Intermittent Fasting for Teens: Is It Safe?
It’s no surprise that teenagers are always looking for the latest diet trend. Intermittent fasting (IF) is one of the most popular diet trends today, but is it safe and effective for teens? In this article, we’ll explore the safety of intermittent fasting for teens, as well as the potential risks and benefits.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that involves alternating periods of eating and fasting. During the fasting period, you’re not allowed to consume any calories. Popular intermittent fasting protocols include 16/8, where you fast for 16 hours and eat during an 8-hour window, and 5:2, where you eat normally for five days and fast for two.
Can Teens Do Intermittent Fasting?
In fact, intermittent fasting hasn’t been found to cause an eating disorder. As one study performed on 18-year-olds following a 24-hour fast showed, the hormones related to hunger and satiety weren’t affected. This suggests that intermittent fasting is safe for teens.
That said, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. There is not enough evidence to recommend intermittent fasting for children or teens currently since they are in a period of rapid growth and increased nutrient needs.
Are There Any Risks of Intermittent Fasting for Teens?
In most cases, no, fasting is not good for teenagers. Skipping meals and severely reducing daily calorie intake can cause nutrient deficiencies, which can lead to serious health complications. As a teen’s body is still developing, they need to ensure they are getting all the necessary nutrients they need to grow.
In addition, intermittent fasting could lead to disordered eating. Some teens may become obsessive about fasting and this could lead to an unhealthy relationship with food.
Is Intermittent Fasting Right for Teens?
Intermittent fasting is not recommended for those in periods of rapid growth, such as children and adolescents. IF is also not recommended for people with eating disorders, diabetes, liver or kidney disease, or other health conditions.
It is also important for teens to be aware of the potential risks of intermittent fasting. Some teens may find that fasting can lead to fatigue, hunger, irritability, and mood swings. They should also make sure to get enough fluids and rest during their fasting period.
How Can Teens Safely Practice Intermittent Fasting?
If teens decide to try intermittent fasting, they should make sure to follow a healthy diet and get enough sleep. They should eat nutrient-dense foods and limit processed and sugary foods.
It’s also important to stay hydrated and make sure to get enough vitamins and minerals. Teens should also discuss their plans with their parents and healthcare providers.
The Bottom Line
I answer the question, is intermittent fasting safe for teens? In most cases, the answer is no. Intermittent fasting is not recommended for those in periods of rapid growth, such as children and adolescents. It could also lead to disordered eating and nutrient deficiencies.
If teens decide to try intermittent fasting, they should make sure to follow a healthy diet and get enough sleep. They should also get enough fluids and rest during their fasting period and discuss their plans with their parents and healthcare providers.
At what age can a person begin practicing intermittent fasting?
Individuals aged 18 and under, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and those with type 1 diabetes who take insulin should avoid attempting intermittent fasting.
Is a one meal a day diet suitable for someone aged 16?
The OMAD diet should not be followed by children or young adults, people with diabetes or hypoglycemia, those who are obese, or those with metabolic rate issues, as it can be dangerous and may lead to binge eating.
Would it be beneficial for me to do an intermittent fast for 14 or 16 hours?
She advises that women should not fast for more than 14 hours, as it can cause menstrual problems, as well as increase the risk for anxiety and depression. For men, she suggests that they can fast up to 16 hours.
Looking to learn more about intermittent fasting or interested in giving it a try? Check out Fasting Books for a wide selection of books on fasting, including guides on how to safely and effectively incorporate fasting into your lifestyle.