Fasting for weight loss results is still capturing the public imagination. There are dozens of do-it-yourself plans the tout the unproven benefits of fasting. These plans range from flushing “toxins or poisons” from the body or purging up to 30 lbs of fat in 30 days. It is true that fasting, eating little to no food, will result in weight loss in the short term. But the risks of fasting far outweigh any benefits, and ultimely, fasting is more harm than good.
Fasting Weight Loss Plans
Fasting regimens vary, but they all usually start with a strict regimen allowing only water, juice and/or some kind of laxative. Some fasting plans allow a few solid foods, but are stilled considered fasts because they provide so few calories. Not all fasts are created equal. Fasts lasting a day or two are unlikely to be dangerous for most healthy adults. But high-risk people, the elderly, anyone with a chronic disease, pregnant women, and children advise against any type of fasting. The real danger lies in staying on the fast for prolonged periods, anywhere from three days to a month.
Exposing the Dangers of Fasting Weight Loss
When your calorie intake is dramatically reduced, you will lose weight. But it can also cause all kinds of health problems. When you start fasting, your body goes into conservation mode causing the body to burn calories more slowly. Keep in mind that the initial weight lost on a fasting plan is primarily fluid (water weight) not fat. When you are back to eating normally, a few extra pounds tend to be gained because a slower metabolism makes it easier to gain weight. The worst part of this is the weight that is regained is most likely to be all fat. Muscle will be added by going back to the gym.
Side effects of fasting include dizziness, headaches, muscle aches, low blood sugar, weakness, and fatigue. Prolonged fasting can lead to anemia, liver and kidney problems, a weakened immune system, and irregular heartbeat. Fasting may also result in muscle breakdown, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and diarrhea. When a laxative is implemented into the fasting plan, there is an increased risk of fluid imbalance and dehydration. The risks get more complicated and grow in severity the longer you remain on the fast or if a fast is repeated.
The Truth about Fasting
Here is the bottom line: Nutritional Experts agree that fasting can be potentially dangerous and not the most effective way to lose weight. Opting for a healthy plan with long-term maintenance is the suggested route. If you are not convinced and want to try a fasting plan, be sure to consult your physician first.