In recent years, the habit of intermittent fasting has become popular as a beneficial activity to lose weight or maintain the line. However, many nutritionists report contraindications to health of this type of diet in certain situations.

In this sense, the nutritionist Lourdes de la Bastida, from the Quirónsalud Hospital in Córdoba, explains in an interview given to ' Infosalus ' about the possible health risks of intermittent fasting to compensate for the excesses of the Christmas holidays or even the weekend.

In the same way, this nutrition specialist points out that this type of diet should not be carried out without previously having an assessment from an expert who will analyze the possible alternatives according to the objective desired by the person.

Contraindications of intermittent fasting

The practice of intermittent fasting is a nutritional strategy that is based on not eating food for a generally long period of time and especially at night. In this sense, most people choose to eliminate breakfast or dinner.

Ayuno intermitente
Intermittent fasting

Regarding the contraindications of intermittent fasting for health , the specialist Lourdes de la Bastida clarifies that there are different types of fasting depending on the desired objectives. Although the most common is usually 12 hours, although some are also based on 16 or 20 hours without eating.

In any case, this expert in Nutrition explains that «to start a strategy with fasting you have to make sure that there is a good basis for nutritional education and not use it as the first option of dietary treatment to lose weight or improve any situation of Health”.

In addition, to avoid any type of damage to health , it is essential to take into account different key factors, such as lifestyle, meal times, level of physical activity , sleep quality and emotional state.

Thus, the specialist from the Hospital Quirónsalud de Córdoba argues that in any case, fasting must be based on a healthy eating pattern, with a high presence of fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts.

Based on all these characteristics, intermittent fasting is a contraindicated nutritional strategy in people with diabetes, gastritis, eating disorders, gastroesophageal reflux, poorly controlled thyroid disease, children, adolescents, during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Advantages and disadvantages for the health of fasting

According to nutrition expert Lourdes de la Bastida, intermittent fasting has six main advantages for health:

  1. Helps to lose weight and reduce abdominal fat.
  2. It makes it possible to improve insulin resistance.
  3. Supports the immune system.
  4. Delays the effects of aging.
  5. Reduces stress.
  6. Greater satiety.

However, intermittent fasting also has disadvantages for health, since if the person is not prepared for this type of eating strategy it can cause irritability, anxiety, lack of concentration, sleep problems or nutritional deficiency.

Other damages that intermittent fasting can cause is the feeling of heaviness or heavy digestion, bad breath, hypoglycemia or difficulty in maximizing sports performance.

In conclusion, the nutrition expert argues that «it is important to remember that it can cause changes in eating behavior due to the requirement to maintain a specific feeding schedule, having to 'endure' waiting until the hour of the first meal intake ». Thus, these strict guidelines can lead to obsession.

Therefore, the intermittent fasting strategy should be followed only when the person in question feels comfortable and ready to carry it out, taking into account the quality and nutritional value of the food to be consumed.