Is Intermittent Fasting Linked to Eating Disorders?

Intermittent fasting (IF) has been popularized for its supposed health benefits, which are backed by some researchTrusted Source. But new findings published in Eating Behaviors from the University of Toronto have linked intermittent fasting with disordered eating and potentially dangerous, compulsive behaviors. What is Intermittent Fasting? According to Dr. Jessica Folek, director of bariatric surgery at Long Island Jewish Forest Hills, part of Northwell Health in New York, IF is an eating regimen characterized by cycles of fasting and time-restricted eating.

“These include time-restricted eating,” she told Healthline. Examples of IF include 16/8, where you fast for 16 hours and eat during an 8-hour window, 14/10, which means fasting for 14 hours and eating between a 10-hour window, and other variations, Folek explained.

“IF has become very popular, and some studies have shown IF to be effective for weight loss,” she said. 

“However, there is a lack of long-term studies and studies with conflicting results.

Intermittent fasting and disordered eating: The University of Toronto study analyzed data from nearly 3,000 adolescents and young adults originally collected by the Canadian Study of Adolescent Health Behaviors. Researchers discovered an association between IF and all disordered eating behaviors in women. “That includes binge-eating, as well as compensatory behaviors like vomiting and compulsive exercise,” lead study author Kyle T. Ganson, PhD, MSW, assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work Researchers, told Healthline.

Excerpted from Healthline

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