While fasting has often been used as a show of faith, a method to convey political views, or a quiet protest, many people use it as a method to promote weight loss and cleanse the body of toxins. While fasting for weight loss is not uncommon, there is a potential for health risks.
A fasting diet can be drinking water or eating only raw foods for a limited number of days. It can be the restriction of food on alternating days. Some of these diets restrict the dieter to drinking only water, juice or tea. Others involve a calorie reduction but do not do away with food completely.
Whereas this might be considered an extreme approach to dieting by many, the question then become how well does fasting for weight loss work?
Health Concerns about Fasting for Weight Loss
Standard weight loss methods require burning more calories per day than are consumed. A person faces certain health risks when her weight loss program is a decision not eat at all. There are dangers to fasting diets if not done correctly and you should seek medical supervision before beginning a food fast. Read, “Safely Fasting for Weight Loss.”
When a person is fasting for weight loss, the body responds to being starved and lowers the metabolic rate. Eating less than 1200 calories on a daily basis produces the same effect as a method of energy conservation.
Lowered metabolism causes a person to store energy. Once the fast is done, a person will probably gain back the weight that has been lost and perhaps a few pounds more. Appetite hormones revive after fasting, and you might actually feel hungrier than usual and binge eat as a result.
Fasting for weight loss causes an extreme decrease in leptin, the blood component that signals we have had enough to eat. This decrease makes it more difficult to lose weight and encourages overeating once the fast is completed despite the level of body fats.
Thinner people might lose weight when fasting while obese people may not because of different chemical changes that take place in the body types. Fasting increases anti-inflammatory mechanisms in the immune systems of lean people but does not do the same in obese people.
Fasting can alter mood and cause depression.
Fasting for long period of time can be harmful. The vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients the body gets from food are denied. An insufficient amount of these important nutrients can lead to symptoms of fatigue, dizziness, constipation, dehydration, gallstones, and intolerance to colds.
Even short-term fasting is not recommended for people who have diabetes because of increase and decrease in blood pressure. Pregnant women or women breastfeeding should not fast nor should any person who has a chronic disease.
Consultation with a doctor should be had before fasting for weight loss.
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