How effective fasting is and what are the tips to follow?

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Fasting means you have to stay clear from foods and drinks for a certain period of time. Several studies have proved that there are many health benefits of fasting such as better blood sugar control, low levels of inflammation, improved blood pressure , triglycerides and cholesterol levels. It also helps to prevent neurodegenerative disorders and increases growth hormone secretion. There may be a surge in popularity now, but it is a very old practice and plays a big role in many cultures and religions. 

There different ways and types of fasting such as water fasting, juice fasting, partial fasting, calorie based, however, of late the most popular one is the intermittent fasting and it is touted as one of the best ways to lose weight. We asked Nutritionist and Lifestyle Educator Karishma Chawla to share more information about fasting. She also revealed how intermittent is one of the most preferred ones and several lesser-known things as well.

How effective is fasting for overall health and weight loss:

Karishma said, “The most popular form of fasting: Intermittent fasting is a fasting period from 12 -16 hours wherein only water is allowed. No tea, coffee or fruits as well. It could basically start once you finish dinner say at 9 pm at night counting up to the next 12 -16 hours. There are different kinds of intermittent fasting, where you play with hours, days and number of meals as well.”

“Well, the concept behind intermittent fasting is it helps the with insulin efficacy which in turn helps with fat loss that works pretty well. One can also look at as a healing mechanism where not eating too frequently helps the blood flow to reach out places in the body where healing is required. Having said that I would still like to emphasize the concept of bio-individuality, where this kind of plan may work for one and not the other.” She added, “The preferred fasting type is Intermittent fasting, provided it is executed smartly and based on the concept of bio-individuality.”

Lesser know and important things to know about fasting:

She stated, “Detox practices such as juicing, fasting and detoxifying the body are elements of various ancient cultures and often rooted in spiritual times. During stress, the liver priorities its job to convert sugar into fuel to power the flight or fight response, so it doesn’t have time to deal with toxins which may get pushed back into the bloodstream.”

“Fasting or juice fast gives a body a good break from digestion, but prolonged fasting may actually hinder the detox process of the body. Also, extreme detox diets can increase the toxin release due to the rapid release of the fat burn which may be difficult for the body to handle. Such diets may also include cortisol, inflammation and psychological distress. Hence, it is imperative to eat a balanced diet, eat clean to enhance gut health  (this itself helps the body detoxify) and then get on fasting versions to ensure the right kind of fat loss.”

Fasting tips especially the beginners by Karishma:

Keep a vision board to keep yourself motivated( fasting can be overwhelming)

Break the fast with some lean protein and ensure at least 3 servings a day. Helps to manage cravings.

Go gradual on the fasting versions.

Be on a balanced meal pattern, rather than eating anything and everything. 

Be mindful about not to overdo the carbs.

Take all the vitamins and supplements required.

Bottom line

Yes, there are several health benefits associated with fasting, however, it may not be right for everyone. Especially if you suffer from diabetes or low blood sugar, have a serious medical condition or have blood pressure issues. Even women who are pregnant and breastfeeding should avoid the same. It is mostly a no-no for people with eating disorders, underweight and older adults.

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