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The Benefits and Risks of Fasting

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Ritual fasting has been construed as food for the soul in many religions. Proponents prove intermittent fasting is a powerful elixir that enhances your health, jump starts weight loss, beats cravings and flushes the toxins out of your system.

 

Besides, it sounds too good to be true: no choices, no cooking and no counting calories. However, long-term fasting could have serious repercussions on the body. Here are the benefits and risks of fasting so you can decide whether fasting is your weight loss mantra or not:

 

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

 

  • Fasting has been known to boost insulin sensitivity to cells and allows you to tolerate complex carbohydrates better than in a non-fasting state. After a controlled period of fasting, insulin resistance decreases and cells are more apt to taking up glucose from the bloodstream.
  • Fasting protects the body from the constant onslaught of food and digesting, assimilating and metabolizing those foods require a great deal of energy. After a heavy meal, almost 65% of our energy is routed to digested organs. However, during fasting, this energy is employed in recuperation and healing. This is synonymous to house cleaning.
  • Since fasting gives your digestive system intermittent rests, it energizes metabolism and makes the body more apt to burn calories. It can cure poor digestion and promotes healthy bowel function.
  • If somebody has a binge eating disorder, fasting can be a useful practice to regulate a healthy eating pattern. As you go all afternoon without eating, it automatically sets an eating time for you to consume all your calories at one time.
  • Intermittent fasting is a safe way to lose weight. When your body runs low on glucose, it burns fat cells as a primary source of energy more efficiently than any other diet plan. It preserves the breakdown of muscles for protein and relies on fat as a source of energy.
  • Fasting helps to detox cells, tissues and organs by eliminating foreign toxins out of the body.

Risks of Fasting

 

  • One of the biggest risks of fasting is dehydration, as your body continues to lose water through perspiration and urination.
  • Fasting reduces secretion of the stomach acid which kills bacteria and aids digestion. However, the mere thought or smell of food during fasting could cause the stomach to produce excessive acid, which could lead to heartburn.
  • Body goes into self-preservation mode during fasting to prevent starvation. This triggers the production of the stress hormone, cortisol, which makes you feel physically and mentally stressed and could slow down metabolism. It could also cause intense irritability, mood swings, dizziness, nausea and low energy.
  • If you fast for prolonged durations, the stress hormone, cortisol, tries to convert the amino acids from the muscles into sugar to nurture the brain, heart and kidneys. By actively converting the amino acids in your muscles, prolonged fasting could lead to muscle degeneration.

 


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