What are the possible benefits of fasting?

Although there are many risks associated with fasting there are also many benefits. Weight loss benefits associated with fasting can occur through total fasting, but are most effective when they occur through semi-starvation or partial fasting. This involves an individual fasting about once a week or once a month. In addition to weight loss benefits, fasting has also been shown to alleviate inflammatory disease and prevent heart problems. The thought process is that depriving your cells of nutrients allows them to develop a stronger sense of stress management and clear all of the toxins and glycogen out of your muscles and organs. Many spiritualities and religions believe that fasting provides intrinsic, spiritual, or mental health benefits, as well.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

There's limited evidence that fasting may have certain health benefits, but going without food for extended periods is not recommended for weight loss and should not be attempted without a doctor's supervision.

Some books and websites recommend fasting as a way to lose weight quickly and improve overall health. A typical fast may last anywhere from one to five days. During that time, you are not allowed to eat food, though you are encouraged to drink plenty of water. Some fasting diets permit juice, tea or broth.

A small amount of research suggests that occasional fasting may improve heart health. Fasting has also been used, with limited success, to treat rheumatoid arthritis, though the benefits appear to be brief. However, most experts say fasting is the wrong approach for weight loss, since the pounds  you lose during a fast often return soon after you start eating again. Some risks associated with fasting include dizziness, fatigue and abnormal heart rhythms.

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
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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What Are the Possible Benefits of Fasting?
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.