British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has a unique way of beating the Monday blues and keeping his weight under control. According to news reports, Sunak – in an interview on January 30 – mentioned that he eats nothing but water, tea or black coffee from 5pm on Sunday until 5am the following Tuesday. While Sunak has previously talked about skipping breakfast and maintaining a 12- to 14-hour gap between eating windows, this long intermittent fasting period is much more rigorous.
So is intermittent fasting good for health and should you choose this type of long fast? Dr Bivor Pareek, Senior Consultant – Gastroenterology and Hepatobiliary Sciences, Marengo Asia Hospital, Gurugram, shares his insights. Doctors admit that many people who opt for regular intermittent fasting say they feel lighter, more energetic, have BMI under control, experience no dyspeptic symptoms and can easily stay focused and disciplined. However, he cautions that intermittent fasting is not for everyone.
Intermittent fasting is a way to challenge your body and give it time to heal itself, says Dr. Parikh. However, it has its pros and cons and disadvantages. “People with co-morbidities such as diabetes, renal dysfunction, peptic ulcers, gastritis, migraines or taking regular medication for any chronic illness are not advised to do this. People with busy physical work schedules and those who burn high calories at work should also avoid it as they May be hypoglycemic. Age is also a factor. Young children, teenagers and elderly people should avoid it,” says Dr Parikh.
The doctor also advises that when you decide to do intermittent fasting, in the beginning, a person should first try to fast for a short period of time such as 6-10 hours a day uninterrupted. “Once your body gets used to it, you can plan for longer periods of fasting. However, everyone must know their health status or consult a doctor before planning to dramatically change their eating schedule,” says Dr. Parikh.