If you want to lose weight in a healthy way, the fasting diet can be an excellent tool in your arsenal of weight loss strategies. But how can you know if it’s safe or healthy to follow, and how can you know the myths from the truths about this diet? Here are ten common myths about the fasting diet that you might have heard, along with the facts and advice that will help you get started with this fast and effective diet today!
1) MYTH: Intermittent fasting is dangerous
False. Intermittent fasting may reduce cancer rates in animals, according to one study. Intermittent fasting, or going without food for 16 hours of the day, is often thought to be bad for your health because it means you’re not getting any nutrients from food. But many studies show that intermittent fasting has more benefits than downsides for healthy adults, and some argue that we should all be doing it–while eating plenty of real, nutritious food–on a regular basis.
2) MYTH: The Fasting diet can cause kidney damage
One of the many reasons that we do not recommend a fasting diet is because this can cause kidney damage. Most of our bodily functions rely on water, including hydration and the elimination of waste. For your kidneys to work at full capacity they need to be properly hydrated and with insufficient fluid intake, they may begin to experience swelling as a result.
3) MYTH: Starving yourself during intermittent fasting causes muscle loss
The truth is that intermittent fasting actually induces muscle preservation in most individuals. And a recent study showed that 12 weeks of intermittent fasting increased lean body mass. Even short-term fasting has been shown to have a positive effect on health and disease risk factors, particularly for diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome.
4) MYTH: The fasting diet causes stress hormones to spike in your body
Your body produces a hormone called cortisol that is released when you’re under stress. When you don’t eat food for a long period of time, this triggers your hunger response, and ultimately cortisol levels in your body spike. This can lead to fat gain or a rebound effect once eating resumes which will make it difficult to lose weight. You may experience difficulty concentrating as well due to high levels of cortisol in your blood stream.
5) MYTH: People who fast have bad breath
Bad breath is a common misconception people make when considering fasting. When your body’s metabolism slows down while you are not eating, you are able to break down food particles in your mouth that can lead to bad breath. However, once you start fasting and break your fast with a healthy meal, this will help balance out things like bacteria levels in your mouth.
6) MYTH: People who fast have crazy mood swings
When you eat, your body will release insulin, a hormone that tells your body to use glucose from the food for energy. When you fast, this is no longer necessary and so blood sugar levels remain low. This can cause hunger pangs and a feeling of being moody. The release of hormones like dopamine and serotonin also drop when you’re fasting. To prevent these hunger pangs or mood swings, drink plenty of water (and unsweetened tea).
7) MYTH: Intermittent fasting makes you live longer
Intermittent fasting is a hot new weight loss trend that has recently emerged. The idea behind intermittent fasting is to cycle between periods of eating and abstaining from food, sometimes for days at a time. Advocates claim that intermittent fasting helps them live longer by reducing their risk of contracting diseases like diabetes or Alzheimer’s. However, there’s little evidence to back up these claims, and intermittent fasting may actually be harmful in the long-term.
8) MYTH: The science behind intermittent fasting is sketchy
Intermittent fasting has a robust history of research, with countless studies and reviews published in reputable journals. In fact, some forms of intermittent fasting (such as time-restricted feeding) have been studied for up to two decades. The consensus is that intermittent fasting can lead to more energy, weight loss, and potentially a lower risk of heart disease. We’re not suggesting you start fasting immediately, but it’s worth looking into if you’re curious about whether it could work for you.
9) MYTH: Intermittent fasting works as well as or better than calorie restriction for weight loss
The biggest misconception about intermittent fasting is that it confers some degree of metabolic advantage or fat-burning magic, even if total caloric intake is matched. To date, there is no evidence in humans to support these claims. Intermittent fasting will work as well as calorie restriction if they are matched. The most important thing is to establish your nutritional targets and then choose a diet that fits your goals and lifestyle.
10) MYTH :Intermittent fasting doesn’t help with hunger and cravings
Hunger and cravings are experienced throughout the day, not just before meals. The feeling of hunger can occur with or without sugar levels being low. It is often more pronounced when sugar levels fall below 75 grams per day. For example, when a person has already burned through their stored glycogen in their liver, hypoglycemia sets in and hunger pangs are felt even if only a small amount of sugar is consumed.