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Is Intermittent Fasting Ruining Your Gut Health?

Hey Angels and Alphas,

If you’re starting to read up on intermittent fasting or are already practicing it, chances are you’ve heard something about how it’s bad for gut health. But what does that mean? And what can you do about it? In this blog post, we’ll go over why intermittent fasting might be bad for your gut health, as well as what you can do to counteract the negative effects and keep your gut healthy.

What is Intermittent Fasting (IF)?

Intermittent fasting is a dietary pattern where cycles of prolonged fasting are combined with short periods of unrestricted eating. It differs from other intermittent or calorie-restricted weight loss methods in that it involves cyclic periods of hunger (restriction) alternating with fat-burning (fasting) times, instead of continuous periods without food. 

In general, intermittent fasting is safe and may have some health benefits. However, there is not enough evidence to say it’s an effective treatment for any specific disease or health condition, like diabetes.

The safety of the diet will depend on how low in calories people eat when they’re not eating during their eating window, so people often worry about what they should and shouldn’t eat at all times to be on the safe side.

How Does Your Gut React to Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is generally safe for most people, and those who do have adverse effects tend to only experience short-term symptoms. 

However, some research suggests that while the metabolic changes are relatively benign in the short term, they could contribute to serious long-term health problems like hypertension and weight gain. 

Another problem is that if you don’t eat enough protein during your fast, this may lead to depletion of muscle tissue which will eventually slow down your metabolism. This means that not only do you risk gaining weight in the long-run, but you also might see reductions in your ability to recover from injuries or new activity.

The Many Benefits of Fasting

Fasting is all the rage in recent years as more research reveals the many benefits of fasting. Intermittent fasting or IF is a form of intermittent calorie restriction that involves short-term abstention from food (e.g., 12-24 hours). 

The term was coined in 1963 by Ancel Keys, but has recently gained traction due to numerous clinical trials revealing health benefits for IF practitioners. 

The general idea behind intermittent fasting is that we shouldn’t eat every day because our stomachs don’t work well when they are constantly full and stretched out.

Can Fasting Improve your Gut Health?

This is the question many people are asking themselves, with the trend of intermittent fasting increasing on a yearly basis. Some experts say that fasting will in fact improve your gut health, while others disagree and suggest that it is actually going to worsen your gut health. 

A study conducted in 2013 by Valter Longo, Director of Longevity Studies at USC, had shown that not only does intermittent fasting have great benefits for various bodily systems but can also improve gut health. 

When participants in the study were randomized into two groups, one being fasting and one who ate regularly three times a day; blood samples showed that those who fasted had lower levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) which is associated with aging and increased risk of cancer when combined with reduced dietary restriction.

Is Fasting Harmful to Your Gut Health?

When most people think about intermittent fasting, the first thing that usually pops up in their heads is weight loss. And while those benefits may be a secondary concern to some, research has shown that when following an IF diet, gut health may take a back seat. 

This is due to a natural cycle called autophagy: the elimination of cellular components and intracellular pathogens as part of an organism’s adaptation to a hostile environment. In response to limited nutrients and also as a component of aging, autophagic pathways in our cells degrade proteins and recycle structures such as ribosomes, endoplasmic reticulum and peroxisomes.

The verdict – is fasting good for your gut?

Intermittent fasting has many health benefits like promoting weight loss, reducing the risk of heart disease, and helping control blood sugar. However, fasting may be too much of a good thing when it comes to your gut. 

You see, fasting can actually change the type of bacteria found in your gut which could lead to gastrointestinal issues like bloating. So if you’re trying intermittent fasting and experiencing these GI symptoms, then consider ending your fast early until those issues have resolved.

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