To fast or not to fast: The benefits and risks of fasting

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To fast or not to fast: The benefits and risks of fasting

Fasting has been practised for a variety of reasons throughout history, particularly for religious and spiritual reasons, in many different cultures. It has been discovered to have numerous health and weight benefits; as a result, it has grown in popularity as a different method of weight loss over time.

In this article, you will learn about the advantages and disadvantages of fasting for your health, as well as the value of consulting a dietician and nutritionist frequently while fasting to minimize health risks. 

What is fasting?

Fasting is the deliberate decision to refrain from eating and drinking for a set amount of time. In other words, when you fast, you completely refrain from consuming any food or liquids for however long you choose. Many nations engage in this voluntary act for cultural, spiritual, and religious reasons. 

Fasting is practised with the intention of achieving purification, spiritual discipline, and penance. Some people fast to reduce and maintain their weight as well as to develop self-control when it comes to overeating. 

There are many different types of fasting, including dry fasting, which excludes food consumption and encourages fluid intake. 

There are other types of fasting as well, such as water fasting (drink only water), juice fasting (drink only vegetable and fruit juice), and intermittent fasting (alternate periods of fasting and eating). 

Everybody fasts for a different amount of time; some people only fast for a few hours or a day, while others fast for several days or even weeks.

Fasting has many benefits that include weight loss, reduced inflammation, and blood sugar control. 

However, there are also health risks that can be fatal associated with fasting, such as dehydration, nutrient deficiency, low blood sugar, fatigue, and problems with eating disorders. 

It is therefore important to be cautious and speak to the best nutritionist in Bangalore before starting a fast, especially if you have certain medical conditions or are taking medications.

The benefits of fasting

Fasting has many advantages, and you can get the results you want, particularly if you work closely with an expert before you begin the process.  This is so that you can accomplish your goals while maintaining your health and safety by using the information the nutritionist can offer.

According to the nutritionist, the benefits of fasting are:

  • Weight loss:  regardless of the type of fasting, when you fast, you consume fewer calories, which in turn promotes burning fat. Keeping at this for longer can result in weight loss.

  • Improved insulin sensitivity: when you fast, the body burns stored fat for energy. This means that there is less consumption of carbohydrates, hence less glucose in the blood. 

    With type 2 diabetes, there is insulin resistance since the cells don’t respond well to insulin, which increases blood sugar since the pancreas produces more insulin to stimulate the cells. Reduced calorie intake means less production of insulin and better regulation of type 2 diabetes.

  • Reduced inflammation: Research shows that intermittent fasting increases the level of a protein called galectin-3 which controls inflammation. 

    Since inflammation is a major contributing factor to certain chronic diseases such as heart failure and type 2 diabetes, fasting can help control inflammation and reduce the risks of those chronic diseases.  

  • Reduced risk of chronic diseases: As mentioned in the point above, fasting reduces inflammation, which in turn lowers the risk of heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.  

  • Increased autophagy: calorie reduction due to fasting causes autophagy. Since the body is deprived of food and fluids for a certain period of time, it is forced to reuse stored fats as a source of energy. 

    In the process, the cells remove unnecessary or damaged cells and recycle them. This process can improve cellular health and longevity.
  • Mental clarity: Some people also report increased mental clarity and focus, and this may be due to ketones produced during fasting.

    Ketones are produced when there is a reduced level of glucose, which occurs during prolonged fasting. During this time, ketones become the energy source for the brain.

The Risks of fasting

It’s important to be well-prepared with the necessary knowledge prior to fasting because fasting has risks as well. Additionally, because these risks negatively affect you, it is advised that you seek professional advice from the best dietician in Bangalore to learn about your options.

  • Dehydration: Because some types of fasting, like dry fasting, restrict fluid intake, it can result in dehydration. Inadequate water consumption has a negative impact on health, and if it is prolonged, it can lead to serious harm.

  • Low blood sugar: Because fasting entails complete abstinence from food, the body is deprived of the essential carbohydrates that provide glucose. Without adequate glucose, the blood sugar drops, and this can cause dizziness, weakness, and fatigue.

  • Nutritional deficiencies: Your body gets the nutrients it needs from the food you eat, so when you eat fewer or no meals, your body gets much less of what it needs. Therefore, your health may suffer if you don’t get enough nutrients, vitamins, and essential minerals.

  • Increased risk of eating disorders: for those susceptible to eating disorders, fasting can worsen or trigger their situation. In addition, it can also lead to increased binge eating. 

  • Limitation of use: Fasting is not suitable for everybody as it can be harmful. Pregnant women, children, and people with certain medical conditions have limitations when it comes to fasting.  

In conclusion, there are many health advantages to fasting, but it is important to proceed carefully before starting one because there are risks involved, particularly for those who have certain medical conditions.

It is crucial to seek the advice and guidance of a professional to help you with your specific needs and give you as much information as possible. If you want to do fasting the right way, without compromising your health, contact the best dietician in Bangalore.