What are the side effects of intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a known weight loss strategy. However, it is not for everyone. How to start low carb intermittent fasting also means being aware of the following side effects:
- Hunger: Subjecting your body to hours of not getting food takes practice. When you are hungry, you are likely to develop erratic mood swings and overall irritability. It also affects your daily activities. You might feel tired and unmotivated throughout the day. These are things to consider, especially if you are working or doing any physical activity.
- Fatigue and lack of focus: Most people skip breakfast during intermittent fasting. Not getting enough energy in the morning can affect your whole day. It can make you disoriented and sleepy.
- Orthorexia: Intermittent fasting would not work if you compensate by eating too much during your non-fasting days. This leads people to be conscious about what they eat and how many calories they are taking. Orthorexia is an eating disorder characterized by obsessing over healthy eating. This affects your overall well-being, especially your mental health.
- Low blood sugar: Having low levels of blood sugar is indicated by the presence of frequent nausea and headaches. These may be prevalent during intermittent fasting.
- Changes in menstrual cycle: Studies11 show that intermittent fasting may not be beneficial among women. Sudden weight loss can disrupt your normal cycle, causing missed periods or irregular spotting. Depriving your body of enough calories to function can be detrimental to your health.
- Sleep disturbances: According to research12 intermittent fasting can affect rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep. REM sleep is correlated to better memory, concentration, and cognitive abilities.
What Increases My Risk for Intermittent Fasting Side Effects?
Teaching your body to function without food intake for an extended period of time takes practice. It is normal to feel dizzy, tired, and hungry during this time.
However, you should consult with a doctor first before fasting if you have any of the following conditions:
- Any type of diabetes
- Have low blood pressure
- Diagnosed with eating disorders, such as bulimia, anorexia, and orthorexia
- Pregnant or breastfeeding
- Taking medications
- Have amenorrhea, or absence of menstruation
How to Manage the Side Effects of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting can be difficult, especially for a beginner. It not only takes a physical toll on you but also affects your mental health. Listed below are tips on how to start low carb intermittent more effectively:
Intermittent fasting can cause an upset stomach if you are not getting enough water. Make sure you’re staying hydrated so as to not develop problems with bowel movement. Coffee and tea are fine, as long as in moderation. Herbal teas can suppress appetite.
If you can, do simple exercises before or during an eating window. This can help trigger hunger.
Try different schedules
Do not just stick to one fasting approach. Make sure that what you adapt is convenient for you and fits your daily activities. For example, going on a 24-hour fasts might not be ideal if you are working.
Intermittent fasting will not work if you compensate by overeating during your non-fasting days or eating window. This also includes practicing portion control.
Going on a low-carb diet can aid in weight loss. These foods are slowly digested and absorbed, causing a slower rise in blood sugar level. It restricts intake of carbohydrates found in bread, white rice, and pasta.
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