Fasting GOOD or BAD for Your Health

This week I came across some articles on Pinterest that got me to thinking about fasting as a healthy way to lose some weight and shake up my metabolism.

It seems like every time I make a significant change to my diet or exercise routine; there are some initial results, but then my body adjusts to the new conditions, and the weight does not continue to come off!

There are several schools of thought on the subject of fasting. Some people preach that it is best to eat every three to four hours and not to miss any meals.

salad

This line of thinking usually comes from people who are focused on the metabolic rate of the person and often comes with the advice to keep active lifestyles as well.

Then there is the calorie in (consumed) versus calories out (burned) way of looking at it; which suggest, that it does not matter how much exercise a person does, but rather the ratio of calories consumed to the number of calories that gets burned off during the day.

Logically the latter philosophy sounds more plausible; just the increase in metabolism is not necessarily going to burn more than you eat. If you consume extra calories and do not burn it off, your body will then store it in fat cells.

12 Hour Fasting Before Blood Work

Doctors always want you to have a long fast before blood work; why is that?

Well since I have type 2 diabetes all my test require fasting because of checking the amount of glucose in the blood.

Also, another test like Lipid profiles; for the testing of cholesterol and other blood fats, require fasting to get accurate results.

Testing the kidney and liver functions requires fasting and also drinking ONLY water and no exercise!

Hey, the Doctors do not stress this NO exercise point too much, but it can affect your results also.

Testing for some vitamins such as B12 and minerals like Iron require long periods of fasting to get good results.

It is always good to mention any other medications you’re taking; so that your Doctor can make it into consideration, to prevent it from interfering with the blood test.

Doctors use fasting and restricted diets before and after the fast (in a controlled environment) to treat several conditions ranging from arthritis, lupus, skin conditions, blood pressure and more.

From that perspective fasting is right for your health; this is in a controlled environment.

The results vary and are not conclusive enough to get a full and overwhelming acceptance from Medical Professionals.

Fasting Good Diet – When does it help?

Last December I had a long discussion with my Doctor about fasting and what his thoughts were on using it to help with weight loss. He said that he was okay with starvation; as long as you do not binge eat afterward.

That was his main concern and also a concern expressed by proponents of fasting in general.

In my research, I have read several books from sources who promote both philosophies, and it is, for the most part, more confusing.

With all the hype about intermittent fasting; it has caused me to think, maybe intermittent fasting could be a possible alternative and better long term solution to total starvation.

Total fasting is good for spiritual reasons and may help with some psychological issues, but most medical research agrees it is not a good way to lose weight and in the end, may cause more harm than good.

Reducing the caloric intake is proven to increase the amount of time both people and animals live.

There have been hundreds of these studies done over the years, so that is something to take into consideration when thinking about how to reduce the amount of food consumed.

What is Intermittent Fasting Good For

Intermittent fasting can help for the standpoint of looking at the effects it has on a person’s body.

After eating a meal, the body begins the action of breaking down the food we ate, to be used for energy or stored for future use.

If we increase the time between meals and snacks that give the body more time to burn up the energy and maybe burn some added fat if we eat the right foods to allow the body to function correctly.

Insulin plays a big part in this process, for people with insulin resistance; the food we eat plays a more important role than for people whose insulin resistance is in the normal ranges.

Night-time Moon

The insulin levels must reduce to allow the glucose to be released from the fat cells and used for energy.

Looking at the normal sleeping patterns for people; it is plausible to use the intermittent fasting approach, take the time we are going to be sleeping and use it to your advantage.

You are not eating while sleeping anyway and that gives the body time to work on the reserves. Many preach that it is best to eat breakfast (the best meal of the day).

If the idea of skipping breakfast is easier to deal with; it is something to think about, when thinking about when we eat our meals and what is the most sustainable options that we can maintain over the long haul.

Most Doctors prefer a balanced diet approach, and warn people who have diabetes or have some forms of eating disorders to consult their Doctors before beginning any new eating programs.

