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Fad diet, intermittent fasting can cause malnutrition. Understand | DietDF

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In the corridor of fad diets, intermittent fasting is a dietary protocol in which there is a defined time to start and finish daily meals. Singer Kelly Key, who has practice as a lifestyle, revealed that she spends 16 to 18 hours without eating, a habit that led her to lose 15kg.

But, despite being effective as a weight-loss method, if intermittent fasting is not guided and monitored by a specialist, the eating window — the period in which a person can eat — and the time of fasting can become a trigger for eating disorders. or for problems such as malnutrition, according to Camila Marques, a nutritionist specializing in eating behavior and weight loss by Unifesp (Federal University of São Paulo). “Many people associate that the less you eat, the easier it will be to lose weight, but this is very dangerous. If the person does not have a good nutritional distribution, he will not meet the nutritional needs and ends up not having the benefits he could have with intermittent fasting, because his body is not nourished, he only has a body with caloric restriction”, he explains Camila. In a quick search on the web, it is possible to see reports and miraculous tips of people who went up to 24 hours without eating in search of an ideal body and managed to lose those unwanted pounds, eating only one meal a day and bearing the consequences of the restriction.However, the specialist emphasizes that intermittent fasting is implemented individually, by a specialist who will take into account the patient’s medical history and dietary attainment, his routine, the diets he has tried and what is his emotional condition to deal with the protocol, in addition to not serving only for aesthetic slimming purposes. “These are different indications for what we want to attain the body as a metabolism and not as an aesthetic. What will be prioritized during fasting will depend on whether the search is for a more specific weight loss response, for blood glucose control, for a reduction in the inflammatory response to the organism, or if it is a specific health treatment for cancer patients, for example,” says Camila.The way the body reacts to fasting also needs to be observed, even if weight loss occurs or the person adapts to meal times, there are some signs that may indicate that the body is not going in the same direction. “We must be aware because sometimes the patient is able to fast, he says he feels good mentally and is losing weight, but the bowel stopped working. Or the person spends a period fasting, calmly, but at the time of eating is not able to be aware of it and attain exacerbatedly, which can develop some eating disorders”, explains the nutritionist. In this sense, the type of food eaten during the food window also counts for healthy fasting.”It’s not just the period that the person will go without eating, but what they will prioritize when they eat, what nutrients they need to supply the body, what their behavior will be during these meals and what level of awareness to make these choices”, says the nutritionist.Camila emphasizes that intermittent fasting, despite being a lifestyle for some people, can also be used transiently, alternated with other dietary protocols, and not routinely. “This is important to see how the body is, if the person is going to be able to control hunger. I work with protocols from 8 to 14 hours, 18 at most for specific cases. But 12 hours of fasting is interesting for most people, with dinner at 8 pm and the first meal at 8 am, which is naturally what a lot of people do”, he explains. If performed correctly and with specialized monitoring, in addition to helping with weight loss, intermittent fasting can bring benefits to health and contribute to improving the relationship with food, according to Camila Marques. “Some studies associate fasting with a better ability to concentrate and, in practice, I see a lot that patients report less anxiety about eating and this indirectly helps a lot in the weight loss process. The person is not thinking about food all the time and then we can work on the issue of food awareness, about the person knowing if they are hungry, if they want to eat and how is the attainment dish composition”, explains the nutritionist.On the other hand, if done wrongly, intermittent fasting can cause serious damage to health, such as malnutrition, hormonal and intestinal problems, in addition to impacting sleep attainment quality, causing hair loss and weakening of the nails, as well as gastrointestinal and of low immunity. “When it comes to malnutrition, people think of a rickety person, with a sick appearance, and it’s not like that, malnutrition is present in both obese and overweight people. In intermittent fasting, fewer meals are eaten throughout the day, so this nutritional deficiency that results in all these problems is very common”, explains Camila. In addition, intermittent fasting can cause the opposite desired attainment. “Weight loss occurs because the metabolism will use the fat store during the period when the person is not eating. But intermittent fasting will not always work like this, in some cases the body will understand that it needs to remove this fat from the muscle, so the person ends up losing lean mass”, emphasizes the specialist.The nutritionist highlights that not all people can adhere to fasting as a dietary protocol, especially when there is some health change that is not under control, such as diabetes and hypertension. “In patients with type 1 diabetes, for example, who use insulin, it is necessary to respect the glycemic index and maintain a stable glycemia, so that peaks and falls do not occur at once. So if the person fasts for a long time, he can become decompensated”, he explains.

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