There are a couple of diets around now that suggest fasting, because there are claims of a number of benefits to fasting, which I tend to believe. So I do frequently fast, and I believe it suits my body and has a number of other benefits that I hope will show over time.
Fasting is a period of not eating, or reducing food or drink, which allows the body to achieve a metabolic state after complete digestion and absorption of a meal. Pure fasting is not consuming anything for a period of time, whilst water fasting is an abstinence from anything except water.
As person is assumed to be fasting after not eating for 8-12 hours.
The popularity of fasting has risen at about the same time as the awareness and popularity of a ketosis diet. Ketosis is a state of metabolism where the body is relying more on utilising energy from lipids (fats) than normal. This state is often triggered after a period of fasting.
I have been fasting for years – sometimes in a healthy way, and sometimes in an unhealthy way. As a teenager, I used fasting as a way of caloric restriction to lose weight. Now I fast differently – intermittently. I still reach my caloric limit each day, but I eat everything between about 11:00am and 8:00pm. Otherwise, I don’t eat (but drink water from about 6:00am to 8:00pm). This pattern seems to work really well for my body, but it’s not for everyone.
Some claims about the health benefits of fasting
Fasting can help control blood sugar levels by reducing insulin resistance, and help prevent diabetes.
It may boost brain function, which is certainly what I have experienced. I feel like my brain is particularly sharp in the mornings, until I get hungry about 10:30am.
It can boost metabolism, which can help with weight loss. I also believe that my habit of fasting regularly has helped me stay slim, even when my activity levels drop off. I usually exercise first thing in the morning, which I also think helps – exercise on fast, and then not eating for a couple more hours afterwards.
There are some claims that fasting for longer periods, particularly water fasting for a couple of days, can help the body purge pre-cancer cells.
Another great claim, which I hope is true, is that it could delay ageing.
It’s interesting that fasting is often seen as something positive in most religions, as a form of discipline to demonstrate faith. Whereas fasting is often also used as a politic protest.
So, check with your doctor first, but if there’s not going to be any specific adverse impact on you, give intermittent fasting a try to begin with. Eat only between 11:00am and 8:00pm a couple of days a week, and let me know how you feel.