Intermittent Fasting: What Are the Risks and Benefits of This Practice?

The arrival of the beautiful days (also) sounds like diets of all kinds aimed at sculpting your body and achieving the famous “body summer” directive. Among them is intermittent fasting, which consists of alternating periods of eating and fasting spread over specific time windows of the day. However, this method, which is very popular with people trying to lose weight, can have the opposite effect if used incorrectly, warns Dr. Arnaud Cocaul, nutritionist in Paris.

Do not eat anything for 16 hours at a time, preferably in the evening or in the morning, then treat yourself to food (meals, snacks) for the next 8 hours. Here is one of the methods that distinguishes intermittent fasting, a diet that can bring many benefits to the body: strengthening the immune system, improving metabolism…

A food trend that more and more people are embracing in hopes of losing weight, particularly because it helps regulate satiety. However, make sure you use it correctly, stresses nutritionist Arnaud Cocaul, who summarizes good practices and pitfalls to avoid.

Is intermittent fasting for “everyone”?

dr Arnaud Cocaul: Exactly, no. Some manage not to eat anything for 16 hours without any problems, while others quickly feel cravings, dizziness or nausea. In the second case, it is important to listen to your body and not to force or practice for a short time.

Also, beware of people of so-called “normal weight,” because fasting can open the door to eating disorders. Instead, we can first try to change other eating habits: for example, eat more slowly.

Especially since fewer kilos on the scales do not necessarily mean fat loss.

dr Cocaul: In force. Don’t confuse fat loss with muscle loss. If the body does not tolerate the withdrawal of food badly, it will perceive this as an attack and will initially attack the muscle reserve, which is extremely small in comparison to the fat mass.

Weight loss therefore comes at the expense of muscle loss. Once we’ve tapped into fat stores, muscle mass is damaged and needs to be replenished, which in some cases can trigger food cravings and thus promote weight gain.

Are there other risks with intermittent fasting?

dr Cocaul: Strictly speaking, there are no “risks” because eating for a limited time is not a problem in itself, but provided that you do not limit yourself to eating. Therefore, it is important to benefit from medical supervision, or at least be accompanied by a person who knows this method well. In summary, do not embark on the experiment alone without having solid knowledge on the subject.

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