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What is Fasting?

Fasting is the voluntary absence of food and/or drink for a set period of time. Often mistaken for dry fasting, which is complete abstinence of all food and drink. Interesting fact, everyone fasts while they sleep. A person is considered fasting around 8 hours after their last meal. The nutrients from the food have been fully absorbed and the body is now using blood glucose, protein and fat to fuel the body. This is called post-absorptive state.

Why Fast?

The three most common reasons for fasting are weight loss, religious practice and medical testing. Clinical studies have looked into the effects of intermittent fasting on the human body. The findings show that fasting can reduce morbidity, improve stress resistance, increase insulin sensitivity and possibly reduce the risks of stroke, Parkinson’s disease and even Alzheimer’s disease. While these studies were only tested on a small group, the results were promising.

Downside of Fasting

Fasting to lose weight is effective, but at a cost. After a few days of no food, the body goes into a state called ketosis. Ketosis is when the body begins to use stored fats and protein for energy. While this sounds ideal for anyone struggling to lose a few stubborn pounds, it’s counterintuitive. Strict calorie intake slows metabolism dramatically, which puts the body into survival mode. During this time, the body will begin to break down muscle throughout the body, even heart muscles, to provide energy. Just a few days of ketosis can cause the blood to become more acidic, leading to bad breath and fatigue. While long-term ketosis can lead to kidney & liver damage, and other serious health problems. It is advised that 24-hours be the longest period of fasting. This interval does not appear to have any negative health side effects and may eventually lead to the results from the clinical study.


For More Information:

A Beginner’s Guide to Fasting [Nerd Fitness]

Intermittent Fasting [Scientific American]

Long Fasts [Paleo Leap]

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