Benefits and Risks of Fasting
One of the largest industries in the world is weight loss. Advertisers spend millions of dollars promoting products. Consumers spend hundreds of dollars on programs and books that suggest they’re the next thing to lose weight. Fasting has been one of the methods that is on trend. But does it work?
What Is Fasting, Exactly?
Fasting is when you limit your food or drink intake for a certain time frame. It can mean that you don’t eat any food and just drink juice and liquids. It can also mean that you don’t eat at specific hours of the day. Many religions practice fasting as a part of the spiritual tradition. For example, Jews fast for 25 hours on Yom Kippur for atonement and repentance.
Fasting is making its way into the weight loss market to help people manage how much they eat. It’s also though to help reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Intermittent fasts, short 24-hour fasts, are being studied for therapeutic purposes. More research is needed, but early studies suggest that short fasts can eliminate or reduce the need for diabetic medication.
Benefits of Fasting
One researcher out of the University of Southern California found that short-term fasting trimmed abdominal fat, reduced blood glucose levels and reduced a protein that was associated with cardiovascular disease. Subjects in the study only ate 1,200 calories for five days each month, then they would resume their normal habits. It’s believed that this fasting promoted regeneration of stem cells, too.
Fasting is thought to be a good option when a person finds it difficult to stick to a regimented and restrictive diet plan. Rather than monitoring your caloric intake every day, you simply fast occasionally. However, even though researchers believe there are benefits to fasting, more studies do need to be done with larger groups of people.
Potential Risks of Fasting
Restricting calories is a difficult way to lose weight because it can be very difficult to adhere to the program for a long period of time. You may actually slow down your metabolism by fasting, which will have the opposite results. Your body may retain weight, thinking that it isn’t going to get any food. Fasting can also be a precursor for eating disorders. The medical community disagrees on whether fasting works or not.
Fasting can cause dehydration, which can be very serious. You may also lose water weight and muscle mass during a fast, rather than the fat that is causing problems. Some medical conditions can be aggravated by a fast. Even though fasting may help diabetics, there is a concern of low blood sugar during a fast. People with a chronic kidney condition may not benefit from a complete fast, because water is needed to keep the kidneys going.
Work With Professionals to Lose Weight
Losing weight fast is not good for your body. Use the resources from professional nutritionists, dieticians and healthcare providers to help you create the plan that works for you. Ask your Santa Rosa health insurance broker what resources your insurance program has to offer. Contact Sackett & Associates Insurance Services for more information.