If you’re a teenager worried about intermittent fasting side effects or if it’ll stunt your growth, you’ll want to read this article.
At a younger age, it’s a great thing to be concerned about your future and long term health. And in this article, I’ll clear up any misleading information regarding intermittent fasting for teens.
Is Intermittent Fasting For Teenagers Safe To Do?
We first need to take a look at the big picture.
The short answer is: yes, teenagers can follow an intermittent fasting diet plan.
In fact, I think it is an easy diet for teens to follow.
That said, there’s no need for a teenager to push their fast very long (for example, 20+ hours).
If you’re following the Kinobody method of intermittent fasting and skipping your first meal by pushing it back 4, 5 or 6 hours, there’s no chance of your body going into starvation mode or suffering from a lot of physical stress from not eating.
True starvation mode won’t occur until upwards of 72+ hours (or 3 days) of fasting. It’s also at that time in which your body will begin to tap into its muscle tissue for energy.
But even then your body does a great job of stopping as much muscle loss as possible because of its role in keeping us strong, functional, and resistant to disease.
So to keep things in line with the context of this article, well thought out diet plans for teens should never come close to fasting for that long of a period of time.
To put it bluntly, pushing your first meal 4, 5 or 6 hours later into the day is not going to have any negative impact on your metabolism or muscles.
The most important thing to keep in mind with intermittent fasting for teenagers is that you need to be getting in sufficient nutrients each day.
So yes, diet plans for teens can include fasting, as long as they are eating enough food.
Now, if we take fasting out of the equation for a moment…
Being deficit in vital nutrients and calories overall can hurt growth and development for all people. For example, being deficit in zinc could stunt growth. So if you would like to use intermittent fasting, make sure you are eating a nutrient dense diet and supporting your body with the proper amount of calories.
How To Use Intermittent Fasting on A Teenage Diet
If you simply want to use intermittent fasting for the lifestyle benefits, productivity benefits, or staying lean while focusing on building and growing your strength foundation…
Keep your fasts short. Four to five hours each morning will do the trick.
And of course, as we discussed above, make sure you’re still getting in enough nutrients and total overall calories for the day.
Since you’re skipping breakfast, this means you’ll have to eat a big lunch and dinner (which can also be seen as a luxury, lol).
But what if you have fat to lose?
If you’re a teenager but have extra body fat to lose, is it still okay to use intermittent fasting and a calorie deficit?
Yes! In fact, I think intermittent fasting for a teenage diet is a great solution for losing excess body fat.
Here’s how you should look at things…
There’s no reason you shouldn’t take charge of your life and improve your body and overall health at a young age.
Being overweight as a teenager is probably going to do more damage than a slight calorie deficit and fasting.
And not just physically, but mentally too. Growing up as an overweight teenager can be tough!
Sure, the latter example of eating however much you want for lunch and dinner while lifting weights may work for some teenagers.
But if you’re dealing with weight issues, you’re better off doing something about it now and building those new good habits as soon as possible.
And the only way to lose fat is to be in a calorie deficit. If this is your situation, still make sure you are sticking to wholesome foods and not going any further than a moderate calorie deficit and taking things slow and controlled.
What Intermittent Fasting For Teens Ultimately Comes Down To
With no definitive research to back up the claims on intermittent fasting for teenagers, take my advice with a grain of salt.
As far as I can see, there are no mechanisms in which intermittent fasting will stunt your growth or cause any harmful health effects growing up.
In fact, one could even argue that intermittent fasting could help with growing taller because of the increase of human growth hormone during the fasting period.
Who knows, this could lead to increased growth height as long as you are supplying your body with the nutrients it needs, along with the other awesome benefits from intermittent fasting.
My final thoughts on this matter are that intermittent fasting for teenagers ultimately comes down to locking in your nutrition based on your goals and supplying your body with the nutrients it needs to grow and develop.
Well, thought out diet plans for teens should not take intermittent fasting to the extreme by fasting for hours on end.
Finally, remember that you don’t need to get down to 6 or 7 percent body fat. If I were a teenager, I would simply stay around 10 to 15% and focus on getting stronger in the gym.