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Intermittent fasting: why it could be bad for you

Intermittent fasting: why it could be bad for you

  • November 15, 2020
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It began with the 5:2 regimen, and now stop-go dieting is a way of life for many. As a new study suggests it could do harm, John Naish looks at the evidence

John Naish

Thursday October 15 2020, 12.01am, The Times

65%: the percentage of lean muscle mass lost by some dieters who went on an intermittent fast for three months


Gulp. Is it all over for intermittent fasting, one of the world’s most popular weight-loss methods? The much-touted stop-go regimen involves severely limiting calories on certain days of the week or for specified hours during the day. Popular among the many variations are the 5:2 (five days eating normally, two days fasting) and the 16:8 (a daily eight-hour window for eating, with 16 hours’ abstinence).

Whatever the model, the basic weight-loss premise is that you take in fewer calories than you burn overall. A promised bonus is that intermittent fasting may help to reduce your appetite by slowing your metabolism, making self-denial easier.

Garnish this with the fact that you feel starved for only part of the time rather than all the time, as with

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