Fasting has been, since biblical times, an important part of religion. Different religions include fasting as a way to accompany prayer, introspection, and even penitence. Thanks to new fads in the diet scene, fasting has nowadays become a new resource for those who want to achieve their aim of losing weight.
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We must bear in mind that fasting diets differ greatly from one to another. There are fasting diets that only allow you to drink an unlimited amount of water. Other diets include drinking natural fruit juice, water, tea, or broth. It is obvious, however, that these kinds of fasting diets can only be carried out for one or two days at the most. Some doctors recommend fasting for a period of 24 hours only once a month, as long as you do not suffer from any illnesses, and you can be certain that on the day you plan to fast you will not be doing any strenuous physical exercise, nor any activity that needs mental concentration. This is because your metabolism decreases during a fasting period, and this can cause somnolence and reduced mental acuity.
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As with every diet, fasting for weight loss has its advantages and disadvantages. As regards advantages, the reduced food intake allows the body to cleanse itself of toxins. Since the body is not using its energy to digest food, it can use that extra energy to get rid of accumulated fat and other toxic substances. Maybe this is the reason why so many people have reported a newfound vitality after their fasting period. Another advantage is that fasting might make you live longer. Although studies are not conclusive on this topic, some studies show that reduced calorie intake and longevity are related.
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The main disadvantage, however, is that fasting for more than 24 hours can cause dizziness and fatigue due to lowered blood pressure, which also makes fainting possible. Also, there is the very tangible risk of overeating after the fasting period, which would cancel the effects of the fast. If this happens, since the body’s metabolism is reduced during fasting, there is the possibility of indigestion and its consequences, mainly vomiting and diarrhea. People suffering from heart conditions, diabetes, pregnant women, nursing moms, and elderly people must not undergo a fasting diet, since it can be too taxing for their bodies. Due to the nature of fasting, it is mandatory that every person not included in the above list consult their doctor or dietician before fasting.
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If you decide to undertake a fasting diet, you should know how to break it. As mentioned above, the body’s metabolism slows down after a period without food intake. It is very important, therefore, that you break your fast by eating something which is very light and easy to digest, like a piece of fresh fruit or a cup of vegetables, and then gradually increases the amount of food taken. Then you can add some bread, and then go on to your usual diet.
Remember to talk to your doctor or dietician before starting a fasting diet. If you are given the green light, follow the advice given above and go slowly. You will definitely be rewarded.