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Is Fasting just another "FAD" diet?

Updated: May 12, 2020

Fasting has been around for centuries and is often carried out for religious reasons. More recently fasting has become very popular for weigh loss and health benefits. It just takes a quick google search to find lots of DIY plans explaining the benefits and why you should do it. However, not all fasting provides benefit and in fact fasting for some individuals can be dangerous. Drastically reducing the amount of food you eat is likely to result in weight loss but it can also lead to other problems such as dizziness, headaches, low blood sugar, weakness, fatigue and muscle loss.

However, there are also many benefits to the right type of fasting for the right type of person. It really is important to understand that we are all individuals and you do need to find the right plan that works for you and provides you with the most benefit.

Lets have a brief look at three of the most popular fasting plans:

16/8 Method (Fast for 16 hours each day) - Usually you would stop eating after your dinner and then skip breakfast. During your 8 hour “eating window” you would usually consume 2-3 small meals. During the fasting window you can still consume water, herbal tea, black coffee (non-caloric beverages).

The 5:2 Diet (Fast for 2 days per week) - You would have 5 days of “normal” eating and then 2 days of restricting calories to around 500-600 calories on the 2 fasting days. It is not recommended to have the 2 fasting days back to back they should be separated. E.G. Tuesday and Thursday as fasting days. This diet was made popular by Dr Michael Mosley a British journalist and doctor.

Alternate Day Fasting - There are many different versions of this fasting diet at the moment. Some use a restricted calorie intake of 500 calories on the fasting day and others restrict calories even further. This is incredibly hard to follow and restricting calories to this extent can lead to serious nutritional deficiencies.

There are lots of people who follow these eating strategies and get some great results however fasting is not for everyone. It is important to ensure that you still eat a good balanced healthy diet.

In my next few posts I will be going into more detail about all of the plans mentioned above listing the positive and negative benefits of all.

If you are considering following a fasting plan then it is recommended that you seek guidance from a qualified nutritionist or health care professional who can ensure that it is right for you.

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