Fasting Bad for Your Heart

Combining an excellent healthy diet where you restrict sugars, refined grains (especially white products) and increase eating fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

Salads with very little dressing. So many bad carbs and sugars can hide in the dressings we choose.

Getting enough exercise is essential to having a healthy heart, but my Doctors have expressed more concern over the importance of controlling your diet than to focus on the training.

Jogging Man


The Cardiologist I have seen always want more exercise and do not focus on the diet aspect as much as other Doctors do, so it makes sense to take both approaches and try to find the right exercise program that you can maintain.

Long term fasting with just water can be harmful to your heart because it is not getting the minerals it needs to function correctly.

If long term fasting is done under a Doctor’s supervision and with supplements to provide the body with what it needs, it can be beneficial in helping to lose some weight. But the pressure is subject to come back rapidly if changes not made to your diet.

That yo-yo effect is not a good thing! For those of us who struggle with obesity, we have experienced this is some form or fashion.

The Cardiologist I have seen always want more exercise and do not focus on the diet aspect as much as other Doctors do, so it makes sense to take both approaches and try to find the right exercise program that you can maintain.

Long term fasting with just water can be harmful to your heart because it is not getting the minerals it needs to function correctly.

If long term fasting is done under a Doctor’s supervision and with supplements to provide the body with what it needs, it can be beneficial in helping to lose some weight. But the pressure is subject to come back rapidly if changes not made to your diet.

That yo-yo effect is not a good thing! For those of us who struggle with obesity, we have experienced this is some form or fashion.

Fasting Good or What

Fasting is something that has been part of many cultures for thousands of years as a form of ritual sacrifice and a way to purge the mind and soul for the participant.

Depending on your belief system, the views can vary tremendously!

From the Christian perspective, it helps to get closer to the meanings of the scriptures and sharpens the mind.

It helps me to feel closer to God and to gain a better perspective on studying the scriptures. Also, it helps to develop a strong sense of what I believe.

What is most helpful to others is how fasting can help them on their journey through this world, whether we are trying to lose weight or just become healthier in our bodies.

There is plenty of studies that back up the idea of fasting; either long term or intermittent, as being considered a good thing.

Just need to remember that if not done correctly it can be life-threatening or at the very least not healthy.

Please let me know what your thoughts are on the subject!

Thanks for taking the time to read my post,

 

12 comments on “Fasting GOOD or BAD for Your Health

  • Ibrahim says:

    This has been informative, actually fasting are so good and that is why we Allah(God) has prescribed it for us, i have sometime went to doctor when i have some health issue, he told be to increase my water intake and more exercise, and gave me drug, this has been a frustration trying to buy drugs everyday, then i try to fast twice every week and the sickness reduces.

    In Islam perspective, fasting helps in moving more closely to the Almighty and also under the Islamic Laws and health issues, it helps to cure more diseases in the body burning of calories as mentioned and take part in both spiritual and physical. 

    I have been fasting for more than 10 years now and i have been noticing better health.

    Although i love the write up but, can you please tell us exact ways fasting could help more than this one you posted here, we appreciate.

    • Chad Trader says:

      Thank you for your comment and your perspective looking at this subject from Islamic point of view. 

      The medical community is becoming more open to use fasting as a means of allowing the body to heal itself, there are studies to show the link between eating less and prolonging life in both humans and animals.

      It is good to fast for spiritual reasons and for some psychological benefits as well. That is something of a different topic and is very controversial subject but too many different religions around the world embrace fasting as means of purification. 

  • cjciganotto says:

    Hello Chad,

    Very interesting reading of your article. Fasting can be positive and also negative if our diet is not correct.

    In my case I work a lot in the field, I am a producer of blueberries, in addition to jogging regularly. I eat very well. I take my morning breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

    I have an overweight of 3 to 4 Kg that I can not reduce. Do you think that fasting could reduce excess Kg?

    I appreciate your opinion, thank you very much!

