Sat | Dec 15, 2018

Fit 4 Life | Diet trends to avoid

Published:Wednesday | April 4, 2018 | 12:09 AMMarvin Gordon
Intermittent fasting is such a huge diet trend that it has had other fad diets modelled on it. While studies suggest intermittent fasting has benefits, including fat-loss, there are many pitfalls.

 

Summer is almost upon us and gyms are starting to fill up again. Whether you are a first-timer or it is a part of your yearly routine, the chase for the summer body has officially begun.

Diet and fitness fads find easy victims among the uninformed. Before you try out the hottest diet fads, however, let us explore the pros and cons of a few.

Today, we look at intermittent fasting.

NOT SO FAST

Intermittent fasting is such a huge diet trend that it has had other fad diets modelled on it. While studies suggest intermittent fasting has benefits, including fat-loss, there are many pitfalls.

What is intermittent fasting, though? It is a diet plan in which there are set 'fasting' and 'feeding' periods. Fasting usually lasts 16 hours, while feeding is allowed during an eight-hour window each day. Some plans call for whole-day fasting several times a week.

Sounds simple? Here is why you should avoid it.

Trying to restrict yourself to an eight-hour period each day in which to eat is unsustainable. You will soon find yourself craving the very foods you are trying to avoid.

Research and practice show that people tend to crave starchier foods, with higher calorie content after fasting. Not eating those foods becomes much harder when you have had nothing for nearly a day.

GAINING WEIGHT

Many intermittent fasting programmes end with people actually gaining weight, because, after the first few weeks, they find themselves stockpiling unhealthy foods during fasting periods for binging at feeding time. Whether you were fasting or not, any diet on which you eat a whole pizza followed by doughnuts is doomed to fail.

Another major issue with intermittent fasting is the short window in which you have to get all your nutrients. It is hard enough trying to eat healthy without being restricted to a very short period in which to do so each day.

This problem multiplies with training. Soon you will find your energy levels are very low and you are struggling so hard to get enough nutrients to fuel recovery that you won't even remember which muscle you were trying to grow.

SIDE EFFECTS

Fasting brings many possible side effects, including: headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness, fatigue, low blood pressure and abnormal heart rhythms. It might also affect existing medical conditions or interfere with medication you might be taking.

NOT ALL BAD

This is not to say intermittent fasting is all bad. Many who practise it have reported great results, not only in weight loss but sometimes in overall health as well.

It is always better, however, to follow a nutritional path that doesn't require too much sacrifice or raise too many potential negative effects.

- Marvin Gordon is a fitness coach; email: marvin.gordon@physiqueandfunction.com; yourhealth@gleanerjm.com