The Dark Side of Fasting (and Intermittent Fasting): Dr. Berg Explains

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 11/16/2023

The Dark Side of Fasting (and Intermittent Fasting): Dr. Berg Explains

Ever wondered about the dark side of fasting and intermittent fasting? You've heard the benefits: weight loss, better focus, improved health. But what's hidden in those shadows?

Allow me to paint a vivid image for you.

You're at a party where everyone sips that trendy 'fasting' cocktail. It’s all rainbows and unicorns until someone mentions kidney stones or fluctuating energy levels. Suddenly, there’s an uncomfortable silence.

I get it; nobody likes to talk about potential downsides when they’re basking in the glow of success stories. However, it's essential to understand both sides of any health practice – because your body deserves nothing less than complete care.

We're all set to reveal some fascinating truths. Let's investigate this subject collaboratively. We'll cover a wide range of areas, from the impact of fasting on athletes right through to infant nutrition and beyond.

Understanding the Risks of Fasting and Intermittent Fasting

Fasting, including intermittent fasting, can offer significant health benefits. Fasting isn't a universal remedy; it doesn't work for everybody, similar to how one shoe size can't fit everyone. Just like shoes don't fit every foot, fasting isn't for everyone.

The Impact of Fasting on Kidney Stones and Uric Acid Levels

Deals with kidney stones and high uric acid levels can be incredibly uncomfortable, so it's essential to understand if fasting may contribute. While these conditions might be worsened by foods high in oxalates, there are questions about whether fasting plays a role, too.

It seems that fasting may increase uric acid levels - think of it as fueling an already roaring fire. But remember: this change is not necessarily pathogenic; sometimes, our bodies react differently.

Research suggests those battling eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia could experience nutritional deficiencies when practicing intermittent fasting.

So, while skipping meals might seem like a good idea at first glance—it's crucial to consider all potential impacts on your health first.

fasting diet

Fasting Considerations for Athletes

For athletes, the question of whether to fast or not is a delicate one. This especially applies to those who have yet to adapt to fat metabolism fully. During exercise, these individuals might face energy fluctuations that can impact performance.

The Challenge of Energy Fluctuations for Athletes

Athletes are no strangers to pushing their bodies' limits and often turn towards fasting for weight management and enhanced physical performance. However, they must understand how their body uses energy during periods without food intake.

During strenuous physical activity, our bodies typically rely on carbohydrates as their chief energy source. When fasting and with depleted glycogen stores, your body must transition to using fat as fuel, which can cause fluctuations in energy levels.

This switch from using carbs as fuel to burning fat isn't instant, though - it requires an adaptation period, which can lead to unpredictable swings in energy levels. It's this factor that athletes need to consider before jumping into intermittent fasting protocols.

Fasting and Children's Nutrition

Prolonged fasting isn't advisable for young ones. Avoiding the temptation to use fasting as a quick fix for health issues is essential since children need consistent nourishment to ensure proper growth and development.

This is where a nutrient-dense diet comes into play. Providing your child with three solid meals packed with essential nutrients helps their bodies grow and develop properly.

The Importance of a Nutrient-Dense Diet for Children

A healthy, well-rounded diet does more than feed your kid’s belly—it fuels their growth, supports brain development, and builds strong bones.

You're setting them up for success in life when they're getting all the nutrients they need from whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and complex carbs.

Studies show that diets rich in these food groups are far better suited to growing bodies than any form of fasting could ever hope to be.

Pregnancy, Lactation, and Fasting

When it comes to pregnancy and lactation, fasting can raise questions. The need for proper nutrition during these crucial periods is undeniable for the health of both mother and child.

The Role of Natural Prenatal Vitamins

Synthetic prenatal vitamins have been a go-to solution in conventional healthcare. But should we rethink this? Many experts believe so. Whole food natural alternatives are gaining popularity because they offer nutrients that are more easily absorbed by our bodies.

This shift from synthetic prenatal vitamins to their natural counterparts doesn't just affect mothers-to-be but also nursing moms. During lactation, your body needs extra nutrients to produce healthy breast milk.

Getting your body the nutrition it needs with natural food sources helps you and provides an excellent foundation for your baby's growth. It's like two birds with one stone.

So next time when shopping for prenatal vitamins or planning meals during breastfeeding, remember - nature knows best.

Infant Nutrition and Fasting

Many parents opt for store-bought formulas and baby food for infant nutrition, but these items often contain highly processed ingredients that may not be ideal for your child's growth.

But did you know that these products often have ultra-processed ingredients? These aren't the best for your little one's growth and development.

Exploring Healthier Alternatives to Infant Formulas

A shift towards healthier alternatives is crucial. Freshly prepared meals using whole foods can affect an infant's diet. Foods like pureed vegetables, fruits, grains, and lean proteins offer a variety of nutrients necessary for infants' health.

Breastfeeding mothers might wonder if they can practice fasting without affecting their milk supply or quality.

While occasional fasting periods may not significantly affect lactation, according to some studies, extended fasts could lead to nutrient deficiencies, affecting both mother and child negatively.

When considering fasting practices as parents or caregivers, it’s essential always to prioritize infants' nutritional needs first - providing them with wholesome food options over processed ones whenever possible.

Fasting in Older Individuals

Intermittent fasting is gaining popularity among older individuals. Yet, one common concern is the potential for muscle loss. This worry isn't unfounded, as our bodies naturally lose muscle mass with age.

Preventing Muscle Loss with Amino Acid Blends

A simple way to combat this issue lies within amino acid blends. Combining essential and non-essential amino acids could be a game changer for combating muscle loss during fasting periods.

You see, your body needs amino acids during fasting periods to maintain lean tissue. But it doesn't produce them all alone - that's where supplements step in.

Amino acid blends help prevent muscle loss in older individuals practicing intermittent fasting, providing a vital assist while you're off meals.

So, if you've decided to give fasting a shot but want to keep those muscles intact, consider adding an amino acid blend into your regimen.


Stepping into the world of fasting can be like entering a labyrinth...

Unless you're armed with Dr. Berg's insights on the dark side of fasting and intermittent fasting.

The journey is filled with potential pitfalls, from risks to kidney health due to increased uric acid levels, energy fluctuations in athletes not fully adapted to fat metabolism, and considerations around children’s nutrition.

We've explored this together and shed light on healthier alternatives for infant nutrition, too.

Aging gracefully while practicing intermittent fasting? Possible! Just remember those amino acid blends that could prevent muscle loss.

All said and done, knowing both sides - benefits and drawbacks - will ensure your journey towards improved health is more informed!

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