    Claudio

    • Chad Trader says:

      Hi Claudio,

      The intermittent fasting when used with the right diet can help to reduce the extra weight, with the amount of weight you are talking about and how close it is to you ideal body weight makes it more difficult than people who are much more overweight. So good luck with the effort! 

  • Rob S. says:

    Intermittent fasting can be good and bad. On my website I write an article about intermittent fasting.

    In reality there are different cycles for fasting. If you eat three meals a day, you’re on the 3 meal fasting cycle. That’s probably normal for most of us.

    But I do agree with you as far as intermittent fasting where you’re basically skipping meals. That can be a 1 or 2 meal cycle and I don’t agree with that isn’t a way to a healthy eating plan.

    I feel that intermittent fasting just isn’t healthy. We should eat when we’re hungry and stop when we’re full.Very well written article I must say! 

    • Chad Trader says:

      Hi Rob,

      Interesting observation on the time in between meals actually being a fasting time that slips most people’s mind.  Research is looking at is the time and trying to come up with a good way to figure out how to gauge it. 

      I like the idea of eating when hungry and stopping when you are full; but what do you do when that does not work? People must know how much they need to eat for what they are burning. 

      If we just go by how we feel; those feelings can be misleading and you end up eating too much even if you never feel full.

  • Leo says:

    In my opinion, fasting does more good than bad. In fact, I don’t know any side effects of fasting, I know only the positive aspects of fasting. I think that fasting should not be considered as weight loss diet, but as a body therapy, that will help clean your body and give to the cells a kind of fresh start. It’s something similar to detox and the benefits are several. 

    But be prudent, not everyone can do it, in general sick people should not do it or pregnant womens, etc.

    • Chad Trader says:

      Thanks for your comments Leo, it is good to hear someone that has not had any adverse effects to fasting and shares a common appreciation of fasting.

  • Garen says:

    Personally, I hate fasting because I get real irritable when I don’t eat for a long period of time.  I’m not overweight or anything.  Well, I’m 175, but it’s recommended I weight 160.  Ok, maybe I am slightly overweight.  I like to say it’s all muscle, though LOL.

    As far as fasting once a year I don’t do that either.  Since, for my health insurance we have to have a check up once a year.  But, there is an option to say that you didn’t fast.

    I do try to eat every 3-4 hours and a high protein diet, though.  I have heard that protein makes you feel like you are full.  Also, I try to eat lots of good fats, too.  Really, my diet is a version of the Keto diet, but I do still eat more carbohydrates than are recommended?

    I do have a question about fasting, though.  Is there anything we can drink which will make us feel full if we do decide to fast.  Obviously, not just using water.

    • Chad Trader says:

      Hi Garen, 

      The more studying that I do on this subject leaves more questions than answers at times anyway. 

      Many people swear by the protein shakes to make you feel fuller while fasting. That does not work for me, I am a big guy and have been for many years, and got that way by eating too much! 

      But it is what I would recommend to someone based on the nutritional content of the ingredients. We use them all the time to supplement our kids diet because of the vitamins and they like it so much.

      V8 juice is another drink (if you like it) that has the equivalent of two servings of vegetables and helps me when I do fast for long periods.

  • Todd Matthews says:

    Hi, Chad, I’ve always been a fan of fasting and have done this myself time and again. In fact, I do a version of such fasting even to this day. Typically, I’ll eat a full breakfast first thing in the morning, then eat something small after a workout. Afterward, I’ll go between 9-12 hours without eating before eating something small again before a second workout if I have time for a second workout that day, before eating dinner in the evening if my body tells me to. If not, I won’t eat again until I get up in the morning. It’s something my body has grown accustomed to and I’ve always been energized off this method. 

    • Chad Trader says:

      Hi Todd, thanks for your comments. Interesting how that works for you, eating early verses choosing to eat a later meal. Most people I talk to seem to like it the other way, leaving the meal for later in the day so they are not hungry when going to bed for the night. That just gives us something to think about.

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