Actor Manoj Bajpayee recently made an interesting revelation – he has not had dinner for the past 13-14 years. The actor said that he was inspired by his grandfather, who used to be lean and fit and started regularly fasting for 12-14 hours, and gradually did away with dinner completely. Bajpayee said that while this is known as “intermittent fasting” today, he has been practicing this for a long time now. So is intermittent fasting right for you? Dr Rashi Tantia, HOD, Dietetics & Nutrition, Metro Hospital, Faridabad, talks to us about it,
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that involves periods of fasting and non-fasting. While it has gained popularity in recent years, it’s important to understand the pros and cons before considering adopting this eating pattern, says Dr Rashi Tantia.
Is It Wise to Skip Dinner?
Skipping dinner, or any meal for that matter, is a personal decision that should be made based on individual circumstances, shares Dr Tantia. “While some people may find it helpful in achieving their weight loss or health goals, others may find it difficult or even harmful to their health. It’s important to note that regularly skipping meals can lead to nutrient deficiencies, decreased metabolism, and other health problems. It’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your eating patterns,” says Dr Tantia.
Pros and Cons of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting has been shown to have several benefits. Dr Tantia lists out the following:
1. Weight loss: Intermittent fasting can lead to weight loss by reducing overall calorie intake.
2. Improved insulin sensitivity: Fasting has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, which can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
3. Reduced inflammation: Intermittent fasting can reduce inflammation in the body, which is associated with several chronic diseases.
However, there are also some drawbacks to intermittent fasting, says Dr Tantia, such as:
Hunger Pangs: Extended periods of fasting can lead to hunger and cravings, which can be difficult to manage.
Nutrient deficiencies: Fasting can lead to nutrient deficiencies if adequate nutrients are not consumed during eating periods.
Disordered Eating: Intermittent fasting can trigger disordered eating habits in some people, such as binge eating or restrictive eating.
Who Can and Who Should Not Fast Intermittently
Intermittent fasting is not suitable for everyone and should not be attempted without consulting with a healthcare professional, experts say. “Pregnant or breastfeeding women, children, and teenagers, people with a history of disordered eating, and those with certain medical conditions should avoid intermittent fasting. People with diabetes, heart disease, or low blood pressure should also be cautious and monitor their health closely while fasting,” says Dr Tantia.
Other Salient Points to Remember
If you are considering intermittent fasting, there are some important points to keep in mind, shares Dr Tantia:
– Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water and other non-caloric beverages during fasting periods to stay hydrated.
– Eat nutritious foods: During eating periods, choose nutrient-dense foods to ensure that you are getting adequate nutrients.
– Start slow: If you’re new to intermittent fasting, start with shorter fasting periods and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable with the eating pattern.
– Monitor your health: It’s important to monitor your health while fasting, especially if you have underlying medical conditions.
“In conclusion, intermittent fasting can be a helpful tool for some people in achieving their health goals, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before attempting intermittent fasting and to monitor your health closely while fasting,” Dr Tantia says.