While most religions use periods of fasting as means of demonstrating faith and patience, and an opportunity for spiritual reflection; some people merely use it as a way to lose weight fast.
Fasting is a way to cleanse the body of toxins, yet some experts would argue that our bodies are perfectly equipped with organs to do just that. Fasting used for weight loss varies by diet. Some fasting diets involve drinking nothing but water or eating raw foods for a period of one or more days, while others restrict food on alternate days.
When you fast, your body is forced to dip into stored energy to get its fuel to keep going. When you eat less food, your metabolism slows down to conserve energy. Then, when you go back to your usual diet, your lowered metabolism may cause you to store more energy, meaning that you may gain back the weight you lost when you start eating the same calories you did before the fast.
However, as you fast, your body will adjust by reducing you appetite, so you will initially feel less hungry. But once you have stopped fasting, your appetite hormones will kick back and you may feel hungrier and be more likely to binge. People who have followed an alternate-day fasting diet shed weight, even when they ate all they wanted on non-fasting days, but could still not maintain the weight loss over time. Some fasting diets claim that the body gets rid of all impurities, but the body is designed to get rid of toxins the natural way through the skin by sweating, and by the liver, colon and kidneys.
The good news is that a study has showed that a calorie-restricted diet improves markers of aging, insulin levels and body temperatures. Fasting might also improve longevity by delaying the onset of age-related diseases including Alzheimer’s s, heart disease and diabetes. A study also revealed that skipping a meal once a month reduces the risk of clogged arteries. Since the body needs a variety of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from food to stay healthy, fasting for long periods of time can be harmful. This could lead to symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, constipation, dehydration, gallstones and cold intolerance. Short term fasting is not recommended for people with type 1 diabetes, as this could lead to dangerous dips and spikes in blood sugar. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or anyone with a chronic disease should not fast. Before you go on any type of new diet, especially one that involves fasting, consult with your doctor whether it is safe for you. The best way to fast or diet is to visit a dietitian, who could design a healthy eating plan for you.
During the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, Muslims all over the world will partake in a month long fast. This is when the holy Prophet Mohammed received revelation from God through angel Gabriel and the Quran was compiled. The period of fasting is from sunrise to sunset and is only required for those who are mentally and physically fit. The benefits of fasting include increased compassion, self-purification and piety. It is a month of extreme devotion and worship.
* The Next 48hOURS team wishes the Muslim community all the best over the fast.