Intermittent fasting is quickly growing in popularity and becoming the new health craze among nutritionists, dietitians, nutrition coaches, and other related experts. But what many don’t know is that it’s not always a picnic! Intermittent fasting side effects? Yep, they happen — and they’re not always that easy to detect — especially when you’ve started to notice the weight loss benefits of intermittent fasting.
The reason you feel sick when intermittent fasting is that your body isn’t getting the right nutrition to function properly. You need water, protein, carbohydrates, and fats for energy to maintain your health and stay hydrated during fasting periods. If you don’t get enough of these nutrients, your body will start burning muscle tissue instead of fat cells for energy.
But don’t worry; I’ve got your back with this guide to IF side effects which will help you figure out what is going on if you start to feel sick when intermittent fasting. Let’s look at some of the reasons you might feel sick when intermittent fasting.
7 Reasons Why You Might Be Feeling Sick When Intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting side effects are typically short-lived and not too severe. In some cases, they’re so mild that you might not even notice them. On the other hand, some people find that intermittent fasting causes a few more significant problems.
The most common reason is that your body is not yet accustomed to long periods without food. If you’ve just started intermittent fasting, then it’s highly likely that your body hasn’t fully adapted to the process yet.
Below are some of the common side effects of intermittent fasting, which could make you might feel sick when intermittent fasting:
1. Fatigue, Dizziness, and Brain Fog
The body needs food to function properly and supply energy for daily activities like work, exercise, and other activities. If your body doesn’t get enough nutrients from food during fasting periods, then it will start using its own fat stores as an energy source instead of carbohydrates or protein found in food consumed during these times.
This process can cause fatigue because the body uses up more energy than normal to break down fat stores into usable energy sources such as glucose or ketones that fuel cells throughout the body during fasting periods.
Dizziness or lightheadedness are also common side effects of intermittent fasting because they’re caused by low blood sugar levels due to low glycogen storage levels in muscles after not eating for several hours or days at a time.
Glycogen is a carbohydrate stored in the liver and muscles that’s used as energy when you’re active. The body breaks down glycogen into glucose, which it uses to fuel cells throughout your body. When you don’t eat for extended periods of time, your body uses up its glycogen stores and starts using ketones instead.
2. Digestive Upset and General Malaise
There are two main concerns when it comes to intermittent fasting. First, it can cause digestive upset, bloating, gas and diarrhea. This is because when you don’t eat for long periods of time, your body thinks it is starving and holds on to everything it has as a survival mechanism.
As soon as you start eating again, all of these things flood into your system at once, leading to what we call “digestive upset.” If you’re new to fasting or just starting with intermediate fasts (24-36 hours), you might want to keep an eye on this.
The second concern is something called “general malaise.” This refers to feeling generally unwell when fasting, perhaps lethargic or even dizzy. These symptoms can be caused by hormonal changes in the body and from missing out on vitamins and minerals that come from food during the feeding window.
Have you ever wondered whether you can take a break from IF on weekends? Paul Odoteh explores this topic extensively.
3. Joint Pain and Muscle Soreness
Many people find that they experience joint pain and muscle soreness when they first start intermittent fasting. This is because the body is no longer used to having food every few hours, so it begins to experience hunger pangs more often. This can lead to muscle aches and pains as well as joint pain.
The good news is that these side effects will go away once your body gets used to having less food and more time in between meals.
4. Bad Breath
This can be caused by the lack of saliva production during fasting, which leads to a dry mouth. Saliva helps wash away food particles and volatile acids produced by bacteria in the mouth.
When you’re not eating, you don’t produce as much saliva, so these particles are left behind and accumulate on your teeth and gums. They may also become food for bacteria that cause bad breath.
5. Weight Gain
Some people may experience weight gain after starting a new diet. One is that your body may compensate for the fast by eating more later in the day. Intermittent fasting can also lead to weight gain if you aren’t careful about what you eat while doing it.
This could lead to unwanted weight gain if you’re consuming high amounts of sugar or other processed foods during your IF days.
6. Hormonal Issues for Men
The hormones for men are testosterone, DHEA, and growth hormone. Testosterone determines manliness, DHEA helps with anti-aging, and growth hormone is key for building muscle mass. Growth hormone also assists with fat loss.
Testosterone plays a big role in your sex drive as well as energy levels. When you deprive your body of food, it shifts into preservation mode. Your body will think it’s in starvation, so it will start to conserve any calories it gets from burning fat. This means that it will burn muscle instead of fat if you don’t eat enough protein or take BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids). BCAAs help prevents muscle loss during intermittent fasting.
Doing IF can also cause problems with your free testosterone levels. Free testosterone is what your body uses to build muscle and burn fat while protecting itself from cancer cells and heart disease. Free testosterone is also what you want more of if you’re trying to lose weight and gain muscle mass.
7. Water Retention and Excess Fluid
This is because your body is not getting the food it expects, so it tends to hold onto anything that might be useful, including excess water. However, there are also other contributing factors. Since you are fasting, your body will burn stored fat for energy. This means that it will have to convert some of the stored fat into ketones. Ketones are waste products created when your body burns fat for energy.
Some of these waste products are excreted through your urine and sweat, but others remain in your blood until they can be converted and excreted as well. The more often you fast, and the longer you fast, the more ketones will build up in your system and the more fluid retention you may experience.
Expanding on this point a bit, another thing to consider is that when you eat while you are fasting, you are eating a lot of calories in one sitting. This can put stress on the body and cause water retention as your blood volume expands and then contracts again when you stop eating.
