Most people know that in order to lose weight they need to consume less calories than they burn off in a day. It therefore seems logical that by fasting and therefore consuming very few calories, one will experience faster weight loss. However, this is not always the case and long term fasting can have dangerous side effects and serious implications for your health.
How Does Fasting Work?
Fasting will usually involve the restriction of all forms of solid food from the diet. There are no restrictions on the amount of fluids that you can drink but most fasting plans will usually recommend that you don't consume drinks such as sodas and fruit juices that contain a large number of calories. If solid foods are allowed on the diet then these will usually be foods that do not have many calories. Some plans also recommend that you take laxatives while fasting. Fasting in itself will leave you feeling weak because the body is not getting all of the nutrients that it needs. Taking laxatives will mean that even more of these nutrients are leaving your body, which will leave you even weaker.
Should Fasting Be Avoided Altogether?
There are occasions when fasting is not dangerous. If it is carried out for religious reasons, then the period of fasting is not usually long enough to cause any real problems. Fasting may also be recommended for medical reasons, such as before an operation. Again, the period of this fasting is not long enough to cause any damage to the body. Fasting only really becomes dangerous when it lasts for a period of longer than three days. It is not recommended as a long term solution for weight loss and should only be carried out if you have a valid reason for doing so.
What Are The Dangers Of Long Term Fasting?
Fasting for a period longer than three days can have many serious implications for your health. Besides leaving you feeling weak and drained of energy, fasting can also put a great deal of pressure on your internal organs, which can lead to problems with your heart, including cardiac arrhythmia, and also to more potentially life threatening conditions such as renal failure. The health problems that can result from fasting are likely to be longer-lasting than any weight loss that you do achieve through fasting. Instead of fasting, focusing on a healthy diet will give you better results.
Will Fasting Lead To Weight Loss?
There are a number of reasons why fasting may not lead to the weight loss that you were expecting. After a few days of fasting, the body will begin to realize that it is not getting the calories it needs. In order to protect itself, the body will cling on to any stores of fat that it has so that it can continue to get the energy that it needs. When you are fasting, your metabolism will slow right down, making it very difficult for you to lose weight as you will not be burning as many calories. In order to lose weight, what you really want to be doing is increasing your metabolism, as this will help your body to burn more calories.
If any weight is lost during fasting, then this is usually fluid rather than any fat that has been lost. You will not be able to go on fasting forever without causing lasting damage to your body and when you do start eating normally any weight that has been lost will be regained. There is also a danger that you may put on even more weight because the cravings that you will start to experience when you start to eat again may lead you to overeat.
Fasting is often a dangerous approach to weight loss and one that is not always effective. If you are trying to lose weight then you probably will need to reduce the calories that you consume throughout the day, but you still need to ensure that you are eating enough to provide your body with the calories that it needs to carry out all its necessary functions. Fasting on a long term basis can potentially be very damaging to your overall health and for this reason it is not recommended as a strategy for weight loss.
More Life Coach advice on YourTango: