How Fasting Affects Your Diet and Health
Fasting has long been a religious custom and a naturalist cure for many ailments. But how does this common practice affect your long-term and short-term health and what kind of impact will it have on your diet? Let’s take a look.
In the short term, fasting is pretty great for your health. Fasting one day a month or a couple days a year is a good way to reset your system and clean out some toxins. You see, your body is constantly trying to cleanse itself of toxins from foods you eat. If your body gets a break from that, it can clear out more toxins and leave you feeling refreshed and healthier.
You do need to be careful about fasting for more than a day or two at a time. Fasting for several days puts your body into ketosis mode. This means that your body will start to burn off body fat in order to keep muscle intact. It is essentially a heightened survival mode for your body, and there is potential lasting damage from fasting so long. Your liver and kidneys are particularly at risk when you fast from more than a day or two.
But the benefits of short-term fasting can be pretty great. Now this type of food abstinence has not been proven to cure allergies or diabetes or any other medical condition, contrary to what many fasting proponents and naturalists will tell you. There is simply no evidence that you can cure anything with fasting. But it is a good way to clean out your system and maintain a higher level of health.
Fasting once a month or slightly less regularly can have superb benefits for your overall health, and anyone who is not seriously ill should consider doing so. One of the biggest benefits is a boost to your heart’s health. You can prevent a number of heart diseases by fasting every so often. That’s because fasting reduces stress on your heart. Your body isn’t processing as many things, and your heart doesn’t have to work as hard.
Now a mention of ketosis above may have set some dieters into a fasting frenzy. The thought of your body burning off its fat without any real work (beyond abstaining from food) sounds like one of those dieting fads that is too good to be true. That’s because this solution for weight loss really is not effective. Yes, you can lose a lot of body fat very quickly by fasting for several days at a time. But you should know that once you start eating again, your body will make sure you are making up for that lost fat. It will try to normalize your weight and fat distribution once more by giving you hunger pains and by storing fat more efficiently.
Of course, you can keep off that fat you lost, but you have to be very precise with what you eat and how you are dieting and exercising. Still, it really isn’t worth the stress this kind of dieting can put on your body. Fasting for more than a few days at a time is not recommended because of the long-term damage your body will endure.
You should understand that fasting is no substitute for a good diet. You cannot simply fast for a day then binge eat the next day and indulge in whatever you want. That is the way to a truly unhealthy body and it is the epitome of an unbalanced diet.
Your body needs some balance in the way you eat. If you starve yourself then binge eat, you are stressing your body and making it incredibly unhealthy. When you deprive your body of food, it does try to hold on to the fat cells as it enters the primary stages of survival mode and prepares for ketosis. Just fasting for a day does not give you license to eat whatever you want the next day, so be sure you are not trying to diet in this manner.
Fasting has its benefits, but it needs to be incorporated into a healthy, balanced diet.