Another possible issue with sudden changes in blood volume is that too much blood returning to the heart can cause issues with blood pressure regulation. Again, this could cause water retention.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a popular diet that has been shown to have numerous health benefits. Before we embark on IF side effects, let’s first look at some of the proven and studied benefits of IF.
The main benefits of intermittent fasting include:
1) Increased Insulin Sensitivity
Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels and is released by the pancreas when you eat carbohydrates. This helps to store glucose in your muscles and liver as glycogen, which can later be used for energy.
One of the benefits of IF is that it helps improve insulin sensitivity. This means that your body can better use the sugars and carbohydrates in the food, which can help you lower your blood sugar levels and reduce your risk of developing diabetes.
Learn how to use the calorie calculator to track your calories while on an IF plan.
2) Decreased Levels of Inflammation
Another benefit of IF is that it can reduce inflammation in the body. High levels of inflammation are linked to a number of health problems, including heart disease and certain cancers.
According to one study, people who fasted for 24 hours had lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), an important marker of inflammation. This can help you lower your risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
3) Increased Growth Hormone Secretion
Another benefit of IF is that it can increase growth hormone secretion, which is vital for muscle growth, fat loss, and improved brain function. Growth hormone is a powerful anabolic hormone that has many benefits for health.
While we often associate growth hormone with children, it also plays a role in adult health. Low growth hormone levels can cause symptoms such as low energy, poor sleep quality, and depression. By fasting for 24 hours, you can boost your levels of this important hormone.
4) Increased Fat Burning Capacity
When you fast for a day or two, your body switches from burning carbohydrates for energy to burning fat. This process is called ketosis, and it’s one of the reasons why fasting can be so effective for weight loss.
When you eat a high-carb diet, your body burns glucose (blood sugar) as its primary energy source. But when you don’t eat for a few days, your body has no other choice but to burn fat stores for energy.
5) Boosted Brain Function (Memory, Mood, etc.)
Your brain is an organ that relies on glucose to function properly. So when you don’t eat for a while, it has to start using ketones (fat molecules) as its primary energy source. This process causes some interesting physiological changes that have been shown to improve memory and cognitive performance in people with Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is intermittent fasting good for you?
Intermittent fasting is good for several reasons, but mainly because it helps you lose weight more quickly and efficiently than traditional calorie restriction diets. By giving yourself a break from eating every day, your body will begin burning fat stores instead of using glucose as its main energy source.
Why do I feel sick after eating intermittent fasting?
If you feel sick after eating, it’s likely because your body is not used to fasting. As such, it may take time for your digestive system to adjust. This is normal and will pass in time.
Why do I feel nauseous during intermittent fasting?
Nausea is also a common side effect of fasting. This may be due to the fact that your body is not used to going without food for long periods of time. In time, however, your body will adjust, and this feeling should subside.
Why do I feel nauseous after eating intermittent fasting?
If you feel nauseous after eating, it’s likely because your body is not used to having so much food at once. As such, it may take time for your digestive system to adjust. This feeling should subside in time as your body adjusts its metabolism.
Why is intermittent fasting so hard?
Intermittent fasting can be hard because it alters the way you eat. It’s important to be patient with yourself as you adjust. If this is your first time trying intermittent fasting, start off by easing into it by timing your meals and snacks accordingly. After a few days of doing this, try extending your fast some more or adding in another meal/snack.
Can intermittent fasting cause an upset stomach?
It’s possible that intermittent fasting can cause an upset stomach. If this is the case for you, try drinking plenty of water throughout the day and make sure your diet is well-balanced. You may also want to cut out any high-fat or spicy foods during your fast.
Who should not do intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is safe for most people. However, it’s not recommended for children or pregnant women. People with diabetes should also avoid intermittent fasting because it can cause blood sugar levels to drop too low.
Intermittent fasting side effects when starting
When you start intermittent fasting, it’s natural to feel a little tired or low on energy. This is because your body is getting used to having less food in your system and will probably need some time to adjust. You may also notice changes in bowel movements during this transition period. Other side effects may include headaches and irritability.
How long does it take for the body to adjust to intermittent fasting?
The length of time it takes for your body to adjust depends on how frequently you practice intermittent fasting and what kind of diet you follow. If you’re eating every day, then it could take a few days for your body to get used to the new routine. If you’re fasting every other day or one day per week, it may take two weeks before your body adjusts.
Does intermittent fasting cause gastritis?
Intermittent fasting may cause gastritis by increasing acid production in the stomach. Gastritis is an inflammation in the lining of your stomach that can lead to pain and discomfort. Gastritis symptoms include nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and difficulty swallowing food.
Can fasting cause flu-like symptoms?
Yes, intermittent fasting can cause flu-like symptoms. When you fast, your body goes into “starvation mode” and begins to break down fat stores for energy. This can result in a condition called ketosis, which causes nausea and vomiting. Some people also experience headaches and dizziness during this process.
In conclusion, intermittent fasting can be an excellent way to lose weight and get healthier. However, it can also be bad for you. If you begin intermittent fasting soon, make sure to keep your gut health in mind.
Try to drink plenty of water, eat probiotic-rich foods, and include gut-friendly bacteria in your diet. It might also be worth supplementing with a probiotic like Probiotics 25 Billion CFU to help improve your gut flora and minimize any negative side effects of intermittent fasting.
Ultimately, the decision is up to each individual to do their research and see if IF can be a good fit for them. In any case, try your best to listen to your body and make a decision that will help you sustain a healthy life throughout the years ahead.