Intermittent fasting can result in weight loss, but can be risky in the long run | fitness | Hindustan Times
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Intermittent fasting can result in weight loss, but can be risky in the long run

According to a recent study, intermittent fasting diets could increase diabetes risk. These findings suggest that fasting-based diets may be associated with long-term health risks and careful consideration should be made before starting such weight loss programmes.

fitness Updated: May 20, 2018 14:39 IST
Meenakshi Iyer
Is fasting the right kind of diet for your weight loss?
Is fasting the right kind of diet for your weight loss?(Shutterstock)

Intermittent Fasting has been a buzzword in the weight loss world. Almost everyone who’s suffering from a bit of extra weight and is looking to shed it has researched into this diet method. This diet is based on the simple technique of fasting to help improve your health. In this diet, you eat a regular meal for 5 days and on 2 days, you fast, which means you keep your calorie count below 500. It is one of the most popular forms of intermittent fasting (IF).

However, according to a recent study, intermittent fasting diets could increase diabetes risk. These findings suggest that fasting-based diets may be associated with long-term health risks and careful consideration should be made before starting such weight loss programmes.

Method for research

In order to investigate whether an intermittent fasting diet could also generate damaging free radicals, Ana Bonassa and colleagues, from the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, examined the effects of fasting every other day on the body weight, free radical levels and insulin function of normal, adult rats, over a 3-month period.

Although the rats’ body weight and food intake decreased as expected over the study period, the amount of fat tissue in their abdomen actually increased. Furthermore, the cells of the pancreas that release insulin showed damage, with the presence of increased levels of free radicals and markers of insulin resistance were also detected.

Findings of the research

Ana Bonassa commented, “This is the first study to show that, despite weight loss, intermittent fasting diets may actually damage the pancreas and affect insulin function in normal healthy individuals, which could lead to diabetes and serious health issues.”

Ana cautioned, “We should consider that overweight or obese people who opt for intermittent fasting diets may already have insulin resistance, so although this diet may lead to early, rapid weight loss, in the long-term there could be potentially serious damaging effects to their health, such as the development of type-2 diabetes.”

According to nutritionist Ritesh Bawri, though fasting has been a well-accepted tool to improve health, one should be cautious before embarking on a diet. “Different people reach differently to such diets, thus it is important to understand the science behind it before starting it.” 

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