Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Hot Topic - Is Fasting Healthy

So the hot topic of the day was fasting, Muslims obviously fast for religious and spiritual reasons during ramadam.  Which is fine no problem with that however there was some extolling of the health benefits of fasting and its cleansing/detoxification abilities.  So lets have a look at that.

Now one of the problems I have with this is the lack of water.  The body needs water to rid itself of toxins and in the various searches I made this seemed to be confirmed.

The Importance of Water While Fasting

In short, there is still a lot of research to be done but basically there is evidence that intermittent fasting could be beneficial.  Michael Mosley presented this programe on BBC2s horizon.  Eat, Fast and Live longer.

Interestingly the good effects of his 4 day fast were not long lasting. Which would be my point of view even without research. You have to reduce the amount you eat to below that of what your body burns and you need to drink water or liquid to help the body remove toxins and it needs to be something you can do long term. Not just a fad diet but a change in eating habits.

I can even see the benefits of the 5:2 fast diet as its not really a fasting diet its a reduced calorie diet on 2 days, normal calories on 5 days. So on the reduced calories days you eat just 600 calories and normal calories on the other 5, thats for men. Women would be 500 calories.  You never know I might try that myself. In my opinion the fact that you are taking in a small amount of calories on the fast days means the body doesn't go into panic fat storage mode and your still drinking water or liquid.

Note though the caveat that even though this worked for Michael Mosley it was in laboratory conditions and as he says it might not work or even be dangerous for others. A lot more research needs to be done.

Futher articles relating to the Horizon programe
Diet doctor urges intermittent fasting
The power of intermittent fasting

Misc articles
Fasting diets
Nutritional Program for Fasting
Fasting for Health in Ramadan

Just a note that bad breath when fasting is not an indication that your body is detoxing. Its caused by bacteria building up in the mouth caused by lack of saliva which again is a direct result of not eating food or drinking liquid.

Bad Breath while Ramadhan Fasting - A Common Problem
Bad breath (halitosis)

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