There are many prejudices associated with fasting: that it is dangerous, unhealthy, toxic and completely useless – none of which are true. There is absolutely nothing wrong with fasting when it’s done right. The problem is that a lot of people who try fasting without positive results simply aren’t doing it right.
There is a clear distinction between fasting and crash-dieting, and if you are thinking of trying fasting, you should definitely look into it and see how it’s done right. To put it simply: abstaining is not a lifestyle. It’s something that is done periodically and in a specific way, and that is the only right way to do it. It isn’t starving yourself and it should never leave you malnourished. So, what are the actual benefits of fasting?
Helps Regulate your Insulin
Insulin resistance, high blood sugar, and diabetes that often results from the two have been more and more common in the past several years. After all, the way we are eating today is, most likely, the farthest away from “healthy” that we’ve ever been.
But, if you focus on what and how much you eat through the fast, you will be consuming much healthier foods and some studies show that fasting insulin has been decreased by up to 30%. It can also help with kidney damage, a common consequence of diabetes.
If we were to simplify fasting to its core, we could say that abstaining is just eating less frequently and consuming fewer calories, and as a natural result, people tend to lose weight while fasting. Intermittent fasting enhances hormone function to break down fat cells and greatly improves your metabolism, speeding it up to 14%.
The simple reason why intermittent fasting is better than calorie restriction and dieting is the fact your body knows it’s going to get food again soon, so it doesn’t shut down and start storing energy. So, even though fasting might not be the best way to lose weight, it can definitely help, and it doesn’t have the many side effects that the more traditional diets have.
Overall Health Benefits
Heart disease is becoming more and more prominent and people are starting to look for ways to get the situation under control. Fasting has been discovered to be a great method for improving blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and many other risk factors.
Furthermore, it has been shown to increase cellular repair processes, meaning that it metabolizes broken proteins and removes them from your body. Early speculations show that this could be the path to preventing many diseases such as Alzheimer’s and even cancer. There are still just hypotheses, but we might be seeing scientific breakthroughs in the field very soon.
Things to Be Careful of When Fasting
In order for fasting to have beneficial effects on your body, it has to be done properly. You must never fast for too long at any time because then it simply turns into starving yourself. The two most popular methods are the 5:2, where you eat normally five days of the week, then cut down and eat only around 600 calories for two days.
There is also an option where you fast for five days every three months and even an option where you simply skip a meal of the day, for example, breakfast. To make sure you’re taking in enough nutrients, you can take some quality health supplements to make sure you are getting everything you need without all the calories.
There is really nothing to lose when it comes to refraining from eating during a certain time period, and everyone should give it a try at least once. If you happen to like it and want to turn it into a regular habit, consult your doctor to see what is the best way to do it because nutrition and health is a very personal subject and there is no one-size-fits-all rule.
Tracey Clayton is a full-time mom of three girls. She feels she knows a thing or two about raising happy, healthy and confident kids, and offers helpful advice in hers parenting articles. She’s also passionate about traveling, fashion and healthy living. Her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.”