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Fasting: Does it really work?

Want to drop those extra pounds in time for that holiday or party?Go on a Fast. At least, that’s what most are doing in order to lose weight quickly. But does it work? And more importantly, is it safe?

What is fasting?
Many people fast for a day or so, as part of their religious and spiritual practices. Some fast to “cleanse” their bodies, and others fast as a way to lose weight – quickly. Fasting to lose weight can be a hazard to your health. There are various types of fasts. Here are a few:

  • Water: This involves water, but no food. Many dieters are instructed to do this, up to 48 hours prior, in order to keep their digestive tracts clear, Ideally it would work well for some one who wants to go for a surgery so there won’t be complications when they’re under anesthesia.
  • Fruit juice: These have been very popular. They usually focus on organic fruit juices. But people can also include vegetables — either  raw or cooked in soups. Either way, they’re consuming few calories. 
  • Pounds Lost : Fasting ignites rapid weight loss because it deprives a body of calories it has to burn. Consuming fluids all day increases the need to urinate, which expels water weight and sodium that can cause water retention and bloating. Individuals often lose as much as three or four pounds in the first days of the fast and lose about one pound a day thereafter. Some people lose 30 to 40 pounds on a 30-day fast.

Is fasting healthy?
While fasting for a short period days (assuming your fluid intake is sufficient) is not harmful, there’s no evidence supporting its benefits. However, fasts lasting for more than a week, even with some minimal amount of calories, can damage your health. You need to consume protein for body’s needs. If you don’t have eat protein, your body starts to break down your muscle (which is protein) in order to get the necessary amino acids (the building blocks of protein). A long-lasting fast can damage your heart, which is a muscle, as well as your liver and kidneys, which can decrease in size, if you don’t ingest enough protein. Insufficient protein will also impair their functions.

  • Metabolism: One of the side effects people should be aware of is that because fasting slows the metabolism it leads to a loss of muscle rather than fat, as muscles rev your body. Accordingly, your body goes into conservation mode and tries to hold onto its reserves, which is why a change in metabolism makes it hard to keep the weight off when you begin eating food again. The only way to accomplish that is by gradually reintroducing food into your diet and beginning to exercise.
  • Unpleasant Effects: Fasting for weight loss takes discipline, because consuming only liquids leads to unpleasant side effects. Individuals feel tired and lethargic because of extreme caloric restrictions and may become easily irritated. Luckily, these feelings subside once your body becomes accustomed to drinking fresh fruit juices.

Does fasting cleanse the body?
There is no scientific evidence that fasting detoxes the body. Our bodies are already pretty self-sufficient. The liver is the body’s natural detox center. Other organs, including the lungs, the kidneys, and the skin, also remove impurities and toxins from the body. A fast may give the perception of “cleaning out” your body’s impurities, but that’s not what happens.While some people reportedly feel great after fasting, others feel sluggish, tired, achy, and unfocused. That’s because they’re often not getting sufficient calories. (It’s important to note that these kinds of fasts involve drinking a lot of water and ingesting some salt in order to support the body’s normal salt and water balance.)

Often people who are trying to “cleanse” their bodies, will also use colonics, or enemas. These can be risky to your health, because they can alter your body’s overall salt and water balance. This is also true for herbal tea laxatives.

Craving Reduction

Fasting reduces cravings for junk foods, too. Studies done at the University of Leeds,  shows that fasting reduces cravings more than deprivation diets and also that cravings decrease with both long-term and short-term fasting because it changes the brain’s mechanisms that affect blood glucose levels.

If you don’t eat and you drink a lot of water, you will urinate frequently. And if you eat few carbohydrates, you’ll also further increase water loss. But this won’t help you lose weight healthily. You’re only depleting your body of fluids, which may make it seem like you’re actually losing weight. Of course, if you eat few calories, you will lose weight quickly, but that doesn’t mean you will keep it off. As the saying goes: easy off; easy on.

Recommendations

While fasting promotes rapid weight loss, the best way to achieve long-term, permanent health and weight loss is by eating a sensible  and balanced diet and doing regular exercise. Nevertheless, You should only fast under the supervision of your doctor or at facilities that specialize in these programs, as they provide recommendations for safe and healthy fasting and monitor your health. These professionals also offer guidelines for maintaining weight loss after the fast has ended.

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