Traditionally, fasting is associated with religion or sometimes protesting. It is seen as a way to demonstrate your faith and show determination and strength and can sometimes be a form of spiritual reflection. Often people fast to symbolise the 40 days Jesus endured in the desert without food. More recently, fasting has become a way to diet and to lose weight quickly. This approach to 'quick fix' weight loss can be very damaging to your body and your health.
What is the fasting diet?
The fasting diet is exactly what it says on the tin. Fasting from food. Some people see it as a form of a body cleansing diet by detoxifying the body, only eating raw foods or just allowing liquids to pass through the body. Others would argue that the body is in a very delicate balance and therefor, detoxifying through fasting will leave your body deprived from the nutrients it craves on a daily basis. Not always necessary In addition to this, the body is designed to excrete toxins from your body naturally, through sweat and the skin, the liver, kidneys and the colon. As a result, fasting is not always necessary. Slowing of your metabolism to save energy Fasting even for a couple of days will in the short run make you lose weight as your body uses the stored glycogen and glucose, absorbed through eating carbohydrates. However, after a few days the body adapts to the lack of food and therefore uses the nutrients already in the body as a store to keep you going, this is your metabolism slowing down to conserve energy. Not a long-term solution However, after the fasting is over, it is well known that people will start to binge eat, putting back on the weight which was lost through fasting which infers that fasting is not a long-term solution to weight loss.
Health implications and safety
Fasting for long periods of time can be very dangerous for the body. Without the vitamins, minerals and nutrients from food, it is very easy for the body to become lethargic leading to dizziness, fatigue, dehydration and even constipation. Short-term fasting Short-term fasting is not suitable for pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding, diabetics or anyone with a chronic disease. The sudden dip in blood sugar levels can be very unsafe. In some cases, fasting for too long could even be life-threatening.