intermittent fasting for health

Intermittent Fasting And Health: All You Need To Know

Intermittent fasting is an eating plan that is used for health as well as weight loss and alternates between fasting and eating regularly. You only eat during a specific time window each day during the eating pattern.

We here at Plato Weight Management frequently receive questions about intermittent fasting due to its popularity in society today, not just about its effect on weight loss but also on health.

Therefore, in this article, we will be breaking down the advantages and disadvantages of undertaking this eating pattern.

We’ll discuss:

  • Intermittent fasting
  • Advantages of intermittent fasting for health
  • Disadvantages of intermittent fasting for health

If you would like to know more about the diet itself, please check out or lesson here:

Intermittent fasting

At the moment, we do not entirely understand the particular processes through which intermittent fasting benefits us.

However, it is believed that the catalyst for the eating pattern’s health advantages involves cells repeatedly switching between utilizing glucose for energy and ketone bodies.

And, yes, this is like how the health advantages of the keto diet are considered to be acquired, however with keto, we do not switch to utilizing glucose for energy nearly as frequently.

A normal carb rich diet consists of 3 meals and snacks each day and supplies more than enough glucose to fuel our cells.

However, during fasting, glucose depletes and the liver responds by turning fatty acids into ketone bodies, an action also referred to as ketosis.

Ketone bodies offer consistent, fat-sourced energy and seem to impact proteins and molecules associated with health.

Now, what are some of the potential advantages and disadvantages of intermittent fasting in terms of health, other than weight loss?

Advantages of intermittent fasting for health

Well, the first is that intermittent fasting may aid in illness prevention and disease risk reduction.

For example, research by Varady et al. 2009 found that bad cholesterol levels were lowered by around a quarter after an 8-week fasting period, while triglyceride levels were reduced by up to a third.

In addition, the same study discovered that the subjects’ good cholesterol levels were unchanged. 

And what’s the difference between triglycerides and cholesterol? 

Well, even though both are lipids that circulate in the bloodstream, triglycerides store unused calories and supply energy to your cells, whereas cholesterol creates cells and several hormones like testosterone.

Therefore, a decrease in the two lipids is significant since both can lead to arterial wall thickening, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

However, its debatable if these advantages are derived solely from calorie restriction of the diet rather than fasting intervals.

Hypertension is another risk factor for cardiovascular disease that may be lowered as a result of fasting.

In a 2018 study by Antoni, Johnston, Collins, and Robertson, it was discovered that intermittent fasting lowered hypertension in people by 10% when compared to regular diets, which actually increased hypertension by 2%.

Next, the eating regimen could help with inflammation

A 2018 study by Gasmi et al. on the efficacy of time-limited eating on immunological responses indicates that preventing inflammation may be reached via a reduction in natural killer cells.

However, the sample size of this study was modest (40 males), and bigger scale research is needed to further understand this.

Another advantage of the eating regimen is that it supports optimal brain function, which may be accomplished in two ways.

Fasting boosts brain neurogenesis by producing brain cells and nerve tissues, which improves cognitive function, memory, attention and mood.

Additionally, intermittent fasting reduces brain fog by undergoing ketosis, similar to the keto diet.  

It’s important to note that brain fog isn’t a medical disorder in and of itself, but rather a sort of cognitive dysfunction, with many people experiencing it as mental tiredness with recollection issues, a lack of mental clearness and poor attention.

Brain fog isn’t something you won’t have experienced before, as many factors can already bring it about, such as nutrient inadequacy, lack of sleep, and an inactive lifestyle.

It’s also worth mentioning that intermittent fasting’s tendency to cause a calorie deficit itself may improve brain function alongside the effects of ketosis.

A 2019 study by Leclerc et al. for example, found that two years of calorie restriction resulted in a considerable increase in memory.

Moreover, intermittent fasting may aid in muscle retention when cutting weight.

An explanation for this might be the previously noted increase in growth hormone levels achieved from intermittent fasting.

Human growth hormone has been shown to increase muscular development, strength, and ability, as well as aid in injury rehabilitation.

According to Hartman et al. (1992), human growth hormone levels are 500% greater after two days of fasting without or with very low calories than before fasting begins.

