Intermittent fasting is relatively simple compared to traditional diets. Instead of carefully tracking calories or eliminating certain foods, you simply reduce the window in which you eat during the day. But while intermittent fasting can be an effective way to lose weight, it can also come with side effects, especially when you're first getting started. Your body needs time to adjust to a new eating pattern, which can lead to hunger pangs, headaches, and general discomfort. One symptom that can have larger health implications is nausea, Miriam Christie, MS, RD, LD, a nutritionist and dietitian in Pittsburg, CA, and medical advisor for eMediHealth, told POPSUGAR.
"Nausea, vomiting, and dizziness may be associated with high or low blood sugars," Christie explained. "These feelings are not normal and should you experience them the recommendation would be to stop practicing intermittent fasting." She noted that intermittent fasting isn't something she would recommend long-term, even if you aren't experiencing side effects: "Ensuring you are receiving a balanced diet utilising a variety of foods is the healthiest way to maintain your health," she said.
What If I Only Feel a Little Nauseous While Intermittent Fasting?
If you're in the very early stages of slight nausea while intermittent fasting, take a closer look at what you're eating. "To ensure you are receiving 100 percent of your nutrient, protein, and calorie needs, it is important that you include a balanced diet with a variety of foods," Christie told POPSUGAR. This means making sure you're eating enough protein and consuming enough calories. Your diet should also be balanced otherwise, with enough fibre and a sufficient variety of fruits and vegetables. If you notice your calorie count is way down, start there and bump yourself up to a healthy range.
If you feel like your diet is as balanced as it should be and you're still feeling sick or experiencing any other side effects of intermittent fasting, Christie recommends stopping the practice immediately. Ultimately, you have to listen to what your body is telling you. If you've gone back to a regular eating schedule and you're still experiencing troubling symptoms, it's time to check in with your doctor.