How to treat the side effects of fasting

Everything has side effects, but here's how to treat the negatives of fasting.

1. Intermittent fasting may make you feel sick.

Fasting may give people symptoms such as headaches, lethargy, crankiness, and constipation depending on the number of hours. To reduce this you may want to consider switching from ADF fasting to periodic fasting or a time-restricted eating plan that allows you to eat every day within a certain time period.

2. May cause binge eating.

"It's human nature for people to want to reward themselves after doing very hard work, such as exercise or fasting for a long period of time, so there is a danger of indulging in unhealthy dietary habits on non-fasting days," says Dr. Frank Hu, chair of the department of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

You have to treat this yourself. Try to remember your goal or make meals for after you are fasting.

3. Intermittent fasting may cause older adults to lose too much weight.

While intermittent fasting shows promise, there is even less evidence about the benefits or how fasting might affect older adults. Human studies have looked mostly at small groups of young or middle-aged adults, for only short periods of time.

But we do know intermittent fasting could be risky in some cases. "If you're already marginal as far as body weight goes, I'd be concerned that you'd lose too much weight, which can affect your bones, overall immune system, and energy level," says registered dietitian Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital.

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