Fasting is not an unusual practice. Sometimes, we have to do it before medical screenings. Others fast for religious purposes or to make a peaceful protest.
However, there is a segment of the population who use it for weight loss purposes. Has it been proven effective? In some cases, yes, but some experts would actually caution you against it being the only way you want to lose weight. After all, you are technically running on empty for a good portion of the day.
Given that you have to avoid food and maybe even water for a number of hours a day, is there really a benefit to fasting? Let’s take a look at its pros and cons:
List of Pros of Fasting
1. It burns fat .
Your body will have no access to carbohydrates, proteins as well as vitamins and minerals when you fast. Technically speaking, fasting happens when your body has used up all the energy in good and starts to work on the carbohydrate stores – aka fat stores. However, it’s also important to note that these will eventually run out too.
2. It detoxifies the body.
Fat stores not only contain carbohydrates but also chemicals absorbed from the environment. For instance, DDT – which is a pesticide – can make its way to your surroundings. These chemicals are released and eliminated from the body through urine when fat is burned.
3. It provides the body with more energy.
The digestive system uses a lot of energy to do its thing. When you fast, that part of your system is no longer at work so the energy reserved for it can be used elsewhere. For instance, energy can be used for other processes in the body like metabolism.
List of Cons of Fasting
1. Your body will run out of fat stores.
As mentioned in one of the pros, fasting burns fat. What happens when there is no longer anything to burn? Your body will look to other sources in order to produce energy to do basic things such as breathing and walking. Once all the carbs have been used up, it’s now time for the protein stores to be used. Once that is consumed as well, you’re now in a starving state.
2. Your body will find ways to conserve energy.
Yes, energy is directed away from the digestive system and can be used by other systems. However, it’s also a natural behavior on the part of the body to conserve energy when it’s no longer getting a regular intake of carbohydrates. This might result in sudden changes in weight which is not good for your heart.
3. You can be exposed to health scares.
Your body needs more than just carbohydrates in order to function well. Keep in mind that proteins, vitamins and minerals are also key to keeping the body functioning as planned. When fasting, your body isn’t getting these additional crucial items. So when your body makes a repair and it can’t find the right “tools” for fixing, the task won’t get done.
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.