One caution with intermittent fasting is what’s missing when you’re only consuming one or two meals per day.
Inadequate intake of plant foods
We know fruits, vegetables and whole grains are beneficial in a number of ways. Firstly, the wide variety of micronutrients they provide. Osana dietitians recommend to include as many different colours and types as possible in the diet. A recent study, The American Gut Project showed significantly greater diversity in the gut microbiome of those who consume 30+ different plant foods each week (plant foods include vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and grains). When it comes to vegetables it is very difficult to consume all 5 serves in one or two meals.
Calcium is super important for strong, healthy bones. And the problem, quite often, is that a person will not realise they have impaired bone density (osteopaenia or osteoporosis) until they fall and suffer a fracture. Preventing low bone density is much easier than reversing it. We know that to reach the recommended Calcium intake, we need 2-3 serves of dairy (or other Calcium rich foods) per day.
We know protein is important for muscle growth and repair. Beyond this it is important for a healthy, functioning immune system and healthy hormone production. As muscle mass naturally decreases with age, regular protein doses are of benefit. Sarcopenia (or loss of muscle mass) is naturally going to happen with age- reducing ability to perform activities of daily living. One to two large protein doses don’t provide the same response as multiple doses spread throughout the day when we are looking at building or maintaining muscle.
Metabolic rate can suffer
Quite often when people consume less calories, they will not lose weight as their body adjusts to this new intake. This can look like a person reducing their NEAT (non exercise activity thermogenesis). This can include things like reduced fidgeting and movement that is unintentional. This is often displayed in tiredness and lethargy in people attempting to diet. In females, this can also present as fertility issues- the body shutting down (perceived) non-essential processes.
So before, using intermittent fasting as the answer to your weight loss worries, consider everything you’re NOT getting on such a restrictive diet. As always Osana dietitians are on hand to assess your individual health goals and help you achieve them.
Hilton, S. (2018, May 15). First Major Results of “American Gut Project” Published, Retrieved September 30 2019 from https://anesthesiology.