Fasting refers to the process of abstaining from food for a certain reason. It could be for health reasons or religious reasons. Fasting can be dry where there is total abstinence from food and there is wet fasting where a person does not eat solid food but they take liquids. Nowadays there is fasting for weight loss which is said to be dangerous.
In the never-ending quest for that Holy Grail of sustainable weight loss, more people are experimenting with some form of fasting. Celebs have helped popularize quick fixes. Many may recall Beyonce’s pre-Grammy 14 days of lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup. Her liquid tryst resulted in the usual rapid weight loss, but it was soon followed by the predictable regain and then some. Recently, a flurry of books have been published by a wide spectrum of authors, spanning the spectrum of body builders, British broadcasters and even respected researchers. So, what’s all the commotion about? Is this a trending fad, or does fasting represent a revolution in health and wellness?
The dictionary definition of fasting is to abstain from all or some kinds of food or drink. This is not new news to anyone who has fasted as a religious observance. The Old English faestan means “to fast as a religious duty” and “to make firm; establish, confirm, pledge” and observe abstinence. Catholics vary the severity and frequency of Lenten fasting. Withholding food during sunlight hours throughout the month of Ramadan is a foundation of Islamic religion. People have practiced some mode of fasting since antiquity. The philosopher Plato once said, “I fast for greater physical and mental efficiency.” A 3800 BC Egyptian pyramid inscription notes, “Humans live on one quarter of what they eat; on the other three-quarters lives their doctor.” So, most are familiar with and don’t dispute the practice of religious fasting. Nor, for that matter, the fasting required for lab testing and surgical procedures.
As much as celebrities are doing it does not mean that fasting for weight loss is correct. Celebrities are trend setters and therefore influence people in all sorts of ways. People are not aware of the risks. It is dangerous to fast to lose weight for many reasons.
1.Fasting for Weight Loss Increases Stress
When you are fasting, your body will go into a self-preservation mode to counter starvation. It will begin to slow down your metabolism and increase the production of cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands. When you are suffering from illness or stress, there will be a larger than usual amount of cortisol in your body. A high amount of cortisol can make you feel physically, mentally or emotionally stressed.
2.Fasting Damages Your Muscles
When you are not taking enough food, the cortisol in your body will try to release certain amino acids from your muscles and convert them to sugar. The sugar will then be fed to the brain, kidneys and red blood cells. The brain can use fats or sugar as fuel, but it usually prefers sugar, and red blood cells need sugar to survive. By releasing amino acids, cortisol is actually breaking down your muscle tissues. Losing muscles can slow down weight loss, because you need muscles to burn excess fat in your body.