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Is Fasting Good For Your Body

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Can Help You Lose Weight And Visceral Fat

Is Fasting a Good Way to Detox? | Fasting & Cleanses

Many of those who try intermittent fasting are doing it to lose weight .

Generally speaking, intermittent fasting will make you eat fewer meals.

Unless you compensate by eating much more during the other meals, youll end up taking in fewer calories.

Additionally, intermittent fasting enhances hormone function to facilitate weight loss.

Lower insulin levels, higher HGH levels, and increased amounts of norepinephrine all increase the breakdown of body fat and facilitate its use for energy.

For this reason, short-term fasting actually increases your metabolic rate, helping you burn even more calories .

In other words, intermittent fasting works on both sides of the calorie equation. It boosts your metabolic rate and reduces the amount of food you eat .

According to a 2014 review of the scientific literature, intermittent fasting can cause weight loss of 38% over 324 weeks. This is a huge amount .

The study participants also lost 47% of their waist circumference over 624 weeks, which indicates that they lost lots of visceral fat. Visceral fat is the harmful fat in the abdominal cavity that causes disease .

One 2011 review also showed that intermittent fasting caused less muscle loss than continuous calorie restriction .

However, a 2020 randomized trial looked at people who followed the 16/8 method. In this diet, you fast for 16 hours a day and have an 8-hour window to eat.

Long Fasts: Case Reports

In humans, most of the studies on fasting have dealt with religious fasts, which are more like intermittent fasting (for example, during the month of Ramadan, observant Muslims may not eat or drink while the sun is up, but observers commonly do eat dinner after sundown, and sometimes a small breakfast before sunrise as well. These studies tell us a lot about the benefits of intermittent fasting, but not much about long-term water fasts. There havent been a lot of high-quality studies on long-term water fasting, since mainstream medicine regards it as very dangerous. There are a few case studies which are interesting, but difficult to draw conclusions from:

One study tracked an anonymous monk who undertook a 40-day fast, with no caloric intake at all except from taking communion, which the researchers estimated at 60 calories per day. After thoroughly measuring every baseline of health before the man started fasting, the researchers took daily and weekly measurements until day 36. During this time, the man:

  • Lost around 34.5 pounds
  • Developed symptoms of severe hypotension , to the point where he needed almost half an hour just to stand up in the morning.
  • Showed no major changes in serum potassium, magnesium, calcium, or phosphorous
  • Showed a slight rise in serum zinc
  • Showed increased levels of uric acid for the first two weeks. Uric acid stabilized in the third week, and then normalized after that.

Long Fasts vs. Shorter Fasts

Cautions Of 7 Days Fasting

The extreme danger of long term fasting is death of starvation. However, this will never happen if the 7 days fasting or the long term fasting is done properly. Well, 7 days fasting can give you some proves of health benefits. Nevertheless, you should definitely consult to the health professional such as doctors or nutritionist related to your own health condition. It is needed since the result may be different, from one person to another.

In some conditions, when our body doesnt have enough protein supply our body will cannibalize the protein in our muscle. It is alright if the body takes the protein from biceps, and the other. However, it will be bad if the body cannibalize the protein from the internal organs muscle such as heart. It will weaken the heart performance. Therefore, this kind of diet is only suitable for those with strong heart condition.

In addition, after the 7 days accomplishment you will definitely lose some pounds. However, you will quickly gain weight if you dont properly manage your diet. Therefore, if you dont want to make your water fasting useless, you need to manage everything afterward.

Read Also: How Many Hours For Intermittent Fasting

Is Fasting Good For You

With so many diets out there, youd be forgiven for wondering, is fasting good for you? Some people are really enthusiastic about fasting diets, claiming they have changed their lives and helped them shed serious weight, but are they safe?

Intermittent fasting is a method of calorie restriction that requires you to go for extended periods of time without eating. There are different types of fasting programs – some recommend fasting for a few hours or a specific chunk of each day, some require fasting for a few days each week, and some involve fasting for several days each month.

Intermittent fasting has gained momentum because of a widespread belief that the regime can help you improve your fitness level, boost longevity, and get faster and longer-lasting weight loss results when used alongside the best exercise machines to lose weight.

Before we delve into everything you need to know about fasting, if youre considering any major change to your diet, its important to check with your doctor before starting intermittent fasting, particularly if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.

Fasting And Weight Loss

Is Intermittent Fasting Good For You?

If you weed through all the controversy, you’ll find that most medical experts agree on one thing: fasting is not a healthy weight loss tool.

“The appeal is that is quick, but it is quick fluid loss, not substantial weight loss,” says Madelyn Fernstrom, PhD, CNS, founder and director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Weight Loss Management Center.

“If it’s easy off, it will come back quickly” — as soon as you start eating normally again, she says.

Even some proponents of fasting for other medical purposes do not support fasting for weight loss. Some say it can actually make weight problems worse.

