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Intermittent Fasting Diet Trend Linked to Disordered Eating

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Intermittent fasting (IF), defined as fasting for eight or more hours at a time, is a growing trend. However, new research shows that it may be linked to eating disorder (ED) behavior.

Researchers at the University of Toronto analyzed data from more than 2,700 adolescents and young adults. Canadian study of adolescent health behaviorand in women, IF was found to be significantly associated with overeating, binge eating, vomiting, laxative use, and compulsive exercise.

Women’s IF was also associated with higher scores on the Eating Disorders Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q), which was used to determine the psychopathology of ED.

Lead researcher, Dr. Kyle Gunson, said: Medscape Medical News Evidence regarding the efficacy of IF for weight loss and disease prevention is mixed, and it is important to understand the potential harms of IF.



Dr. Kyle Gunson

“If anything, this study sheds light on the fact that engagement with IF may be associated with problematic ED behavior, with social media proponents touting efficacy and benefits.” However, health care professionals need to be very aware of this modern and popular dietary trend, he said.

Gunson is an Assistant Professor in the Factor Inwentash School of Social Work at the University of Toronto, Canada.

research is publish online November 4th diet .

Promote health benefits

The practice of IF is gaining popularity, in part because reputable medical professionals tout its health benefits. For example, at Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cited Evidence Its IF improves working memory, improves blood pressure, enhances physical performance and prevents. obesityHowever, there are few studies on its harm.

As part of a Canadian study on adolescent health behaviors, Gunson and his team analyzed data from 2,700 adolescents and young adults aged 16-30 who were recruited via social media ads in November and December 2021. Did. Samples included women, men, transgender or gender nonconforming individuals. Individual.

Study participants answered questions about weight perception, current weight change behavior, involvement in IF, and participation in eating disorder behavior. She was also given EDE-Q, which measures the psychopathology of eating disorders.

In total, 47% of women (n = 1470), 38% of men (n = 1060), and 52% of transgender or gender nonconforming individuals (TGNC) (n = 225) had engaged in IF in the past year. Reported.

Ganson and his team found that, for women, IF in the past 12 months and past 30 days was associated with all eating habits, including overeating, loss of self-control, binge eating, vomiting, laxative use, compulsive exercise, and fasting. found to be significantly associated with impaired behavior. They also have higher overall EDE-Q global scores.

For men, IF in the last 12 months was significantly associated with compulsive exercise and higher overall EDE-Q overall scores.

The team found that IF was positively associated with higher EDE-Q global scores for TGNC participants.

The researchers acknowledged that the study had some limitations — recruitment methods, including advertisements posted on social media, could lead to selection bias. relies heavily on participants’ self-reports, which can also be susceptible to bias.

“Certainly, more research into this diet is needed,” Gunson said. added.

Screening guarantee

Ganson noted that additional research is needed to support his findings and to further clarify the potential harms of IF.

Health care professionals “need to be aware of common modern dietary trends that involve young people and are commonly discussed on social media such as IF,” he noted. , he hopes that health care professionals will assess IF in dieting patients and follow up with assessments of ED-related attitudes and behaviors.

“Furthermore, because there is likely to be a two-way relationship between IF and ED attitudes and behavior, experts should be aware of how ED behavior is masked as IF involvement.” Ganson said.

Needs more research



Dr. Angela Guarda

Comments on survey results Medscape Medical NewsMore research is needed on the outcome of IF, said Angela Garda, M.D., professor of eating disorders at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and director of the Eating Disorders Program at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Stated.

“There is no definitive answer. The reality is that IF can help some people, harm others, and is most likely not healthy for everyone,” she said. He stated that the study found that “what many in the eating disorder field believe, IF people at risk for eating disorders, may not be adequately advised.”

She added, “Continued research is needed to establish its safety, which may be therapeutic against iatrogenic recommendations.”

feeding behavior. Published online on November 4, 2022. Overview

This research was funded by the Connaught New Researcher Award. The authors report no relevant financial relationships.

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