Fasting—the practice of abstaining from foods during specific times of the year or in connection with specific events—has been a part of many religions and cultures for millennia. In this day and age, though, dramatically decreasing your caloric intake may also seem like an intriguing idea if you’re interested in losing weight. But is this method good for you? Read on to learn a few facts about fasting.
When a person fasts, he or she willingly does not consume specific foods or drinks. Some people consider this act a spiritual discipline, while others believe it helps to detoxify the body or shed unwanted pounds. There are several different types of fasts, including liquid fasts (in which no solid food is consumed), partial fasts (in which certain foods are avoided and calorie consumption is kept very low), and absolute or dry fasting (in which food and drink are abstained from completely). A person may choose to partake in a fast for a set period of time, such as 2 or 3 days, or may fast intermittently, cutting back on food intake one day out of every three or four.
Is Fasting Good for You?
From a weight loss and weight management point of view, fasting is a very controversial topic. Abstaining from food over the long term puts you at risk for malnutrition. If you fast with the intention of losing weight, it is highly likely that you will simply regain lost pounds once you start eating normally again, as successful weight loss relies on healthy eating over the long term. However, there is some evidence that intermittent fasting helps reduce damage and inflammation in cells and may improve longevity. Fasting for religious reasons can also provide emotional benefit.
If you are considering fasting for health or spiritual reasons, it is very important to confer with a qualified healthcare professional before you begin. Conferring with a professional beforehand helps you understand any risks you may encounter. For example, changes in blood chemistry that occur while fasting can cause problems with certain medications.
As chiropractic physicians, we are involved with all areas of a patient’s health, including nutrition and exercise. We’ve seen first-hand the many benefits that losing weight can have for the spine and joints (not to mention the cardiovascular benefits), so we’re committed to assisting our patients in their weight loss goals. We can guide you to a weight loss approach that best suits your health goals and lifestyle. Whether you’re interested in selectively avoiding certain types of foods or ingredients, want to give intermittent fasting a try, or are simply looking for a way to cut out extra calories, we can help you design a healthy, sustainable plan. Just call or visit our office to learn more!