“Fasting is not a weight loss tool. Fasting slows your metabolic rate down so your diet from before the fast is even more fattening after you fast,” says Joel Fuhrman MD, author of Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Plan for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss and Fasting and Eating for Health.

Fasting for weight loss carries other health risks as well.

While fasting for a day or two is rarely a problem if you are healthy, “it can be quite dangerous if you are not already eating a healthy diet, or if you’ve got liver or kidney problems, any kind of compromised immune system functioning, or are on medication — even Tylenol,” says Fuhrman, a family physician in Flemington, N.J..


In addition, other practices that are often combined with fasting for weight loss, such as colon cleansing, carry their own risks.

Read Also: When To Check Fasting Blood Sugar

How Does An Intermittent Fast Burn Fat

Assuming youve never gone on an intermittent fast before, you may be fascinated with how this works. How does the body burn fat while fasting? Is it simply by calorie restriction alone?

Actually, no. To understand how your body torches fat, we first have to talk about the bodys energy source.

From the moment you wake up until when you go to sleep , your body needs energy. This is what allows you to get up, go about your daily routine, and enjoy your life rather than feel like youre dragging through it.

This energy comes from glycogen, a polysaccharide of glucose. Bacteria, fungi, animals, and humans alike all rely on glycogen to fuel our daily activities. When our systems receive glucose, a simple sugar, we can synthesize it to glycogen for energy through glycogenesis.

Where does glucose come from? Mostly in the foods we eat. The foods with the highest quantities of glucose are fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Thus, if you eat a diet rich with olive oil, avocados, peanut butter, cheese, meat, fish, dairy, fruits and vegetables, pasta, rice, and bread, you get plenty of glucose.

If your body has more glucose than it needs, it holds onto it for later. This can increase your insulin, meaning your body will always burn glucose, even if given the chance to burn fat instead. Should you develop an insulin resistance and this becomes chronic, your body increases insulin production when youre full.

Long Fasts And Weight Loss

The most obvious and best-researched benefits of longer fasts are for weight loss: if youre not eating anything, weight will drop off your body fairly quickly. During the first 24 hours or so, you go through all the glycogen in your liver. After that, your body needs to run on what it has stored, either protein or fat.

For the first few days, weight loss averages around 1-2 pounds a day, both because youre shedding water weight and because youre using more protein. But consuming protein for fuel is risky, because it means breaking down muscles not only your biceps, but also more essential muscles like your heart. This makes fat by far a preferential energy source, so after a few days, your body turns to its stored fat reserves for energy . Since fat is more energy-dense per pound than protein, weight loss during this phase slows down to a more reasonable but still rapid pace of a little over 1 pound every 2 days.

Essentially, then, a long fast is a way of staying in ketosis for an extended period of time, but forcing your body to rely entirely on its own fat stores instead of dietary fat intake. Being in ketosis makes for fairly easy weight loss, since it suppresses hunger . Fasting also allows you to completely get your mind off food, instead of always thinking about what youre going to eat next and worrying about whether or not youre eating too much.

Recommended Reading: Can Water Fasting Help You Lose Weight

How To Begin 5 2 Intermittent Fasting

You will begin by eating normally for 5 of the days each week. By eating normally, we encourage you to eat a clean, healthy diet that is filled with whole foods, healthy meats and pastured eggs.

For the 2 fasting days, you will eat 1 meal consisting of 600 or 500 or 2 meals each day consisting of 300 or 250 calories each.

Again, you can also drink water, coffee and other drinks that have no calories.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Fasting

What Fasting Does to Your Body: SCIENCE OF RAMADAN
  • What Are the Health Benefits of Fasting? Center
  • Fasting is defined as a period of partial or total restriction from all foods or selected foods. Fasting may be done as a part of dieting for weight loss or religious reasons. Given that fasting is a potential remedy for longevity, it has been the subject of many studies. The American Heart Association has stated that regular fasting is associated with lower rates of heart failure and improved metabolism. Thus, fasting could be the key to a long, healthy life. Many studies show that those who fast routinely have an almost 45 percent lower mortality rate compared to those who dont fast during the follow-up period.

    Most studies on fasting have been conducted on individuals who fast for religious reasons. This includes long fasts, such as the Islamic Ramadan, Lent and Daniel fast. It has been suggested that fasting, if done right, can have the following health benefits:

    • Improvements in pumping action of the heart
    • Lowered levels of LDL or bad cholesterol
    • Reduced level of fasting insulin
    • Increased insulin sensitivity
    • Fasting for a short time can produce ketosis, which accentuates weight loss
    • Reduced production of inflammatory substances in the body
    • Ketosis during fasting triggers several responses, including decreased inflammation, improved blood sugar regulation and better response to physical stress

    Also Check: How Does Fasting Affect Your Body

    What Are The Risks Associated With Fasting

    Though many studies have proven the benefits of fasting in general, fasting as a method of weight loss needs more evidence. The most important thing to note is that fasting is not for everybody.

