As you may know many religions perform regular fasting diets as an act of faith or penitence, as well as an opportunity for some spiritual reflection. In the past people have also used fasting as a means of showing political views or protests.
Though this is not something that should be entered into lightly, some people have successfully used fasting as a way of getting rid of bad toxins in the body and losing some weight. Many experts would argue that our bodies are already perfectly equipped to handle the job via our organs. How fasting is performed varies greatly by diet, one for instance involves drinking nothing but water and eating raw foods for a period of a couple of days whilst other diets restrict food on certain days, on the other hand certain fasting diets cut out food altogether and stick to liquid only sustenance like water, milk or tea whilst certain ones will just cut calories without cutting out food.
Does Fasting Mean You Will Lose Weight?
When a person fasts, there body digs deep down into there reserves of energy stores to burn the fuel it needs to keep going, so the weight does come off. The main thing to take into consideration here is how long will that weight stay off?
If we look back to ancient times from our ancestors point of view, food could be very scarce at times so have evolved to fight the effects of fasting. When you eat less, your metabolism slows right down to conserve energy, then when you go back to eating normally your lowered metabolism may cause more energy to be stored than you normally would, meaning you will most likely gain back all of the weight you have lost and more even though you would be eating the same as before.
When you fast your body adjusts your appetite to suit, however when you stop fasting your appetite will go into overdrive making you feel hungrier and more likely to binge on junk food.
Research done has shown that people fasting on alternating days does help them lose a significant amount of weight, even when eating whatever they wanted on the non-fasting days, but over time this weight loss could not be maintained and was found to even cause lasting changes to people’s metabolism if done on a regular basis.
Can Fasting Detoxify You?
A lot of fasting diets claim all sorts of miracles when it comes to fasting that it will cleanse and detoxify your body, however many studies on the subject have shown that fasting does little to nothing when it comes to detoxification of you body, your body is naturally built to detoxify itself through means of your sweat, kidneys, colon and so forth.
Does Fasting Make You Live Longer?
Studies performed on both rodents and humans has shown that there may well be a connection between calorie restriction and longevity. In one particular study of an overweight man and woman, a restricted calorie diet showed them both to show signs of improved age related markers such as body temperature and insulin levels.
Fasting may also help delay the onset of age related diseases like heart problems, diabetes and Alzheimer’s, one study has proven that skipping one meal a month can reduce the risk of clogged arteries, much like the Mormon religion does on a regular basis, however the mormons healthier lifestyle
whereby they abstain from coffee, alcohol and smoking maybe to contribute to this factor.
As research has not been conducted long enough on individuals it is not 100% accurate to say that fasting even intermittently has any positive long term benefits for the body, however skipping one meal every so often is a beneficial way of reducing calorie intake in the diet.
Is This Safe?
Providing you regularly take in fluids, fasting will not harm you performing it for a couple of days provided you are in good health, fasting for long periods of time can be harmful to your body however. Your body requires a variety of vitamins, minerals and nutrients to stay in top form. Not getting these in regular doses can result in harmful side effects such as fatigue, dizziness, constipation, dehydration, gall stones and cold intolerance, you could also die if fasting is performed for lengthy periods of time.
Short-term fasting is also not recommended for anybody with type-1 diabetes, as the spikes and dips in blood sugar can be dangerous, women who are breast feeding or pregnant or anybody with a chronic disease should avoid fasting at all costs.
Before going on any type of new diet, consult your physician who may refer you to a dietitian to get a safe and effective plan in place with a healthy eating plan.
I hope this guide to fasting diets has been a great help to you and please feel free to comment below.