Intermittent fasting: Diet fad could lead down dangerous path, experts warn

Because the much-hyped diet plan promoted by the wealthy and well-known of Hollywood and Silicon Valley, intermittent fasting has reached peak recognition in recent times.

However consultants worry that the restrictive routine — a quasi-religion adopted by the likes of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and actresses Jennifer Aniston and Vanessa Hudgens — is usually a harmful cowl for an consuming dysfunction.

“It’s a wolf in sheep’s clothes,” registered dietitian Tammy Beasley informed The Post. “I want intermittent fasting had a warning stamped on it.”


The buzzy fad, touted as a weight-loss and upkeep technique suggests consuming at sure occasions of the day or, in one in every of its stricter types, the week. It was the most-Googled diet of 2019 and the second-most-searched weight loss plan, after keto, in 2020.

This system leaves of us lighter and improves their well being, in response to a 2019 assessment revealed within the New England Journal of Medicine. However more recent research published last year by JAMA Inside Medication discovered it’s no more practical than the common weight loss plan for preventing flab

Intermittent fasting has earned praise in the past, but more recent research suggests that it's not all its cracked up to be.

Intermittent fasting has earned reward prior to now, however more moderen analysis means that it isn’t all its cracked as much as be.

Nonetheless, the conflicting info hasn’t postpone the rising numbers of devotees, with many taking it to extremes. Variations embody alternate-day fasting, periodic fasting and so-called time-restricted feeding. Dorsey, for example, has been recognized to eat only one meal per day between 6:30 and 9 p.m., and routinely goes with out meals all through the weekend — claiming he’s extra targeted due to it.

The extreme habits of the 44-year-old billionaire partly impressed occasion planner Kristin White to strive intermittent fasting in November 2018.

 “I’m simply influenced and thought: ‘If it really works for a high-flying businessman like him, I ought to do it too,’ ” mentioned the 54-year-old Seattle resident.

Solely permitting herself to eat between 3 and 10 p.m., White consumed the identical fare each day: a hard-boiled egg with an apple, broiled rooster and greens for dinner, adopted by a protein bar or a tiny serving to of peanut butter earlier than mattress.

The 5-foot-9 self-described perfectionist dropped 15 kilos in six weeks and wound up weighing 112 kilos. However her “success” got here at a price.

“I struggled with my focus and was fairly horrible to be round,” mentioned White. Worse, at her annual examination, the physician detected an alarmingly low coronary heart price and suggested her to hunt assist.

“I struggled with my focus and was fairly horrible to be round.”

— Kristin White, former intermittent sooner

In April 2019, she entered an Alsana residential treatment center in California, the place her consuming dysfunction was addressed by employees together with Beasley, vice chairman of medical diet companies. Fortunately, the anorexia and orthorexia survivor is now at a a lot more healthy weight and mindset.

“Intermittent fasting was one other excuse for me to get in-depth with controlling my physique,” White mentioned. “However it accelerated all the things for me.”


Certainly, Lynn Slawsky, govt director of the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, mentioned the fashionable weight loss plan can result in dangerous behaviors.

“Your physique is being starved when intermittent fasting occurs,” mentioned Slawsky. “Folks could develop binge consuming dysfunction or bulimia because of this, resulting in all types of different bodily and psychological issues.”

She added that it may be significantly triggering for weak populations who’re already inclined to disordered consuming — and for whom the weight loss plan serves as a canopy.

“It’s a simple method to clarify why you don’t wish to go for dinner or eat energy at a celebration,” Beasley pointed out. “You’ll be able to time-stamp it with: ‘I’m on an intermittent quick and it’s not my window.’ It detracts and distracts from the basis motive why you might be both afraid to eat or be a part of that occasion.”


Former Alsana consumer Maria Rupprecht, 26, rapidly fell into the lure of appropriating intermittent fasting, which she believes successfully masked her dysfunctional strategy towards meals.

“I assumed: ‘That is socially acceptable,’” she informed The New York Put up. “The entire world was doing the factor the professionals had been telling me was unhealthy.”

The 5-foot-6 nanny refused all meals and snacks between 7 p.m. and the next midday, shedding 40 kilos in three months. She recorded her lowest weight of 125 kilos in 2016.

“I missed my mates’ birthdays and commencement events as a result of I didn’t wish to be consuming outdoors of my time window,” mentioned Rupprecht, who was finally recognized with anorexia.

Now in restoration and at a wholesome weight, the newlywed from St Louis is efficiently managing her relationship with meals and is ready to qualify as a licensed skilled counselor in October 2022. Within the meantime, she warns how the potential dangers related to intermittent fasting are doubtless exacerbated by the aggressive nature of its Kind A disciples.

“I’d evaluate myself to others,” Rupprecht mentioned, describing how she felt strain to increase her hours with out sustenance. “My window would finish at 7 p.m., however then I’d have a buddy who’d solely do it [eat] between 1 and three p.m.

“A couple of mates of mine are in that world and are [still] not recognized.”


This text initially appeared in The New York Post. When you or somebody you like is scuffling with an consuming dysfunction, you may get assist. Name the Nationwide Consuming Dysfunction Affiliation helpline at (800) 931-2237 or go to Or name the Nationwide Affiliation of Anorexia Nervosa and Related Problems helpline at (630) 577-1330 or go to

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