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Is Intermittent Fasting Good for IBS?

January 2,2020

 

What if I were to tell you that Intermittent Fasting was really just Intermittent Eating?

 

Fasting in various forms has been around for many years, but at the end of the day, it’s really just having a longer gap between meals. Whether that’s 10 hours overnight, skipping breakfast or fasting 1 or 2 days per week. You don’t have to look far to find anecdotes of how it can heal your gut, improve health or help you lose weight. But is it good for someone with IBS? Probably not.

Meal size

We know that people with IBS are much better with smaller meals. Large meals tend to put pressure on the digestive tract, resulting in feelings of discomfort or even pain, bloating, nausea, reflux or excessive wind. If you’ve ever felt “overfull” after a meal, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Thing is, if we eat smaller meals, we have to eat more of them to meet our energy needs & provide our bodies with the nutrition they need. By default, this becomes smaller more frequent meals. The very opposite of intermittent fasting.

FODMAP stacking

If you are squeezing all your meals & nutrition into an 8 hour window, your increasing your risk of FODMAP stacking (you can read more about FODMAP stacking here) by eating too many green light foods too close together. While, you can have multiple low fodmap serves of the same food in a day, but you need a 3-4 hour window between serves. Intermittent fasting makes this a bit tricky as you’ll run out of time pretty quickly.

Mental health

Hunger is a natural & normal body function. It’s our body telling us that it needs nutrition, just like it tells us when it needs the bathroom or to rest. Not responding to your body because it’s an hour outside of a 8 hour window is really a bit random & unnatural. Having a healthy relationship with food means nourishing your body & responding to its natural cues of hunger & fullness.

 

Final thoughts

Despite what internet health gurus, your hairdresser or Cheryl down the road might say, there is no one diet that will suit everyone, and intermittent fasting is no different. Research has failed to show that at the 12 month mark it’s any better for weight loss than any other diet, and if you have IBS, it might just make things worse.

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