Intermittent fasting (IF) is a new approach to dieting, whereby you restrict any consumption of food for a certain period of time. Intermittent fasting is not recommended for people who struggle with binge eating.
This is because binge eating is part of a vicious cycle where a concern about one’s body weight and shape leads to strict dieting that in turn fuels urges and binges. Therefore, a crucial component in the treatment of binge eating is the return to regular, unrestricted eating. Intermittent fasting is considered a restrictive practice and is therefore not advisable for people who have a history of disordered eating.
Whilst there is some evidence that intermittent fasting works for weight loss, the research is mainly based on animal or small sample human studies. A recent randomized controlled trial (Lowe et al., 2020) found that in obese and overweight men and women, intermittent fasting was not any more efficient in weight loss than a regular 3-meals-a-day pattern.
In addition, they found that participants lost mostly lean mass (muscles) and not fat mass (which is the aim for weight loss diets). Intermittent fasting is a relatively new method, whose effectiveness and safety are still under research.
Dr Iakovina Koutoufa