Intermittent Fasting: Increased Cravings And Other Side Effects You Cannot Ignore – NDTV

Intermittent Fasting: Increased Cravings And Other Side Effects You Cannot Ignore

Intermittent fasting can reduce appetite if you don’t do it the right way


  • Intermittent fasting can increase cravings
  • You need to eat healthy and filling foods in eating phase
  • Avoid starving yourself during fasting phase and break it if needed

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern which involves regular periods of fasting and eating. In this diet plan, one needs to fast for 10, 12, 14 or 16 hours, depending how the body responds to fasting. Whenever you feel hungry, it is important that you feed yourself and not starve. It is when you do the latter that it may show negative side effects like slow metabolism and lost appetite. Every diet plan comes with a set of pros and cons. It is only when you follow them with the right pattern that the likes of intermittent fasting and keto diet show effective results.

Intermittent fasting: Side effects you must know

When you follow this diet plan diligently and do not starve your body when hungry, it may offer health benefits like weight loss, better digestion, detoxification and even reversal of type 2 diabetes. However, drinking coffee or tea during the fasting period, and fasting for as long as 16 hours can lead to loss of appetite.

1. Loss of appetite: Studies have found that intermittent fasting may reduce appetite over time, and this may help with weight loss too. But, nutritional deficiencies, fatigue, headache and lack of energy are likely to follow. The body needs good food and nutrition to function effectively throughout the day, and lack of it will simply do way more harm than good.

Also read: Weight Loss: Kareena’s Nutritionist Explains How You Can Make The Right Diet Choice

2. Disturbed sleep: For some people, sleeping on an empty stomach may be difficult. One is quite likely to feel hungry at 11 pm or 12 in the midnight, if the dinner was done at 7 pm or 8 pm. During the initial few days or weeks of intermittent fasting, it may get difficult to adapt to the change in eating pattern. And since one is simply not allowed to eat food in fasting phase, sleep may be disturbed.

3. Increased cravings, mood swings and irritability: Even though intermittent fasting is liberal in terms of carbs, fats and protein, the fasting period of it works just like calorie restriction. So, practicing portion control and eating healthy, preferably low-calories foods is what you need to effectively lose weight. Increased cravings, mood swings and irritability are some of the top side effects of calorie-restrictive diets.


Do not starve yourself to fast in intermittent fasting
Photo Credit: iStock

Also read: 5 Mistakes You Need To Avoid When Satisfying Hunger Pangs Between Meals

4. Slow metabolism: Elongated fasting periods and lack of sufficient nutrition during the eating phase can slow down body’s metabolism in case of intermittent fasting. Experts suggest that this kind of diet plan must be avoided by people with diabetes, those with history of eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, and pregnant or breastfeeding women.

5. Too much reliance on caffeine: Some health experts recommend drinking tea or coffee during eating phase of intermittent fasting. Over a period of time, these stimulants can make you go for hours without feeling the need to eat. Too much reliance on coffee during the fasting phase may become an inevitable side effect of intermittent fasting.

To make intermittent fasting work for you, it is important that you eat healthy, filling and nutritious foods during eating phase. Cut down on the duration of fasting phase if your body craves food. Avoid unhealthy snacking and be physically active; regular exercise is a must.