Fasting for Health: Does It Work?

You’ve probably heard of fasting before. You may have even tried it yourself, or been forced to try it for medical or religious reasons. It’s tough, both mentally and physically, and yet it still hasn’t gone away as a possible health benefit. So, what’s the deal with fasting? Can it really boost your health? Is it dangerous? Read on for a few of the specifics surrounding this longstanding practice.

What is Fasting?

Technically, fasting is going for a set amount of time without food, and in some circles, water as well. For some, this means a full 24 hours without sustenance. In some religious circumstances, this may mean a period of a week or month. In the health community, this often means one of two scenarios. Intermittent fasting, which is what it’s called in the fitness world, means fasting for 24 hours twice a week (known as the 5:2 method). The other is fasting every day for 16 hours and then eating for eight (known as the 16/8 method). There are many takes on the intermittent fasting approach, but these are the most common.

What are the Risks?

The risks of fasting will vary from person to person. Some individuals with certain medical conditions may not be able to fast at all. Going without food can cause spikes and drops in blood sugar, hormonal problems, metabolic shifts, and many others. Before fasting, it should always be discussed with a healthcare professional to determine what is right for you and your body.

What are the Benefits?

Those who claim that fasting is helpful to your health report a wealth of benefits. Following one of the two methods mentioned above, many people report leveled hormone levels, faster fat burning and muscle building, improvement in clarity and concentration, general weight loss, greater energy, and less stress. Much of this evidence is even backed by science as evidenced in researches such as these done by Dr. Joseph Mercola, a well known member of the health community.

Should I Try It?

The answer to this is complicated, and basically boils down to one word: Maybe. Fasting is definitely not for everyone. Before tackling intermittent fasting, it is imperative that you speak with your personal physician. Only they can let you know what is healthy or dangerous for you. It’s also important to do your own research. Though this outlines the basics of intermittent fasting, the information available is vast and growing daily. Never embark on a fitness journey without doing your own research and weighing your options with your trusted health advisors.

Fasting definitely has its place in the world. Mahatma Gandhi did changed history with fasting, 17 in total. It has its risks and benefits, just like any other sort of fitness technique. The important part? Do what’s right for you. With some research, self-discipline, and ongoing support from healthcare providers, you can boost your health and get in the best shape of your life.

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Palmier on plate by Barn Images is licensed under CC BY 4.0