Fasting

Fasting

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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    When you starve yourself for more than 12 hours, your metabolic rate actually goes down by 40 percent. Your body senses a dietary disaster and quickly goes into storage mode, rather than burning mode. That's the primary reason why deprivation diets don't work. Your body panics about going into a famine, so it slows metabolism into emergency-storing mode, rather than a steady state of burning. Breakfast eaters are on average thinner than those who skip breakfast because they keep their metabolism genes turned on, which means calories are more likely to be burned off before they can turn into fat.
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    Sometimes fasting can become an obsession and lead to anorexia nervosa. Cases where a doctor actually recommends fasting as a weight loss treatment are few and far between, and it is usually only recommended for morbid obesity. When the doctor does instruct a person to fast, they usually recommend partial fasting, in which an individual fasts once a week or once a month. Anorexia nervosa involves total starvation for cosmetic or psychological reasons, and this unmanaged condition can lead to serious health complications. Anorexia often shows up in young people and in those who are of a regular weight.

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    If not monitored properly, fasting can present very serious health complications. For this reason, fasting is not usually recommended as a weight loss tool. In some cases of morbid obesity, a modified partial fast is prescribed. For an individual with diabetes, fasting can be life-threatening because it can cause irregular blood sugars and low insulin levels. Additionally, sometimes fasting can become an obsession and lead to anorexia nervosa. Anorexia nervosa involves starvation for cosmetic or psychological reasons.

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    When you are receiving testing for other illnesses, your doctor may ask you to fast beforehand so that your stomach and digestive matter do not interfere with the test. Additionally, fasting can have an effect on some diseases and conditions, some negative and some positive. Fasting is very dangerous for someone with diabetes, as it can affect blood sugars and insulin levels. And if fasting leads to extreme food depravation, as in cases of anorexia nervosa, it can be dangerous to many of your body's systems. However, fasting has also shown to actually be helpful in the treatment of inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

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    The chief symptom of fasting is hunger. Individuals fasting may feel hungry, slightly light-headed, or irritable. Additionally, individuals who are fasting may feel very sleepy and sluggish from the lack of energy and nutrients usually derived from food. After two to four days the feelings of hunger usually pass, but you may still feel tired and light-headed. Any weight loss fasting regimen should be closely monitored by a doctor, if undertaken at all.

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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Fasting can have a variety of effects on the body. These include:
    • modest but temporary weight loss: The pounds usually return once you go back to your normal diet
    • improved heart health, though this area of research needs more study
    • improvements in certain medical conditions, notably rheumatoid arthritis, though the benefits fade over time
    Fasting also can have some serious negative effects on the body, such as:
    • dizziness
    • headaches
    • fatigue
    • fruity-smelling breath
    • changes in heart rhythm
    Fasting for long periods can have serious health effects. Do not fast without a doctor's supervision.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    What are the possible benefits of fasting?
    The benefits of fasting are that you reduce your calories, and also reduce the markers that those calories can cause. In this video, internal medicine specialist Michael Roizen, MD, explains how fasting can teach your body to exist on less calories.
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    Some experts have proposed that individuals who fast at least once a month have better cardiovascular health. The studies in question have acknowledged that other factors in these peoples' lives could have been coinciding with the fasting and that it's possible that these factors were responsible for the good health. However, if the cause is fasting, researchers speculate that it is because the stress of fasting strengthens all of the cells of the body, including those in the heart. This theory is unproven, though, and thus you should always speak with your doctor before beginning any fasting regimen.

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    Weight loss associated with fasting can occur through total fasting, but weight loss is most effective when people use a semi-starvation or partial fasting method rather than total fasting. This involves an individual fasting about once a week or once a month. When you fast from foods, your body consumes the glycogen you have stored in your muscles and then consumes your fat stores, causing you to lose weight.

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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    When our ancestors couldn't find food and went for long periods of time without it, their bodies acted like a life preserver. Their bodies stored fat in anticipation of the inevitable periods of famine. The same system works today. When you try to "diet" by going for long periods of time without eating or by eating way too few calories, your brain senses the starvation and sends an SOS signal through your body to store fat because famine is on its way.

    That's why people who go on extreme fasts and extremely low-calorie diets don't lose the expected weight. They store fat as a natural protective mechanism. To lose weight, you have to keep your body from switching into starvation mode. The only way to do it: Eat often, in the form of frequent, healthy meals and snacks.

    Start every day knowing when and what you're going to eat. That way, you'll avert the 180-degree shift between starving and gorging that occurs when you skip meals. If you feed your body regularly, you'll avoid extreme periods of over- and under-eating that can lead to a gain in weight and inches.
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