British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has a unique way of beating Monday blues and keeping his weight in check. According to news reports, Sunak – in a January 30 interview – mentioned that he does not consume anything from 5 pm on Sunday until 5 am the following Tuesday, except water, tea, or black coffee. While earlier Sunak has spoken about not having breakfast and maintaining a 12 to 14-hour gap between eating windows, this long period of intermittent fasting is far more rigorous.
So is intermittent fasting good for health and should you opt for such long fasts? Dr Vibhor Pareek, Senior Consultant – Gastroenterology and Hepatobiliary Science, Marengo Asia Hospitals, Gurugram, shares his insight. The doctor admits that many people who do regularly opt for intermittent fasting have said they feel light, more energetic, have BMI under control, experience no dyspeptic symptoms and can easily stay focused and disciplined. However, he warns that intermittent fasting is not for everyone.
Intermittent fasting is a way to destress your body and give it time to heal itself, says Dr Pareek. However, it has its pros and cons and cons. “People suffering from some kind of co-morbidity like diabetes, renal dysfunction, peptic ulcers, gastritis, migraines or if they are on regular medications for any chronic ailment, then it is not a good thing to do. People with hectic physical work schedules and those who burn high calories at work should also avoid this as they might get hypoglycaemic. Age is also a factor. Small kids, teenagers and elderly people should avoid this,” says Dr Pareek.
The doctor also suggests that when you decide to fast intermittently, in the beginning, a person should first try fasting for a shorter period like 6-10 hours a day intermittently. “Only after your body gets used to it, you can plan longer periods of fasting. Anyway, everyone must know their health status or consult doctors before planning to change their eating schedule dramatically,” says Dr Pareek.