Top 7 Facts To Know About Fasting
Fasting is abstinence from food or drinks for health, religious, or ethical reasons. The abstinence can be complete, partial, temporary, or intermittent fasting. Fasting is used therapeutically since the 5th century BCE when Hippocrates advised abstinence from food for patients with some illnesses. Furthermore, fasting was practiced in some religions to prepare persons, particularly priests, for approaching their deities.
Facts to know about fasting
When some people are asked about fasting, the common perception is that fasting is abstinence from food to keep the body slim and healthy. However, this isn’t entirely true because food restrictions don’t make you healthy unless a proper program of fasting is followed.
Before deciding to fast, here are the facts to know about fasting that will help you understand fasting better:
Fasting is nothing new
Fasting has existed for a long time. The method is used in religious practices for penitence, reflection, and introspection. Further, it’s been used by political protesters to get media exposure and highlight their demands.
We practice fasting without even realizing it. For instance, you break your fast when you eat your breakfast. This type of fasting normally lasts between 8-9 hours. Dietitians recommend eating breakfast in the morning as it’s the most important meal of the day.
However, there’s evidence supporting the benefits of intermittent fasting. For instance, creating a different pattern of scheduling the meals. In this method, the hours for fasting are increased beyond 9 hours.
The ‘5:2 diet’ is the most common method
The ‘5:2’ diet is a type of intermittent fasting that limits the energy intake on two of the seven days in a week. For two days, dieters consume around 25% of their normal diet.
The intake is restricted to 500-calories for ladies and men are allowed around 600 calories on the fasting days. Intermittent fasting is practiced when calories are restricted on fast days and the overnight fast is extended into the day.
A study on alternate-day fasting has shown the potential effects of the method on body weight, body composition, and energy metabolism. The study indicates that there are some health benefits of intermittent fasting.
However, it’s still important to consult professional experts for understanding the benefits of intermittent fasting.
Water is allowed when fasting
Fasting for religious purposes can include abstinence from all fluids as well. However, the definition of fasting shouldn’t be taken literally to include abstinence from drinks like water. During intermittent fasting, water is allowed.
However, fruit juices, coffee, energy drinks, smoothies, and other drinks that contain sugars and milk are not allowed.
Fasting will not detoxify you
There is no scientific evidence proving that fasting will detoxify your body. Instead, you’ll harm yourself by not stimulating the colon with fiber to help sustain normal motility.
Also, the gastrointestinal tract system flourishes on healthy nutrients regularly flowing through the lining of the intestines. Thus, you don’t need to starve yourself to nourish your colonic health.
Fasting for a long period isn’t good
Our body needs a regular dose of electrolytes, minerals, and nutrients to survive. If you fast for too long, undesirable outcomes like dehydration, vertigo, exhaustion, irregular bowel movements, cold intolerance, and mental grogginess may occur.
Further, it’s difficult to sleep when hungry and hunger pangs can affect your moods. That’s the reason why most religious fasts are for 24 hours and not 24 days.
You may get angry
One of the disadvantages of fasting is the hunger pain experienced in the first few hours or weeks. For instance, if you skip breakfast you may get hungry and angry about the situation as your day progresses.
It’s natural to grab something to eat when you’re hungry. It’s important to train and discipline yourself to ignore hunger when fasting. It can be easier if you keep yourself busy and eliminate the chance of succumbing to the hunger pangs.
Primal survival mechanisms
The tendency of the body to survive can be attributed to the primal survival instinct. This mechanism drives the system when you stop eating at the usual times.
For instance, when you’re stuck on an island with no food, your body and brain adjust. So, the body’s baseline metabolism decreases to save your life. The lesser the calories you require, the longer you’ll last.
However, when food is available, your hunger emerges. That’s the reason why most people overcompensate by overeating.
The facts on fasting can help you know what’s true and what isn’t. It’s better to be guided by dietitians and nutritionists to maintain the required balance of nutrients in the body while fasting.
Fasting is good if you’re sustaining the body with sufficient nutrients. You don’t need to starve yourself to achieve a sexy body.
It’s vital to go for balanced nutrition and an active lifestyle. The above discussion will help you understand intermittent fasting and learn how to reap its rewards.