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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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HEALTH

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

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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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