Intermittent fasting: Diet fad could lead down dangerous path, experts warn

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As the much-hyped food regimen plan promoted by the wealthy and well-known of Hollywood and Silicon Valley, intermittent fasting has reached peak reputation lately.

But experts concern that the restrictive routine — a quasi-religion adopted by the likes of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and actresses Jennifer Aniston and Vanessa Hudgens — is usually a dangerous cowl for an consuming dysfunction.

“It’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” registered dietitian Tammy Beasley instructed The Post. “I wish intermittent fasting had a warning stamped on it.”


The buzzy fad, touted as a weight-loss and upkeep technique suggests consuming at sure occasions of the day or, in one among its stricter kinds, the week. It was the most-Googled food regimen of 2019 and the second-most-searched food regimen, after keto, in 2020.

The program leaves people lighter and improves their well being, based on a 2019 assessment printed within the New England Journal of Medicine. But newer analysis printed final 12 months by JAMA Internal Medicine discovered it’s no simpler than the typical food regimen for preventing flab

Intermittent fasting has earned praise in the past, but more recent research suggests that it's not all its cracked up to be.

Intermittent fasting has earned reward prior to now, however newer analysis means that it is not all its cracked as much as be.

Still, the conflicting data hasn’t delay the rising numbers of devotees, with many taking it to extremes. Variations embody alternate-day fasting, periodic fasting and so-called time-restricted feeding. Dorsey, for instance, has been identified to eat only one meal per day between 6:30 and 9 p.m., and routinely goes with out meals all through the weekend — claiming he’s extra targeted due to it.

The intense habits of the 44-year-old billionaire partly impressed occasion planner Kristin White to attempt intermittent fasting in November 2018.

 “I’m simply influenced and thought: ‘If it works for a high-flying businessman like him, I should do it too,’ ” mentioned the 54-year-old Seattle resident.

Only permitting herself to eat between three and 10 p.m., White consumed the identical fare every day: a hard-boiled egg with an apple, broiled hen and greens for dinner, adopted by a protein bar or a tiny serving to of peanut butter earlier than mattress.

The 5-foot-9 self-described perfectionist dropped 15 kilos in six weeks and wound up weighing 112 kilos. But her “success” got here at a value.

“I struggled with my focus and was pretty horrible to be around,” mentioned White. Worse, at her annual examination, the physician detected an alarmingly low coronary heart fee and suggested her to hunt assist.

“I struggled with my focus and was pretty horrible to be around.”

— Kristin White, former intermittent quicker

In April 2019, she entered an Alsana residential therapy heart in California, the place her consuming dysfunction was addressed by workers together with Beasley, vice chairman of scientific vitamin providers. Happily, the anorexia and orthorexia survivor is now at a a lot more healthy weight and mindset.

“Intermittent fasting was another excuse for me to get in-depth with controlling my body,” White mentioned. “But it accelerated everything for me.”


Indeed, Lynn Slawsky, government director of the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, mentioned the stylish food regimen can lead to dangerous behaviors.

“Your body is being starved when intermittent fasting happens,” mentioned Slawsky. “People may develop binge eating disorder or bulimia as a result, leading to all sorts of other physical and psychological problems.”

She added that it may be significantly triggering for weak populations who’re already inclined to disordered consuming — and for whom the food regimen serves as a canopy.

“It’s an easy way to explain why you don’t want to go for dinner or consume calories at a party,” Beasley identified. “You can time-stamp it with: ‘I’m on an intermittent quick and it’s not my window.’ It detracts and distracts from the foundation motive why you might be both afraid to eat or be a part of that occasion.”


Former Alsana consumer Maria Rupprecht, 26, rapidly fell into the entice of appropriating intermittent fasting, which she believes successfully masked her dysfunctional method towards meals.

“I believed: ‘This is socially acceptable,’” she instructed The New York Post. “The whole world was doing the thing the professionals were telling me was unhealthy.”

The 5-foot-6 nanny refused all meals and snacks between 7 p.m. and the next midday, shedding 40 kilos in three months. She recorded her lowest weight of 125 kilos in 2016.

“I missed my friends’ birthdays and graduation parties because I didn’t want to be eating outside of my time window,” mentioned Rupprecht, who was finally recognized with anorexia.

Now in restoration and at a wholesome weight, the newlywed from St Louis is efficiently managing her relationship with meals and is ready to qualify as a licensed skilled counselor in October 2022. In the meantime, she warns how the potential dangers related to intermittent fasting are doubtless exacerbated by the aggressive nature of its Type A disciples.

“I would compare myself to others,” Rupprecht mentioned, describing how she felt stress to increase her hours with out sustenance. “My window would finish at 7 p.m., however then I might have a pal who’d solely do it [eat] between 1 and three p.m.

“A couple of buddies of mine are in that world and are [still] not recognized.”


This article initially appeared in The New York Post. If you or somebody you’re keen on is combating an consuming dysfunction, you may get assist. Call the National Eating Disorder Association helpline at (800) 931-2237 or go to Or name the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders helpline at (630) 577-1330 or go to

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