The Pros and Cons of Micro-Fasting - dummies

The Pros and Cons of Micro-Fasting

By Kellyann Petrucci, Patrick Flynn

Just like all the other fasting practices available to you, micro-fasting also has its pros and cons. The good news: Most people find micro-fasting the most user-friendly of all the fasting practices, even more so than the 5:2 Diet.

Here are the most prominent pros of micro-fasting:

  • Shorter fasting periods may make it easier. For people who simply aren’t ready to tackle a full 24-hour fast, or perhaps just don’t want to, micro-fasting has greater appeal, because the fasting period lasts only up to 16 hours. This shorter fasting period makes the whole business of fasting much easier, or at the very least, much more accessible to the newcomer.

  • More frequent bouts may be more effective. Another advantage of micro-fasting is that you perform the activity more frequently than you would if you were following the full 24-hour fasting protocol. Fasting isn’t always a more-is-better activity. If that were true, then why not fast indefinitely? Oh yeah, because you would die.

    Obviously, you need a delicate balance between eating and not eating for optimum health. But fasting more frequently, not necessarily for longer periods, may very well be enormously beneficial. With micro-fasting, you can practice it every day of the week if you want. You can reasonably deduce that the more often you micro-fast, the more often you reap the benefits of micro-fasting, which perhaps makes micro-fasting a more effective approach.

  • You can time your workouts. Micro-fasting lends itself uniquely to fasted exercise. In other words, you can time your workouts at the end of your micro-fasting period to boost the positive effects from exercise. When timed right, micro-fasting can greatly enhance the effects of your exercise.

  • It’s more flexible. You can perform micro-fasting every day, but you don’t have to perform it every day, which means it lends itself well to people who seek flexibility, because you may pick and choose the days that you practice micro-fasting. You can start out micro-fasting two to three days to produce tremendous results.

    Even better, you can spread out these days a week throughout the week depending on what works best for you, which means you can micro-fast a few days in a row, every other day, or in clusters, whatever fits into your schedule.

  • You can enjoy social meals. With micro-fasting, you really only give up breakfast, which means you don’t have to forfeit what many people commonly refer to as the most social meal of the day — dinner. Some people have trouble with intermittent fasting because they feel they’re unable to socialize if they’re not eating.

And here are a few of the cons to micro-fasting:

  • Shorter fasting periods may be less effective. Studies have shown that the majority of benefits to be had from intermittent fasting occur within the first 12 to 16 hours of a fast. You just won’t reap as many of those benefits at any one time.

    Evidence suggests that a person can receive marginal benefits when prolonging a fast from 24 to 32 hours. These benefits are simply more of what you’re already getting, such as increased lipolysis (fat burning) and natural growth hormone.

  • More frequent bouts may make micro-fasting more difficult. Fasting more frequently, even for shorter periods of time, may be more challenging to some people than fasting just once or twice a week for a full 24 hours. It ultimately depends on the individual and his or her particular preferences.

  • You don’t eat breakfast. The most important aspect to micro-fasting, and perhaps the most controversial, is the regular omission of breakfast, because your eating window occurs later in the day so that you can ride the fasting wave while you sleep. When micro-fasting, you can expect to fast through the morning hours and maybe a little bit of the early afternoon.

    Breakfast often plays an important social function, especially in families who like to start the day with some time together around the table. However, just because you’re micro-fasting and can’t eat food during the morning hours doesn’t mean you’re ineligible to participate in the social activities of breakfast.

    You still can sit at the breakfast table with your family or roommates and converse in the mornings. If you absolutely must have something in front of you, then nurse a cup of hot tea or coffee.

Because the masses unfortunately are highly uneducated with fasting, they — including your family, friends, and peers — may not understand why you’re not eating all day. This constant questioning and nagging can get annoying. In fact, this social misunderstanding has turned many people away from the practice of fasting, which is highly unfortunate but a reality.

Micro-fasting makes fasting easier, because you don’t go for a full 24 hours without food, so you only have to put up with people asking why you’re skipping breakfast, but not lunch or dinner. This social obstacle is small, but oftentimes significant.