We’re all guilty of skipping breakfast sometimes when we’re in a rush. But how many of us have ever tried fasting for a period of time? Thinking about it makes it seem impossible to do; go 24-hours without food? Impossible!
However, a lot of people all around the world do it. A lot are for religious reasons, but now people are using it to help them lose weight.
There’s a lot to know about fasting, how it works and the benefits it can bring to your life.
Described as an act of abstaining from certain or all food, drink or both, for a period time, it seems like a difficult task. The problem with most people is that after the fast they end up binging on unhealthy food, which defeats the purpose of fasting. Sometimes a fast can last for 12 hours, 24 hours or even a few days. The most common is when people fast every other day, but there are so many variations.
Read on to know more.
Does it work?
The views are mixed when it comes to this method of losing weight. There’s no proof that it detoxes the body, the only proof is what people say after they’ve done the fasting for a period of time.
When you eat less and you lose weight your body goes into starvation mode and your metabolism slows down. The problem is that when you start eating again you are likely to put the weight back on.
By fasting your appetite is curved, but you soon get it back once you start eating again with a vengeance, so you have to be careful.
One study was done where they fasted every other day, ate what they wanted on the days they weren’t fasting, but the weight loss didn’t last.
Dr. Razeen Mahroof, of the University of Oxford in the UK, said:
A detoxification process also occurs, because any toxins stored in the body’s fat are dissolved and removed from the body.
He also said that higher levels of endorphins are produced in the blood and they have a positive impact on mental well being.
A study was published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, where the team found that repeated cycles of 2-4 days fasting over a 6-month period destroyed old and damaged immune cells in mice and generated new ones. Of course, mice are completely different to humans but it’s refreshing to see that it could possibly work for us.
The team then went on to find that cancer patients who fasted for 3 days before chemotherapy were protected against damage to the immune system.
Dr. Valter Longo conducted the experiment and said:
The good news is that the body got rid of the parts of the system that might be damaged or old, the inefficient parts, during the fasting. Now, if you start with a system heavily damaged by chemotherapy or ageing, fasting cycles can generate, literally, a new immune system.
What are the different kinds of fasting?
People fast for religious reasons and some just want to lose weight. Here are some of the most popular ways of doing so:
- Water fasting: one of the most difficult as all you do is drink water as your diet plan. It is also one of the most powerful ones out there.
- Intermittent Fasting: typically the most popular type, you avoid eating for the majority of the day and eat on a couple of occasions. Helps the system to liberate and break down saved adipose cells for energy, helps to regulate the blood sugar levels. A common method is Lean Gains, where you eat from noon to 8pm and fast otherwise.
- Honey Lemon and Water fast: offers nutrition with anti-oxidant properties of honey and lemon. Helps assist with the detoxing process.
- Juice Fasting: One of the easiest forms of fasting as you get nutrients from fresh fruit and vegetables. It purifies contaminants out of the body as the juices have lots of minerals and vitamins.
- The Fruits and Vegetables Fast: Becoming a vegetarian has lots of benefits, such as getting raw fruits, veggies and salads to help your system to eliminate the poisonous waste materials. There is also less consumption of calories, so you should steer clear of excessive amounts of starchy foods.
Any side effects?
A short fast won’t hurt most people as long as they don’t get dehydrated, if that happens you could have the following symptoms:
- Increased thirst
- Dry mouth and swollen tongue
- Inability to sweat
- Decreased urine output
Fasting for too long can be dangerous, as the body needs vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from food to stay healthy.
It isn’t a good idea for people with diabetes to do it as the can lead to dangerous dips and spikes in blood sugar. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding shouldn’t fast, neither should those with a chronic disease, the elderly or children. Always ask your doctor if it’s a good idea to fast to make sure it will actually benefit you.
Disclaimer: Our reviews and investigations are based on extensive research from the information publicly available to us and consumers at the time of first publishing the post. Information is based on our personal opinion and whilst we endeavour to ensure information is up-to-date, manufacturers do from time to time change their products and future research may disagree with our findings. If you feel any of the information is inaccurate, please contact us and we will review the information provided.