Does Fasting Help in Weight Management?
Many people consider fasting to be a quick way of losing extra pounds while others consider it to be useful for detoxifying the body. There are many types of fasting programs where only water or fluids are taken in while in another form, only fruits or raw foods are consumed. Fasting can be for one day, on alternate days, a few days a week, or once a month.
Fasting helps to reduce weight as the body tries to obtain enough energy from its reserves, but at the same time it reduces the rate of metabolism to conserve as much energy as possible. This can put weight management off track. When the person tries to get back to their usual routine and diet, reduced metabolic rate causes the body to store more energy for future emergencies. Therefore, the body actually gains back whatever was lost during the fasting period and it is possible that the body may actually increase reserves during the reversal.
Reverting back to a normal diet will cause the appetite hormones to work normally, and sometimes increase, which in turn makes the individual eat more than normal. Fasting adds two unwanted causes of weight gain – increased hunger and lower metabolic rate. The liver, skin, and kidney are natural detoxifying organs in our body. Whether fasting will help in removing toxins from the body is still doubtful and studies have not provided any concrete evidence of benefits.
Fasting for a long period of time may prove to be harmful. It reduces the amount of minerals and vitamins obtained through food. This inadequacy may lead to fatigue, constipation, dehydration, and gallstones. In most cases, in the absence of enough food intake, hormones in our body may break down the muscle tissue to release amino acids to convert into sugar. Fasting can be damaging to the muscles of the body as it increases its break down. This may further reduce weight loss as muscles are the best fat burning organs of the body.
Fasting is also known to increase stress, both physical and mental, due to increased production of stress hormone cortisol.
- Fasting can result in reduced metabolism and overeating once the fast ends
- There are many different variations of fasting
- While the benefits of fasting are unclear, it can be potentially harmful