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5 Reasons Why You Should NOT Try Intermittent Fasting

Here's why you shouldn't get on this fad diet.

It's important to consult your doctors with any medical concerns, and before making any changes to your health plan.

Intermittent fasting. It's the new diet your sister has been raving about and the eating routine your best friend swears has changed her life for the better. Countless mobile applications boast of intermittent fasting timers with nutritious recipes and added habit trackers.

But while this new lifestyle choice is currently trending with its promise of losing weight rapidly, you should remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition and weight loss.

The best way to go is to always listen to your body. The reason fad diets like juice cleansing, water-only diets, and intermittent fasting don't work long-term is mainly because your body wasn't built for that kind of change long-term. If you've been eye-ing giving intermittent fasting a try, here are 5 things you should consider before you do.

Intermittent Fasting Can Disrupt Your Sleep

While there is preliminary evidence that intermittent fasting can improve sleep by keeping you from waking up in the middle of the night. The opposite is also true. Intermittent fasting can also disrupt your sleep cycle and lead to restless nights where you wake up not feeling rested at all.

Multiple studies have revealed that fasting can decrease your amount of REM sleep, the type of sleep that improves memory, mood, and learning capacity.

Poor sleeping patterns can disrupt your workflow during the day. You would not be able to concentrate as much, are more inclined to take naps, and might be more irritable. Sleep insufficiency has also been found to be linked to problems with your blood sugar levels, brain toxin buildup, and obesity.

Instead of intermittent fasting, you can instead just set fixed eating times for your 3-5 meals of the day. This controls midnight snacking and can improve the quality of your sleep naturally.

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Intermittent Fasting Could Make You Less Aware or Alert

When you fast, your body goes into starvation mode.

"Animals who are starved shouldn't feel playful," Jennifer Gaudiani, an internal medicine doctor, said "They should feel concerned and focused. They may interpret that initially as productive, but it's the brain saying, 'I don't have enough food.'"

In the long term, intermittent fasting can lead to diminished alertness and awareness because the body doesn't consume enough calories during a fasting window to provide adequate energy. Fasting could also lead to dizziness, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.

You may even have a fainting spell if you restrict your caloric intake too much and get too absorbed into the non-eating windows of the intermittent fasting regime. Always remember that at the first sign of dizziness and light-headedness, you should take a small snack to quickly supply your body with the energy boost it needs.

Intermittent Fasting Can Lead to Muscle Loss

One of the intermittent fasting's most marketable benefits is that it can induce the breakdown of your fat reserves but what they fail to mention is that that's not the only thing it will reduce. Metabolism is a bit more complex.

Your body burns a combination of fats and carbohydrates and after about six hours or so, when there aren't enough carbohydrates (because you started fasting) and the ones stored in your liver have been depleted, you begin to convert some lean tissue into carbohydrate. The ratio of how much fat to muscle you lose may vary depending on your body composition, protein intake, and activity level.

You may look a lot thinner but if muscle loss also happened then you would look frailer and older instead of the younger, healthy glow you were aiming for. Rely on your good judgment and intuition. Think thoroughly about what feels best and how in sync it would be with your body's needs.

Remember, sustainability is key! Your chosen diet should not only be for a couple of weeks until you drop a dress size to fit into that sexy dress for the party. This is a lifestyle choice and whatever diet change you want to do should be something you can stick with throughout your life.

Intermittent Fasting Can Increase Levels of Cortisol

Depriving yourself of food for an extended period of time can increase levels of cortisol, the body's stress hormone. Whatever positive health benefits you may experience or hope to have will be negated by your increased stress levels.

High cortisol levels are also associated with fat storage, you may lose weight in the first few months of intermittent fasting but it is not advisable in the long run because you'll likely just get the weight back in fat after your first good run.

Fasting can be extremely tiring. During the times in which you're fasting, you'll have lower energy levels than normal and may not want to be out and about. You may feel like you just need to rest to conserve the energy you do have. You may get depressed and turn asocial.

A less stressful way to lose weight would be to improve your nutrition. Healthy, whole, plant-based meals can make you full while eating less and the added vitamins and minerals will help you manage your stress instead of adding to it.

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Intermittent Fasting Increases Your Risk of Rebound Rating

Limiting food intake to just eight hours each day or severely restricting calories are two popular fasting approaches that both lead to intense cravings. While you feel hungry, your mind will be preoccupied with thoughts of the food you can eat during your eating window or how many calories every bite you're having has.

Rebound binge-eating is a high possibility. Some who attempted to cut off eating after 3 pm (with the intention of eating again at 7 am the next day) have prolonged lingering thoughts about food, or are extremely tempted when they see other family members eat.

Instead of lessening their caloric intake, it does more harm than good because you will end up overeating to overcompensate for the time you restricted yourself.

The cornerstone of most intermittent fasting programs is timing, rather than a good choice of food. Therefore any food, may it be unhealthy and with zero nutritional content is allowed. Food that provides good nutrition is also not promoted. For this reason, those doing intermittent fasting don't necessarily learn to eat a healthy diet.

If you do manage to stay with your strict schedule, you may just end up eating sweets and junk during your eating window since you think you can eat anything during that time. In the end, you just inconvenienced yourself without having the results you want because your approach is all wrong.

If you have had food binges in the past or are experiencing some of them now then that's a clear indicator that intermittent fasting is not for you. Instead, choose to eat healthily and become a weekday vegetarian or limit your sweets to just one piece per day and only half a pint of ice cream at most as a once a week treat.

Related: 8 Reasons to be a Weekday Vegetarian | 6 Questions Vegans Always Get

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Instead of intermittent fasting, lose weight the healthy way with Vegin' Out.

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We may earn a commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we back. Newsweek AMPLIFY participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites.