Truthfully, when I gave my conclusions about Michael Mosley’s investigation into intermittent fasting (here), I didn’t really believe it would put many people off dieting in this way, in spite of its potential pitfalls. And, judging by the continued popularity of the 5:2 diet, and alternate-day fasting, my doubts were justified.
But I have noticed that, in spite of the fact that these diets appear to be a good fit with the lifestyles of many, some people are experiencing symptoms associated with following this style of dieting. For this reason, I have put together a quick post explaining how dieters can avoid the negative effects of intermittent fasting.
As I explained previously, the benefits of intermittent fasting do not outweigh those of normal healthy eating. But, for whatever reason, some people find it difficult to stick to conventional patterns of healthy eating, or they have limited success in losing excess weight.
For some of those people, intermittent fasting presents an attractive solution, so it makes sense to find out how to eat in this way without incurring any negative short, or long term consequences.
The Side-Effects Of Fasting
One of the main problems associated with intermittent fasting is related to a sudden drop in blood sugar levels. If blood sugar levels fall too low, the body will attempt to compensate for the lack of available energy by releasing adrenalin.
This can cause such symptoms as shakiness, pins and needles, anxiety and abnormal heart rhythms.
Another thing that happens as blood sugar levels fall is that glucagon is secreted by the pancreas. Under the right conditions, glucagon release is a good thing, allowing fats to be converted into sugar for use as energy. But under the wrong conditions, dieters may experience hunger, stomach rumbling, headaches, nausea, abdominal discomfort and even vomiting.
If blood sugar levels in the brain fall too low, it can give rise to a host of symptoms including confusion, depression, lethargy, and even seizures and loss of consciousness.
An Unforeseen Consequence
And as well as hypoglycemia, a significant reduction in food intake can also lead to hypotension, or low blood pressure, causing dieters to exhibit symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness, and even fainting and seizures if the blood pressure is sufficiently low.
The real culprit here is insufficient fluid intake, which sounds strange because dieters will sometimes compensate for reduced food intake by increasing fluids.
However, studies have shown that food is a crucial element in hydration. The presence of food helps the body to store fluids. The studies show that people can become dehydrated even when they are imbibing plenty of liquids, if food is largely eliminated from the diet in any given period.
Drinking lots of water without replacing natural salts can also contribute to hypotension. And, paradoxically, water and juice fasting can cause irreversible kidney damage if approached incorrectly.
Safety, The First Step To Success
So it is important to approach fasting properly, and not to take unnecessary risks. One thing that it is important for dieters not to do is to starve themselves on fast days, or to attempt to prolong the fasting period in the belief that it will accelerate weight loss. This kind of behavior doesn’t really work and can precipitate some of the complications discussed earlier.
An expert in the field of fasting for weight loss is Robert Dave Johnston. On his website, Johnston gives an incredible amount of excellent free information on the subject of how to approach fasting effectively and safely.
As a membership bonus, he is offering a free 6-hour audio/video fasting masterclass. By the end of this training, students know everything they could possibly need to know about safely incorporating fasting into their lifestyle.
If you read my earlier post, you know my views on fasting, but if you choose to lose weight this way, it makes sense to get step-by-step instructions from a highly-skilled team who can give you ongoing, one-to-one support. This is the way to make fasting work for you.