Intermittent fasting implementation and association with eating disorder symptomatology

Eat Disord. 2022 Sep-Oct;30(5):471-491. doi: 10.1080/10640266.2021.1922145. Epub 2021 Jun 30.


Intermittent fasting (IF) is an emerging dietary trend that remains understudied. This study aimed to describe the implementation and eating disorder (ED) symptomatology, relevant to engagement in IF among both men and women. Intermittent fasters (N = 44 women, N = 20 men) recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk, Reddit, and a Midwestern University were administered a demographic questionnaire, an assessment of ED symptomatology (Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire; EDE-Q), and asked about their IF use. To assess the level of ED symptomatology among individuals using IF community and clinical norms were used for comparison. We hypothesized a) men and women engaging IF would score higher on the EDE-Q and b) more individuals engaging in IF would endorse ED behaviors (e.g., self-induced vomiting) than community norms. Intermittent fasters reported fasting for approximately 16 hours daily and for weight loss purposes. Men and women engaging in IF scored significantly higher than community norms on all subscales of the EDE-Q, with 31.25% of participants' EDE-Q scores being at or above the clinical EDE-Q cut-off. Men and women engaging in IF reported engaging in ED behaviors. Results suggest that IF is associated with ED symptomatology. Further research on psychological characteristics and temporal order of the association between IF and ED symptomatology is warranted.

MeSH terms

  • Fasting*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychometrics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities