Recently, a new study on intermittent fasting has shown another side of that practice which was not a part of previous research. While it does conclude that intermittent fasting is beneficial in not only losing weight but improving health overall in the long run, it also suggests that not every person may benefit from it.
Intermittent fasting, which is also referred to as intermittent energy restriction, is an umbrella term for different diets that include fasting in-between meal timings. The neuroscience professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the co-author of the study, Mark Mattson, says that the diets which include intermittent fasting can be significantly different but the fasting periods follow the two standard timing options.
In some of the diets, people are able to have a meal after every six to eight hours. Other diets have a much longer time gap between the meals where a person can have two restricted meals any two days of the week. Mattison adds that such changes in daily consumption can make a number of improvements in the body.
For instance, diets with intermittent fasting can cause weight loss, help with blood pressure issues, increase resistance to stress, decrease resting heart rate and blood lipid levels, and improve blood sugar regulation. Several studies have reported these benefits in both animal and human-based clinical trials.
The researchers in the new study, whose findings appear in the New England Journal of Medicine, state that intermittent fasting and its advantages for human health may soon be added to the curricula of medical schools. However, the director of cardiovascular health and lipidology at Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital in New York, Dr. Guy L. Mintz, says that the practice of intermittent fasting can be often difficult to follow.
A number of studies on people following a diet with intermittent fasting have shown that consuming less on meal days and more on restriction days is common while fasting. Often, people also forget to keep a check on time and take meals at different timing of the day. The main issue, according to Mintz, is for people who are not typically recommended to follow any diets.
Mintz also emphasizes how certain groups of people to not practice intermittent fasting including those with medical conditions such as diabetes patients. Older adults and people who are not overweight should also not follow any diets with the practice. Where intermittent fasting may be beneficial, it may not be suitable at all for some people and may even cause unwanted effects.
For example, diabetic people on medication may have unanticipated fluctuations in the blood sugar leading to conditions such as hypoglycemia which can further cause complications and even death if not treated on time.
For the time being, intermittent fasting is mostly recommended to people struggling with weight loss issues as it can provide effective and fast results that can be maintained over time if it is followed correctly and strictly