Why You Should Seriously Consider Fasting & Who Should Not
The Science Of Fasting, Risks & How To Maximize The Benefits
Originally, fasting used to be a cultural practice more than a scientific one. However, over the last few years, this age-old practice has started to attract significant attention from the scientific community as well.
Hopefully, the science-backed benefits of fasting, might also be the same reason why it could end up not being just another diet fad.
Learn the science to avoid the risks, and maximize the effects fasting.
A Quick Overview Of Fasting & Its Types
As we mentioned earlier in the article, fasting is a deliberate act of keeping oneself away from eating or limiting to very little calorie intake. It has been a part of human culture since time immemorial.
Whether you are a Christian, Hindu, Buddhist or Muslim, every religion has its own set of practices that call for abstaining from food, especially as a way to boost self-control.
One thing to should keep in mind about fasting is that it is not the same as starving. It is a controlled act and essentially runs for a fixed duration unlike starvation, which has no time limit.
In recent times, many dietary practices have gained enormous popularity among people. It may also be that the rising instances of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions have fueled this trend.
3 Common Ways Of Practicing Fasting Include:
1 - Intermittent Fasting (IF):
It is most probably the hottest diet trend these days. IF is an eating pattern and involves fasting on consecutive or alternate days. For example, in alternate day IF, you fast for a 24-hour period and take a normal diet the following 24 hours. Likewise, in whole-day IF (5:2), you can take a normal diet for 5 days but only very few calories are allowed on the 2 remaining days of the week. Evidently, IF is not a fixed practice rather a set of practices. Moreover, it does not talk about the foods to take on the normal days.
2 - Water Fasting (WF):
This is a stricter practice and allows you to take only water but no food or other drinks for a certain duration. Because water contains no calories, the calorie intake during this period is virtually zero. This is also the reason why a long-term WF is not recommended. Short-term WF has helped some people lose weight.
3 - Fasting-Mimicking Diet (FMD):
In its truest sense, this is not a fasting practice but a dietary intervention that includes low intake of protein and unhealthy fats but a high intake of healthy fats. Studies suggest that FMD could have effects similar to that of fasting. One mice study published in the journal Cell Metabolism found that FMD could make the experimental mice live longer than normal.
Top 5 Health Benefits of Fasting
It is now clear that fasting has more to do with your health than just keeping you slim. Given below are some incredible health benefits that you can expect after repeated practice of fasting.
The Risks of Fasting: Things You Should Never Miss
Though a potential health-promoting practice, fasting is not a panacea for all your health problems.
The potential risks include:
Sour taste and heartburn
Disturbed menstrual cycles in women
Low mood, anxiety and depressive symptoms in normal weight individuals
Basically, not everyone is fit for starving themselves for hours. If you already have some health issues or are taking some medications, it can cause more harm than good. People with compromised immunity or those with liver or kidney disorder should exercise an extra caution during the fast.
It is critically important that you talk to your doctor before you decide to fast especially if you have any long-term condition.
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