As a parent, do you set a good example with intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is a method that has many advantages and disadvantages. There are different ways of fasting. The best known are: 16 hour fasting (16 hour fasting window and 8 hour eating window), 24 hour fasting and the 5:2 diet. Benefits of IF include: renewing and repairing body cells (autophagy), losing weight and belly fat, and the third biggest benefit is reducing oxidative stress and inflammation. In addition, it saves time, because meals do not have to be prepared. I find it interesting what the pros and cons are if, for example, as a parent you postpone breakfast at IF from 16-8. What example do you set for your kids?


An Australian study with more than 60,000 primary and secondary school students showed that skipping breakfast is unfavorable for emotional involvement and cognitive performance at school. Nearly 10% skipped breakfast, 35% sometimes skipped breakfast and 55% skipped breakfast every day. The older children get, the more often they skip breakfast. Young children are usually provided with breakfast by their parents, which is why teenagers in particular often ignore breakfast. This is immediately reflected in behavior and mental functioning.

According to the researchers, a lack of energy is responsible for this. They say that this energy shortage can negatively affect health in the long term. Older studies have previously shown that skipping breakfast is unfavorable for the brain, but what is new is that it can also cause a decrease in involvement in class. This Australian study emphasizes the importance of a good breakfast for children. Parents could talk to their children about this and get an easy (but healthy) breakfast at home.

Mirror neurons

As a parent, you are an example for your kids with IF. Mirror neurons ensure that children effortlessly copy the behavior of their parents. If you as a parent postpone breakfast and/or lunch, there is a good chance that your child will find this normal and will adopt the behavior. What is wise? Skip breakfast because of your IF and set an example to your child? Who therefore has a greater chance that this will have an adverse effect on his brain development?

I would discuss this with Marloes when my kids were younger. And then, for example, we as parents can alternate who is with our kids when they have breakfast. There is always a parent present who eats with the kids and the kids see that immediately. The other person can then do IF if desired. Another option is that we do not do the IF in the younger years of the kids.

I will also delve into the literature to see whether:

  • Is it actually true that skipping breakfast has a detrimental effect on the kids’ brain?
  • At what time, time or period of the day was it measured that engagement decreased in class?
  • Are there studies on the effects of IF among youth?

I’m curious to see if I can find some data on this in the literature of research into Hunt, gatherer, parent.