Over the past few years, Intermittent Fasting has become very popular, especially in the fitness community. But is it really as great as some people said it is?
I personally was Intermittent Fasting for quite a while in my life, and definitely experienced some of its effects.
What IF offers?
One of the biggest benefits that I’ve experienced during my fast and many other people claim to experience as well, was increased focus and mental alertness.
It was an amazing feeling, after a week of feeling hungry my brain started focusing my attention on the stuff that needed it the most.
It makes sticking to low calories easy
This is probably the most practical benefit of IF practice. If you’re currently cutting and your calories are low shortening your eating time will make you feel full and satisfied without going over the daily calorie goal.
IF has been shown multiple times to increase human growth hormone production naturally, boost testosterone, and work anti-ageing. However, most of the studies showing this positive benefits have been done on animals.
Who can benefit from it?
Even though it all looks amazing, IF is definitely not for everybody and when compared to traditional healthy eating style doesn’t seem to be superior. And for that reason should be used only as a tool that makes your life more enjoyable not something that controls it.
If you’re a busy person and have many tasks to do during the first part of the day IF may be beneficial for you as once you’ll get used to it you will be ready to start working quicker and more effectively.
If you’re not feeling hungry first thing in the morning and you’re doing just fine without breakfast then IF can offer you some of its benefits
If you’re on a cut. Once you adapt to IF it is really easy to stick to it for most of the guys,(things are a bit harder for ladies) and if your calories are low then IF is a way to keep you full before the bedtime.
If you have skin problems. While IF is not a remedy for skin problems it does tend to help with redness and breakouts. Though changing your food choices or going to the dermatologist is probably a way to go.
If you have some sort of an eating disorder. Now this applies only to psychological problems with eating, like a need to eat every 1,5-2h or something like that. IF definitely teaches us when we’re hungry and when we just think we are.
Who shouldn’t use it?
Diabetics, at least not without consultation with your doctor. While I’ve read about some diabetics utilizing the IF and feeling amazing I would advise to first ask a doctor about his/her opinion
People with low appetite, the main point of IF is to make life more enjoyable and get to your goals. So if you’re not someone willing to count daily macro/micronutrient consumption and lose weight relatively easy then IF is not for you.
If you get bloated, one thing I’ve noticed when I’ve surpassed certain calorie goal and while utilizing IF was that I was looking great in the morning (fasting) and after a first snack-sized meal. But after my next meal, I was looking as if I were pregnant :D. Once I’ve stopped my fasting practice entire bloat went away. And I feel better than the time I used to fast on the daily basis.
Ladies. Not all of you, but some of you may experience hormonal imbalances while on IF. Again this shouldn’t happen if you stick to your calories and won’t go to some massive calorie deficit. However, for some of you, it may be just better to stick to more of a traditional 3-4meals/day approach.
Growing Kids/Teenagers. The reason why I wouldn’t recommend it to any growing person is simply the fact that IF most of the time makes us all eat less. But If you can monitor your daily calories, macros and micros then IF during teen years may actually have some benefits, as long as there is no or no big calorie deficit.
Even though there are some proven benefits among the Intermittent fasting society, they’re most likely due to overall healthier lifestyle. So if you feel like you may benefit from it, go for it! If on the other hand, you feel like it’s simply not for you stick to eating 3-4 meals per day and as long as the majority of that is whole food you’re probably going to be fine. Remember that IF is just a tool that should be used only when needed.