    • If people have a history of eating disorders, fasting may not be a good idea. Intermittent fasting has been known to trigger binge eating behavior, which can cause complications of its own.
    • Individuals with diabetes who take medications and insulin may have severely low blood sugar levels, which may be life-threatening.
    • Some individuals resort to dry fasting, which means they do not drink water nor do they eat solids for the periods of fasting. This trend is dangerous because it can trigger severe dehydration, exhaustion, electrolyte imbalance, heatstroke and headaches. It is also damaging for the kidneys.
    • Fasting is a potential migraine trigger.
    • Severe caloric restriction can often push a person into dangerously low body weight.
    • Ketogenesis brought on by fasting may have undesirable effects because the body is getting used to burning fats instead of glucose. This is called keto flu.
    • Unsupervised fasting may trigger nutritional deficiencies. This may adversely impact all the body functions in the long run.

    Aids Weight Loss By Limiting Calorie Intake And Boosting Metabolism

    Many dieters pick up fasting looking for a quick and easy way to drop a few pounds.

    Theoretically, abstaining from all or certain foods and beverages should decrease your overall calorie intake, which could lead to increased weight loss over time.

    Some research has also found that short-term fasting may boost metabolism by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which could enhance weight loss .

    In fact, one review showed that whole-day fasting could reduce body weight by up to 9% and significantly decrease body fat over 1224 weeks .

    Another review found that intermittent fasting over 312 weeks was as effective in inducing weight loss as continuous calorie restriction and decreased body weight and fat mass by up to 8% and 16% respectively .

    In addition, fasting was found to be more effective than calorie restriction at increasing fat loss while simultaneously preserving muscle tissue (

    Don’t Miss: Should I Be Intermittent Fasting

    What To Expect With Intermittent Fasting

    • You will most likely notice your stomach is grumbling during fasting periods, primarily if you are used to constant grazing throughout the day.
    • Fasting may also lead to an increase in the stress hormone, cortisol, which may lead to even more food cravings.
    • Overeating and binge eating are two common side effects of intermittent fasting.
    • Intermittent fasting is sometimes associated with dehydration because when you do not eat, sometimes you forget to drink. For good health, it is essential to actively stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking, on average, three liters of water.
    • You will most likely feel tired because your body is running on less energy than usual, and since fasting can boost stress levels, it can also disrupt your sleep patterns. It is crucial to adopt a healthy, regular sleep pattern and stick to it so you can feel rested on an everyday basis.
    • The same biochemistry that regulates mood also regulates appetite with nutrient consumption affecting the activity of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. Fasting could play a role in anxiety and depression.
    • Deregulating your appetite may do the same to your mood and therefore you will most likely feel irritable on occasions when you are fasting.

    Could We Reap The Benefits Of Fasting Without Fasting

    What Happens To Your Body When You Don

    While intermittent fasting may have health risks, nutritionists claim it can be good for us if individuals consult with their doctors before adopting such a diet and adhere to it correctly.

    But could there be a way to reap the potential health benefits of fasting without actually having to fast? Dr. Longo believes so.

    Earlier this week, Dr. Longo and colleagues from USC published a study in the journal Cell Metabolism revealing how a fasting-mimicking diet triggered immune cell regeneration and extended the lifespan of mice.

    What is more, on testing the diet in humans who adhered to it for only 5 days a month for 3 months they found it reduced a number of risk factors associated with aging, cardiovascular disease , diabetes and cancer.

    The FMD is low in protein, low in unhealthy fats and high in healthy fats, according to the researchers. It stimulates markers linked to fasting, such as low glucose levels and high levels of ketone bodies, in order to mimic the effects of prolonged fasting.

    Dr. Longo and colleagues say their diet could promote immune cell regeneration and longevity associated with fasting without the need for food restriction and the potential adverse effects that come with it.

    It may be a while before the FMD receives approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for clinical use. First, the team needs to put the diet through a rigorous testing process.

    Also Check: Can You Lose Weight By Water Fasting

    What Happens If You Fast

    Food is basically your bodys energy supply carbs, fats, protein.

    When you eat, your insulin levels rise, telling your body to take the glucose from your food and use it as energy. Also, your body isnt the type to let the leftovers go waste. So, the excess is stored as glycogen in your liver.

    Long story short, when we dont eat, this energy has to come from somewhere else.

    Six to 24 hours after your last meal, your insulin levels begin to drop and the stored glycogen gets called in to provide energy.

    Day 1: Your liver starts using amino acids to make glucose.

    Day 2: When your entire stock of carb has been used up to provide glucose, emergency services kick in and the body starts breaking down fats through a process called lipolysis.

    The fatty acids in the liver begin to break down into ketones which are then used as energy.

    Day 4: About 75 percent of the energy for your brain comes from these ketones.

    Quick fun fact. The keto diet or low-carb diet is based on relying on ketones for energy instead of carbohydrates.

    Next, the body starts breaking down proteins.

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