
It also contributed to reduced anaerobic performance and strength.
Over the course of Ramadan, the athletes lost an average of 0.65
kilograms of fat and 1.8% of their total mass.
date, there are no significant studies regarding the long term impact
of Intermittent Fasting among athletes, but researchers hypothesize
that it has a negative impact on physical output based on the
scientific understanding of overtraining.
a long time without eating encourages the activation of hormones
known as catecholamines. If this pattern is sustained for an extended
period of time, it can lead to adrenal fatigue, and reduces the
responsiveness of the adrenal glands. This modifies the metabolism,
the priorities of the central nervous system, and leads to chronic
in all, engaging in Intermittent Fasting for brief periods of time
has the impact of inhibiting physical performance. Engaging in it for
an extended period can impact the body's homeostasis and can cause
adrenal fatigue. It should be noted that these ideas regarding Long
Term Intermittent Fasting are not fully tested, and the body may have
some adaptive ability which has not been fully explored in the
Healthy Blood Sugar and Insulin Levels Depend on the Content of Your
Diet More than the Timing of Your Meals
Fasting and other similar eating patterns do have an effect on blood
sugar and insulin. To date, the body of medical knowledge is still
being fleshed out, and results are not fully conclusive. It appears
that Intermittent Fasting has a positive influence on male Insulin
Health under many circumstances, while women tend to experience more
you are overweight or obese, Intermittent Fasting seems to have an
overall-positive influence on Insulin Sensitivity, but many nutrition
scientists do not believe that Intermittent Fasting is a long-term,
sustainable diet plan because of the potential impact that it has on
other issues, such as blood pressure. The same is believed with
regard to caloric restriction.
doesn't mean that Intermittent Fasting helps balance Insulin for
everyone, however, and its benefits may be limited even among the
overweight. In one piece of research released in PLOS One,
researchers compared glucose and insulin levels over the course of
three days among two groups: One group ate five meals per day at
regular intervals, and the other engaged in Intermittent Fasting.
Both groups consumed a diet consisting of 15% protein, 30% fat, and
found that participants in the Intermittent Fasting group experienced
more significant variation in their insulin levels through the course
of the day, which is considered one of the factors which encourage
Insulin Resistance over time. It should be noted that the body may
adapt to Intermittent Fasting over time, which may balance out these
issues with Insulin. Low-carb diets (Paleo Diets recommend around 40%
carbs, for example), may also balance out these Insulin issues as
than focus on when you eat, however, the best way to control your
blood sugar is simply to scale back on your consumption of high
glycemic carbohydrates. For example, one study consisted of three
groups: One group ate six low-carb, high protein meals daily, a
second group ate six high-carb meals daily, and a third group ate
three high-carb meals daily.
levels were the lowest in the high-protein meal and highest in the
six high-carb meal group. On the other hand, Insulin levels remained
equivalent in both experimental groups that consumed high-carbs. The
high-protein group experienced healthier Insulin levels.
order to promote optimal Insulin sensitivity and utilization, it's
more important to engage in a diet consisting of the conscientious
use of low-glycemic carbohydrates, healthy fat, and protein, than to
alter your eating patterns. Smart and consistent eating patterns are
a positive influence, however.
Intermittent Fasting Affects Natural Rhythms and Hormone Balance
of the most potentially disruptive impacts of Intermittent Fasting is
in regard to circadian rhythm and hormone balance. All of the
important metabolic and anabolic hormones that our body produces are
interrelated with one another, including Human Growth Hormone,
Testosterone, Insulin, and Adrenal Hormones. This delicate interplay
of hormones is known as the Hormone Cascade.
means that when you have an issue with one particular hormone, all of
your hormones can be affected in their own ways. Hormone Imbalance
can lead to a wide variety of negative health conditions, including
infertility, loss of muscle mass, weight gain, reduced metabolism,
increased inflammation, sleep disruption, fatigue, and inhibited
is evidence that Intermittent Fasting contributes to this hormone
imbalance. In one particular study, participants stuck to an assigned
diet eight weeks, either eating once per day or three times per day.
At the conclusion of the study, participants that ate once per day
lost an average of two kilograms of fat more than the opposing group.
On the other hand, they also experienced heightened blood pressure,
which is an indication of changes in the circadian rhythm.
cortisol levels before consuming their single meal were nearly half
of their normal levels. This suggests that the subjects were
experiencing abnormal day-night hormone cycles. It is true that
cortisol levels are important to control for optimal health, but
normally, cortisol levels increase naturally as a result of hunger
and drop in response satiation. Abnormal cortisol patterns are a
indication of adrenal fatigue.
course, based off of this evidence, there may be particular forms of
Intermittent Fasting that do not impact Hormone Balance so severely,
and also, a responsible diet plan may mitigate the impact of this
Hormone Imbalance. In the case of this study, however, a
one-meal-per-day diet plan negatively impacted the health of the
patients, overall, as a result of the impact on cortisol and the
and Weight Loss Tips
severe Intermittent Fasting can help you lose weight, but you would
likely benefit from other methods. You can potentially increase your
risk of illness and fatigue, and you can inhibit your body's
self-regulating ability. The following are some recommended tips for
men and women to consider rather than turning to Intermittent
five or six meals each day. Choose whole foods, limit processed
foods, and eat healthy fat, a lot of protein, and limit your carbs.
your food, but do not rely on it as a reward.
abuse stimulants like coffee to help you keep your mind off food.
an eating pattern that works for you and does not cause undo stress
on your mind or your body.
lots of different kinds of food to ensure you get the nutrients you
your diet and your exercise regimen to maximize results
lots of water. Water is an essential component for muscle synthesis.