Various forms of fasting, such as every other day fasting are becoming very popular in weight loss and fitness circles, but should this practice be considered safe? Will going without food on a regular basis help you to lose weight or will it only cause you harm in the long run?
On the whole, fasting isn’t anything new. It’s something people have done for thousands of years. There are many reasons for this, though primary among them has been religious practices such as Lent or Ramadan. That said, even Hippocrates believed that fasting was a good way to help lose weight, and that was way back in Ancient Greece.
Recent estimates are that about 14 percent of American adults – that’s more than one in ten people – have tried to fast to achieve weight loss. When you consider that 44 percent of people in the United States are dieting at any given time, the number of people who have used fasting as their method of choice at some point is rather significant.
That percentage is only expected to rise as the technique takes off, including the strategy for every other day fasting. While the more typical versions would have a dieter fast for 24 hours each week, this more extreme method turns it into 24 hours every 48 hours, which means you’re spending half your days not eating.
While doing this once per week doesn’t put a person at much of a risk of any kind of nutritional deficiencies or hormonal imbalance, it does mean that there will be hunger and a likelihood for moodiness and weakness one day out of every seven. That said, every other day fasting is another story.
Though this can be done successfully, in theory, it would require a dieter to know a lot more about nutrition than the average person. After all, most people aren’t quite on track in terms of their ideal nutrition when they eat every day. Giving themselves half the time means they have cut their chances of proper nutrition in half unless they make a very deliberate and concerted effort to eat in a very balanced way during the times they do eat.
The problem is that most people who fast intermittently do so in order to eliminate the need to have to restrict themselves the rest of the time. Therefore, they end up using the days when they are not on a fast to binge and eat whatever they feel like. Not only can this result in more total calorie consumption than simply eating reasonably every day, but it also opens the door to eating far too little of certain essential nutrients.