There are various methods of intermittent fasting and it has been reported to have many health benefits (1).

A recent study points out potential risks of intermittent fasting in young adults (2).

What was the study? (2)

  • A national study of Canadian adolescents and young adults (N = 2762) were analyzed (2).
  • Intermittent fasting participants reported on average 100 days of intermittent fasting over a 12 month period (2).
  • Multiple modified Poisson regression analyses were conducted to determine the association between intermittent fasting (past 12 months and 30 days) and eating disorder behaviors measured using the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (2).

What were the results? (2)

  • 47 % of women, 38.4 % of men, and 52.0 % of transgender/gender non-conforming (TGNC) participants reported engaging in intermittent fasting in the past 12 months.
  • Intermittent fasting in the past 12 months and 30 days was significantly associated with eating disorder psychopathology (2)
  • Varying patterns of association between intermittent fasting and eating disorder behaviors were found across genders, with the most consistent relationships between intermittent fasting and ED behaviors in women (2)
  • Women engaging in intermittent fasting were more likely to report disordered eating behaviors (2)
  • Men engaging in intermittent fasting were more likely to report compulsive exercise (2)

Additional thoughts

  • Intermittent fasting is not without risks.
  • The study design points out association of intermittent fasting and disordered eating, but does not necessarily show causation.
  • Bodies and brains of young people are still developing and growing, and in this context, calorie restriction may not be ideal.
  • Instead, prioritizing nutritious food may be more beneficial for physical and mental health(3).
  • Even with good food choices, it is important to get enough calories; and not engage in restriction or disordered eating behaviors.
  • TDEE calculators and this chart may be helpful in estimating daily calorie needs.
  • Individuals with eating disorders should seek professional assistance via nutritionist, eating disorder specialist, etc. when considering nutritional adjustments.
  • Further research is needed to better understand the risks and benefits of intermittent fasting particularly in adolescents and young adults.

Any other resources to improve nutrition?

If you would like to be notified of future posts (about once per month), enter your email above.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.


  2. Ganson KT, Cuccolo K, Hallward L, Nagata JM. Intermittent fasting: Describing engagement and associations with eating disorder behaviors and psychopathology among Canadian adolescents and young adults. Eat Behav. 2022 Dec;47:101681. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2022.101681. Epub 2022 Nov 4. PMID: 36368052.

Posted by R. Ryan Patel DO, FAPA OSU CCS Psychiatrist at 8:00amPosted in Nutrition mental health Tagged intermittent fasting compulsive exerciseintermittent fasting eating disorderintermittent fasting mental healht

Leave a Reply