What is Fasting?

Abstaining from food, water, or both voluntarily for a period of time is called fasting either for health, ritualistic, religious, or ethical purposes.

Fasting may be complete or partial, lengthy, intermittent, or for a short duration. Fasting might be practiced to lose weight but it also helps in improving your cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose levels, insulin sensitivity, and other health issues.

What are the types of fasting?

1. Religious fasting.

2. Medical fasting.

3. Starvation

4. Intermittent fasting.

  1. Alternate day fasting.

  2. Time-restricted feeding

  3. 24-hour fasting.

  4. Modified fasting method

  5. The 5:2 diet.

 
  1. Religious fasting: Abstaining from food, water, or both in the name of god or deity in order to perform sacred rituals or simply to offer prayers.
  2. Medical fasting: It is a type of fasting where your health care provider may have instructed you to fast or to not consume any food/water for over a period of 12-16 hours before any medical procedure or even before a blood test.
  3. Starvation: This does not come under fasting but abstaining from food/water for a longer period of time with minimal or no calories over an extended period leading to a reduction of life span.
  4. Intermittent fasting: There are various methods of intermittent fasting depending upon the eating window and fasting period, duration of fast, low-calorie diet or regular diet, etc, These are as follows : 
    • Alternate day fasting- This fasting method was sketched for weight loss which demands a low-calorie fast in which you consume only 25% of your daily calorie needs every other day, and eating normal/regular foods on a non-fasting day.
    • Time-restricted fasting- This is one of the most popular forms of intermittent fasting as it is simple and involves the same eating pattern each day of the week with time-restricted eating, you opt for an eating window of 8-12 hours per day, and then fast for 12-16 hours each 24- hour period. There are again two types of Time-restricted eating¬†
    • 16/8 method.
    • Overnight method.¬†
  • 24-hour fasting- It involves completely abstaining from calorie intake for a 24-hour period. It can be done once a week or a couple of times a month. Here you‚Äôll only drink water or other zero-calorie beverages like herbal tea etc,.
  • Modified fasting method- It is a type of fasting that restricts the number of calories consumed per day, without abiding by the traditional methods but still benefits from the fasting method as it allows you to consume vegan food, easy-to-digest food, and certain fruits and juices.

The 5:2 Diet- This weekly diet involves eating normally for 5 days and then restricting food consumption to 500-600 calories for 2 days, the idea is to reduce calories for 2 days per week which would be psychologically easier than a daily fasting schedule that lasts for an entire week.

What does fasting do to your body?

Initially depriving of food for a very long time without any specific purpose and guidance leads to nutritional deficiencies that may cause headaches, fatigue, anemia, dizziness, and even mental confusion, in addition fasting for too long can lead to intestine food cravings leading to binge eating and undo all the work you’ve done to develop a new eating pattern.

Henceforth Following a restricted diet pattern that has been prescribed by a medical professional or a nutritionist plays a major role in conserving one’s health while also having a healthy weight loss.

The changes that the body goes through during the fasting process are as follows : 

  • Ketosis.
  • Autophagy.
  • Growth hormone.
  • Insulin reduction.
  • Immune cell rejuvenation.

This results in reducing the constant workload of digesting and absorbing nutrients. This rest period can improve issues such as bloating, irregular bowel movements and reduce inflammation in the gut.

The body starts taking glucose from the stored fat and converts it into a source of energy with the help of ketone bodies.

Benefits : 

  1. Healthy weight loss.
  2. Improved metabolic health
  3. Longevity benefits.

Challenges : 

  1. Hunger.
  2. Mood changes.
  3. Adherence.

Who should avoid fasting?

When carefully planned and supervised by a medical health practitioner, fasting is generally safe for most people.

However, It is not advised in some groups of people as it may negatively impact their health.

  • ¬†People with diabetes.
  • People with eating disorders.
  • Underweight people.
  • People who don’t follow strict diet patterns.

How to resume a regular diet after fasting?

Everyone is aware of fasting and its benefits, meanwhile, it’s equally important to know how to resume or return to normal/regular eating after fasting.

There are 4 simple steps to keep in mind while resuming regular diets such as follows:

  1. Liquid diet- Initially start with consuming liquid foods such as warm water or simple fruit juices.
  2. Semi-Solid foods- after a while of consuming liquid food you can now start consuming semi-solid foods such as boiled vegetables or soups, or Kichdi without spice except salt and pepper.
  3. Light easy-to-digest food- The third meal can be prescribed with light-to-digest food such as Kichidi with minimal spice, rice with rasam, rice with buttermilk, etc, Should avoid the consumption of meat until the appetite is brought back to normalcy.
  4. Regular diet- the fourth meal can be your regular diet, but the food you consume should be kept in mind to avoid further symptoms of loose stools or uneasiness.

Conclusion

Fasting is abstaining from food/water or both for a period of time. It may be for medical, religious, or just to lose weight.

 Intermittent fasting involves cycling between periods of fasting and normal eating, and there are several different patterns of fasting. The most common types of fasting include intermittent fasting, Religious fasting, and Medical fasting.

The potential benefits of fasting are mainly weight loss, metabolic changes, and healthy longevity,

In case you plan on fasting please consider taking your physician and getting the necessary information and diet plan if required.  

 

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