is intermittent fasting an eating disorder

Is Intermittent Fasting an Eating Disorder?

Written by Andrew Brewer. ⚕️Reviewed and fact checked by our medical team.

is intermittent fasting an eating disorder

Intermittent fasting helps you manage your eating habits in different ways. By restricting your eating windows, your body can tap into its fat resources once it works through the active calorie and sugar stores. It is not a type of eating disorder, and it is not a recommended diet plan for someone who has a history of eating disorders.

Key Takeaways

  • Intermittent fasting can be a useful tool for managing eating habits, but it is not recommended for individuals with a history of eating disorders.
  • Intermittent fasting may be triggering for individuals with bulimia or anorexia, as it involves restriction and may lead to disordered eating behaviors.
  • It is important to prioritize overall health and well-being over weight loss goals, and to seek professional help if you suspect you may have developed an eating disorder.
  • Intermittent fasting should not be used as a way to justify or enable unhealthy eating behaviors.
  • Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new diet or exercise regimen.

Why You May Want to Avoid Intermittent Fasting in Recovery

Depending on the program, intermittent fasting can require you to go long times without food, which may be triggering for those who have a history of eating disorders, including anorexia and bulimia.

Intermittent fasting is highly restrictive. To maximize your weight loss results, you plan out when and what you eat. For those who have issues with eating, this may cause you to fall back into old habits. If you fear you may have an eating disorder, reach out to a doctor. Intermittent fasting is part of your lifestyle, but it’s not the main focus. If you are hyper-focused on your eating habits, it may become an issue.

Intermittent Fasting and Bulimia

In the beginning, you’ll likely be starving after a fast until your body gets used to the new schedule. Because of that, you’ll be tempted to binge eat all you can once your window is open. Afterward, you may not feel so great. You may feel bloated or unwell. Perhaps you feel guilty.

The next step for those with bulimia would be to purge their food. If they get rid of it, it cannot be digested, and therefore the calories don’t count. This line of thinking is untrue and extremely unhealthy. The urge to binge and purge is classic behavior for bulimia, so if you notice any of these signs, seek medical help before it becomes a problem. Intermittent fasting is a weight-loss tool, not an enabler for unhealthy behaviors.

Intermittent Fasting and Anorexia

Certain intermittent fasting programs ask you to restrict your calories to create a calorie deficit. After all, you want to burn more calories than you eat in a day. However, if you start to hyperfocus on restricting your calories, you may have problems. Intermittent fasting helps you burn fat, but it should never be used to limit your caloric intake in unhealthy ways.

You should be eating a minimum of 500 to 600 calories during your eating windows. If you are eating less, your body may not properly function, and you may begin to feel faint. Do not use intermittent fasting to justify an eating disorder. Its roots go back thousands of years, connecting it with spirituality. It should not be used negatively.

What If My Intermittent Fasting Has Become a Problem?

Recognizing you may have an issue is an important first step. Please see a professional if you suspect you may have developed or relapsed into an eating disorder following intermittent fasting. They can help you manage your eating in healthy, less triggering ways. Intermittent fasting is not effective for everyone.

Don’t forget to check our favorite intermittent fasting apps to make your intermittent fasting journey easier.


  • Is intermittent fasting an eating disorder?

No, intermittent fasting is not an eating disorder. However, a voluntary eating pattern can be a healthy and safe way to lose weight and improve overall health.

  • Can intermittent fasting lead to an eating disorder?

It is possible that intermittent fasting can lead to an eating disorder, particularly if someone becomes obsessed with it or if they have a history of disordered eating.

  • Who is most at risk of developing an eating disorder from intermittent fasting?

People with a history of disordered eating or body image issues may be more at risk of developing an eating disorder from intermittent fasting.

  • How can someone safely try intermittent fasting without developing an eating disorder?

To try intermittent fasting safely, it is important to approach it with a balanced and flexible mindset, listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues, and seek support from a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian.

  • What are the signs that someone may be developing an eating disorder from intermittent fasting?

Signs that someone may develop an eating disorder from intermittent fasting include:

  • Obsessing over their eating schedule.
  • Experiencing intense food cravings or hunger.
  • Feeling guilty or ashamed about eating.
  • If someone suspects they may have developed an eating disorder from intermittent fasting, what should they do?

Suppose someone suspects they may have developed an eating disorder from intermittent fasting. In that case, it is important to seek help from a healthcare provider or a mental health professional specializing in eating disorders.

Andrew Brewer

Andrew Brewer

Andrew Brewer started to give people the guidance that he never received when he was first starting. His goal is to make your goals achievable and to offer you only the best fasting apps that the internet has to offer. You're not on your own - Andrew and the entire family of reviewers at are here with you every step of the way!