Is Intermittent Fasting Safe?
By Randi Morse
It seems like every few years there is a new diet trend that comes along. I remember, during high school, my mother being on the cabbage soup diet for over a month. Some diet trends are crazy, like the cabbage soup one, while others seem to make sense when you read or learn about them. One such current diet trend is intermittent fasting. What is intermittent fasting, and is it safe?
The purpose of any diet is to consume less calories than your body needs to use as fuel during the day. Unlike some diet trends, which requires that you restrict your calories at every meal, intermittent fasting is a little different. With intermittent fasting, you are severely limiting your caloric intake a few days during the week while eating healthy the other days. One of the most popular methods is called the "5:2" diet. With this diet you are told to eat regularly for five days out of the week while restricting your caloric intake to between 500 and 600 calories two days during the week. The theory is that you are still giving your body the fuel it needs during your regular eating days while minimizing your overall weekly caloric intake.
Is It Safe?
Many people swear by fasting and opt to do a detoxification, or a fast, once a month. They feel that this gets the toxins out of their body and makes them feel healthier. It's one thing to fast once a month or so in order to cleanse your body, it's another thing to severely restrict your caloric intake regularly during the week. There are many medical conditions where fasting like this is not a safe option. Diabetics should be extremely cautious when limiting their calories, and carbohydrate intake, especially if they're on medication to help control their disease.
For the average person, intermittent fasting is a safe way to lose weight. One pitfall is the tendency to overeat on regular eating days to compensate for the fasting days. In order for this program to help you lose weight, you need to not only keep a very low caloric intake twice a week, you also need to eat healthy meals the other five days.
The verdict is still out on whether or not there are any long-term complications from this diet. There have not been very many studies to test the efficiency of intermittent fasting, but one study did show that those who chose intermittent fasting did not lose any more weight than those who followed a traditional diet plan.
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