Although, we, of course, do not advise to fast for two days!

Furthermore, it may help with Glucose Control.

Before we get into the literature, I think it’s crucial to explain the distinction between insulin sensitivity and insulin resistance.

Insulin is a hormone that lets glucose (blood sugar) into cells, where it may be utilized for energy.

Because insulin allows more glucose into the cells, there will be subsequently less blood sugar available in our bloodstream.

Now, Insulin resistance occurs when cells stop responding appropriately to insulin and stop enabling glucose to enter your cells as quickly.

In contrast, Insulin sensitivity occurs when your cells are responsive to insulin and so allow glucose to enter cells more efficiently.

In other words, if you have insulin resistance, you also have poor insulin sensitivity and vice versa.

As a result, insulin resistance is bad for your overall health, while insulin sensitivity is good.

However, be aware, guys that insulin resistance is incredibly common.

An estimated one-third of people in the United States is has been indicated to have this condition (Ford, 2005).

In animal models, intermittent fasting has indeed been found to improve insulin sensitivity (Wan, Camandola, & Mattson, 2003).

However, the science supporting this in human studies is mixed.

While two studies revealed that daily calorie restriction or 24 hours fasting three times per week can reduce type 2 diabetes, a 12-month paper comparing insulin sensitivity between fasting and non-fasting groups found no benefits (de Cabo & Mattson, 2019; Trepanowski et al., 2017).

So, this only goes to show that there hasn’t been sufficient research done to really grasp the impact of fasting on health.

Also, note that diabetics should be cautious about attempting intermittent fasting and should check with their doctor beforehand.

Its calorie restriction combined with the concurrent use of anti-diabetic medicines may result in severe hypoglycemia (dangerously low blood sugar).

Confusion, hunger, decreased attention, a high heart rate, and perspiration are some of the earliest possible side effects.

Furthermore, not eating enough and missing meals are frequent triggers for the disorder too.

So, this only goes to show that there hasn’t been sufficient research done to really grasp the impact of fasting on health.

Also, note that diabetics should be cautious about attempting intermittent fasting and should check with their doctor beforehand.

Its calorie restriction combined with the concurrent use of anti-diabetic medicines may result in severe hypoglycemia (dangerously low blood sugar).

Confusion, hunger, decreased attention, a high heart rate, and perspiration are some of the earliest possible side effects.

Furthermore, not eating enough and missing meals are frequent triggers for the disorder too.

To read our blog about the effects of Intermittent Fasting on weight loss, please follow the link here.

Disadvantages of intermittent fasting for health

Despite the intermittent fasting diet having many benefits, its disadvantages are not without significance.

Fasting is also not suggested for those with hormonal abnormalities, the elderly, and pregnant and breastfeeding women. Moreover, those with eating problems, as well as underweight persons, are not advised to undertake the intermittent fasting diet (Malinowski et al., 2019).

Fluctuations in glucose concentration, for instance, create instability and imbalance in the older aged population, increasing the risk of falling and, as a result, fractures.

In addition, incorporating the dietary regimen around sports might be tough.

Guys, no diet is sustainable if you’re unable to adapt it to your lifestyle as needed.

By way of illustration, what happens if you wish to fit going to the gym into your schedule while undergoing intermittent fasting?

Of course, you could schedule your eating period in the morning before you workout, but what happens if you can only work out late some evenings or very early on the weekends?

Moreover, another con which is inevitable is hunger!

Especially, when you are just starting out.

Next, it may affect your social life also.

Although intermittent fasting might be relatively easy to maintain during the week when you have a consistent routine, what about on weekends when your schedule is likely to be turned upside down?

Given that the majority of our social lives take place over food and beverages on Friday and Saturday nights, do you believe it will be possible to consistently change your calorie window from, say, the mornings between Monday and Thursday to the evenings between Friday and Sunday?

You could, of course, continue to fast and refrain from indulging, but is this feasible in the long run?

Not just that, but during fasting windows, you will have lower energy levels as a result, which may make you not want to go out and party, for instance, or result in you wanting to stay home and relax to save the energy you do have.

Also, as stated previously in this blog post, the research is still in its early stages.

