In theory, intermittent fasting goes against everything we thought we knew about nutrition. It involves going for long stretches without meals, eating whatever you like (within reason and within certain time constraints) and *gasp* sometimes, even skipping breakfast! Yet somehow, it’s become one of the most popular diets in the world. It’s enormous success can probably be explained by the fact that unlike many other fad diets, it actually works.
Not only has intermittent fasting been scientifically proven to help you lose weight, it’s been linked to other benefits like improved focus, mood and memory, improved blood sugar levels and even decreased risk of heart disease and cancer. These benefits can probably be mostly explained by the fact that IF pushes your body into a ketogenic state (more on that here.)
But just because intermittent fasting works for many people, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for you. There are a few scenarios where the experts say that IF could actually do you more harm than good. And as always, you should check with your doctor or nutritionist before attempting a new diet.
Here are 5 reasons you might want to give intermittent fasting a miss.
When you’re dealing with a stomach bug or the dreaded flu, your body needs all the nutrients it can get. Not only can intermittent fasting disrupt the intake of nutrients, it can actually put more physiological strain on your body when it should be focusing its energy on helping you get better. Why not try loading up on these immunity-boosting foods instead?
Intermittent fasting involves being quite rigorous with your diet and eating habits, so the experts say it’s a definite no-go if you have a history of eating disorders. Instead, it’s best to work with your doctor or psychologist on finding a way of eating that fosters a positive relationship with food.
The experts say that if you’re dealing with chronic stress, intermittent fasting is best avoided. Fasting can ramp up your stress hormone cortisol, putting more pressure on your already-overworked adrenals. This can leave you spiraling into adrenal fatigue — which we all know by now is not a good time. During stressful times or periods when you’re not getting enough sleep, it’s best to nourish your body with food rather than attempting extreme diets.
To succeed with intermittent fasting without developing any nutritional deficiencies, you need a pretty strong understanding of nutrition. So, the experts say that if you’re a newbie to diet and exercise, it’s best to avoid experimenting with fasting and develop a solid nutritional platform first.
Although the whole ‘eating for two’ thing is a myth, pregnant women do have extra energy needs. While you’re expecting, the goal is to provide your body with as much nourishment as possible, so the experts advise against intermittent fasting.