The Problems with Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is the popular diet of the moment and a lot of people are saying that it's the key to weight loss, feeling good, and being healthy, but is intermittent fasting healthy and should you try it? As a dietitian, I don't think so. Intermittent fasting is just another form of dieting that's based on when you eat. There are a lot of different fasting patterns the fall under the intermittent fasting umbrella, but the main ones are alternate day fasting, eating normally most days and eating very little food on other days (5:2 diet or The Fast Diet), and eating every day, but limiting eating to an 8 hour window (16:8 diet). Some of these are more restrictive than others, but they all require a person to use external rules and guidelines to dictate their eating which means they all come with the same risks as other diets. Plus, intermittent fasting is often focused on weight loss and appearance and some of the arguments in favor of intermittent fasting simply don't make sense.  Yes, it's true that we don't need to constantly eat in order to survive or even to be healthy, but that doesn't mean that not eating or ignoring our hunger is good for us. Ultimately, we're much better off listening to our hunger and fullness cues and eating a variety of foods.