One issue for the longer-term studies of intermittent fasting is actually getting research participants to keep to the restrictive dietary patterns.

There is also some controversy regarding whether the actual fasting improves health or if it is merely the calorie reduction.

Guys, there is no convincing evidence yet that fasting offers health advantages above any other weight-loss intervention.

It can be hard to stick with long-term.

Intermittent fasting needs you to fast for a set amount of time, then consume a certain amount of calories in a set window of time, and repeat in order to have a caloric deficit for weight loss.

Due to food desires, habits, reduced energy, and the discipline necessary to keep to the specified time frames around your periods of the eating pattern, this extended time period of zero-calorie consumption might be difficult to maintain over time.

The final disadvantage is that it is also difficult to maintain over time due to how much self-control is necessary to not eat when you should be fasting and not bingeing when it’s time to eat.

To read our blog about the 5 things you must know about Cleanse and Detox diets, please follow the link here.


In the end, if you’re a healthy adult, intermittent fasting is not likely to harm you as long as you do not possess any of the previously warned health conditions.

However, I would still advise you to visit a doctor before embarking on any new eating plan.

In sum, there are numerous positives to intermittent fasting, such as the control it teaches us; yet, it is too early to know whether the potential advantages exceed the unwanted disadvantages.

As we’ve shown, intermittent fasting isn’t necessary for excellent health; merely limiting your calorie intake is sufficient.

If you are interested in undertaking one of our evidence-based and results-backed Plato Weight Management programs, please make sure to check what program may be suitable for you at this link or contact us here!

You can find out what some of our previous clients had to say about the program on our success stories page!


Varady, K. A., Bhutani, S., Church, E. C., & Klempel, M. C. (2009). Short-term modified alternate-day fasting: A novel dietary strategy for weight loss and cardioprotection in obese adults. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 90(5), 1138-1143. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.28380

Antoni, R., Johnston, K. L., Collins, A. L., & Robertson, M. D. (2018). Intermittentv. continuous energy Restriction: Differential effects on postprandial glucose and lipid Metabolism Following matched weight loss in overweight/obese participants. British Journal of Nutrition, 119(5), 507-516. doi:10.1017/s0007114517003890

Gasmi, M., Sellami, M., Denham, J., Padulo, J., Kuvacic, G., Selmi, W., & Khalifa, R. (2018). Time-restricted feeding influences immune responses without compromising muscle performance in older men. Nutrition, 51-52, 29-37. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2017.12.014

Leclerc, E., Trevizol, A. P., Grigolon, R. B., Subramaniapillai, M., McIntyre, R. S., Brietzke, E., & Mansur, R. B. (2019). The effect of caloric restriction on working memory in healthy non-obese adults. CNS Spectrums, 25(1), 2-8. doi:10.1017/s1092852918001566

Ford, E. S. (2005). Prevalence of the metabolic SYNDROME defined by the International DIABETES Federation among adults in the U.S. Diabetes Care, 28(11), 2745-2749. doi:10.2337/diacare.28.11.2745

Wan, R., Camandola, S., & Mattson, M. P. (2003). Intermittent food Deprivation improves cardiovascular and Neuroendocrine responses to stress in rats. The Journal of Nutrition, 133(6), 1921-1929. doi:10.1093/jn/133.6.1921

De Cabo, R., & Mattson, M. P. (2019). Effects of intermittent fasting on health, aging, and disease. New England Journal of Medicine, 381(26), 2541-2551. doi:10.1056/nejmra1905136

Trepanowski, J. F., Kroeger, C. M., Barnosky, A., Klempel, M. C., Bhutani, S., Hoddy, K. K., . . . Varady, K. A. (2017). Effect of alternate-day fasting on weight Loss, weight maintenance, and Cardioprotection Among METABOLICALLY Healthy obese adults. JAMA Internal Medicine, 177(7), 930. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.0936

Malinowski, B., Zalewska, K., Węsierska, A., Sokołowska, M. M., Socha, M., Liczner, G., . . . Wiciński, M. (2019). Intermittent fasting in cardiovascular disorders—an overview. Nutrients, 11(3), 673. doi:10.3390/nu11030673