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Intermittent Fasting, yay or nay?

This is not me trying to be controversial, even though my business coach told me to be controversial. My clients have been asking me about the benefits of intermittent fasting, and I wanted to look into what the research says. In school, we didn’t dive deep into it. Some recent research does say that the benefits to healthy individuals are challenging to pinpoint. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8470960/

One of the fascinating topics in nutrition is the relationship between our gut and our brains. If food affects our brains, we would think that not eating would also affect us, correct? The thing is, though, that establishing individual nutritional needs is not an easy task. In the same way, nutrition research is so challenging; establishing everyone’s nutritional needs is equally tricky. Take, for example, a client who suffers from migraines. Would intermittent fasting be recommended if a lack of food triggers migraines in a particular individual?

Intermittent fasting has been used for weight loss, but its benefits for neurological diseases are starting to be investigated, as the article I linked above mentions. Clinical nutritionists are professionals trained to assess individualized nutritional needs. One of the things I discovered in my journey with food is that there’s an increase in energy based on the need to feed oneself.

So let’s take a person who is constantly eating. What is the evolutionary benefit for that individual to seek food? None.

If a person is well and constantly fed, it’s only natural that the body will recant from having lots of energy. Energy is needed to look for food. At least it was back in the day. Nowadays, we need to only go to the supermarket or the pantry to find enough food to keep us alive for a while. There’s no need to hunt. No need to cope with significant risks while trying to find food. At least for those of us who are privileged to have access to shelter and food regularly.

I also would not recommend intermittent fasting to people with disordered eating or low body weight or muscle mass, just like the author of this article mentions https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8470960/

Another issue I anticipate is the uncontrollable need to overeat after periods of fasting. Restricting food intake usually increases the desire to eat. So, is intermittent fasting a good idea? Maybe. When in doubt, ask a clinical nutritionist! I think there are many ways in nutrition to achieve specific goals, and some might be less traumatic than others.

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