9 Intermittent Fasting Side Effects That Might Derail Your Weight Loss Goals

9 Intermittent Fasting Side Effects That Might Derail Your Weight Loss Goals

Intermittent fasting (IF) is one of the best dietary approaches for weight loss and health improvement. It has gained immense popularity due to its potential health benefits and quick weight loss effects. From Hugh Jackman to Halley Berry, a lot of Hollywood celebrities swear by this powerful and effective intermittent fasting schedule that has transformed their physique and improved their health.

Its appeal lies in its simplicity and flexibility. IF allows individuals to structure their eating patterns around periods of fasting and eating as per their choice, allowing them to follow the diet as per their lifestyle and work routine.

But just like many other weight loss diet plans, Intermittent fasting may not be suitable for everyone. Here are 9 potential side effects of intermittent fasting that might indicate it’s not the best fit for you:

1. Increased Hunger and Cravings

One common side effect of intermittent fasting plan is heightened hunger and intense cravings, particularly during fasting periods. After all, it is not easy to ask your body to go without food for 16 hours every day! While most people learn to cope with these constant food cravings, some individuals find it difficult. This leads to lower mood and energy during fasting and overeating during the eating window, potentially sabotaging weight loss with intermittent fasting.

So, if you are feeling grouchy, grumpy, or overall irritable during intermittent fasting – and the feeling is not going away – it’s time to consult a board-certified obesity medicine physician like Dr. Mona Lala and get a customized weight loss plan tailored to your needs.

2. Low Energy Levels or Brain Fog

During intermittent fasting, most people tend to skip breakfast so that they can sustain their eating window till late evening. However, many individuals have reported feeling fatigued and having lower energy levels after skipping breakfast. If you are one of them and are experiencing excessive tiredness or mental fog during IF, it could be a sign that your food choices during non-fasting periods are not suitable for your body’s needs or that intermittent fasting doesn’t align well with your lifestyle.

While the intermittent fasting schedule allows flexibility in food choices, focusing on nourishing your body with healthy and wholesome foods is essential for overall well-being. So, pay attention to the nutritional value of the foods you consume. If you notice that eating breakfast boosts your energy levels, listen to your body and prioritize your health needs accordingly.

3. Low Blood Sugar

Extended fasting periods, especially without adequate intake of carbohydrates, can lead to a drop in blood sugar levels. This is because the body relies on glucose (sugar) from food as its primary source of energy, and when fasting, glucose stores become depleted. If you are diabetic and/ or are experiencing symptoms of low blood sugar during intermittent fasting, such as sweating, shakiness, hunger, confusion, or dizziness, it’s crucial to address them promptly.

Consult an intermittent fasting consultant and get your diet tailored to your needs.

4. Digestive Discomfort

Skipping meals or prolonged fasting periods can disrupt the digestive system. It can lead to issues such as bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea. These digestive discomforts may arise due to changes in meal timing and frequency.

So, if you are following intermittent fasting for weight loss and are experiencing digestive discomforts, it’s time to shake up things. Make sure to include a lot of fiber in your diet, drink plenty of water, and incorporate probiotic-rich foods or supplements to support gut health and ease digestive discomfort.

5. Nutrient Deficiencies

Without careful planning and attention to nutrient intake, an intermittent fasting diet plan can result in severe deficiencies in essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients and can lead to various other health complications. This is especially true if fasting periods restrict calories to an extreme level or do not include a balanced variety of foods in your diet.

Make sure to consume a well-rounded, nutritious diet, and do not overly restrict your calorie intake. 

6. Increased Stress Levels

Intermittent fasting can trigger stress responses in the body, including elevated cortisol levels. Chronic stress can have detrimental effects on overall health, including impaired immune function, sleep disturbances, and mood disorders.

Try to manage stress through yoga, meditation, and other mind-relaxing exercises or seek expert help from a certified physician. 

7. Muscle Loss

Extended fasting periods combined with inadequate protein intake or lack of resistance training may contribute to muscle loss over time. This can negatively impact physical strength, metabolism, and body composition.

Make sure to include strength training exercises in your routine.

8. Disordered Eating Patterns

For some individuals, intermittent fasting may lead to obsessive thoughts about food, an unhealthy fixation on meal timing, or the development of disordered eating behaviors. This is particularly concerning for those with a history of eating disorders or vulnerable to restrictive eating habits.

An experienced intermittent fasting consultant can help you overcome your disordered eating patterns.

9. Hormonal Changes

Intermittent fasting can affect hormone levels, especially in women, potentially disrupting menstrual cycles or hormone balance. It’s essential to monitor any hormonal changes and consult with a healthcare provider if there are concerns.

While an intermittent fasting weight loss diet offers numerous health benefits, it’s essential to approach it with caution and be mindful of its potential side effects. Consulting a certified physician can help you get personalized guidance based on your individual health status, goals, and lifestyle factors. Adopting a balanced and sustainable approach to nutrition is key to long-term health and well-being, and a certified coach can help you do just that. So, seek professional guidance and achieve your weight loss goals easily and effectively.

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