Weight Loss, Dieting & Obesity
© Copyright 2004 - 2011 , Trevor Johnson.
Can Fasting Assist Rapid Weight Loss?
Every desperate dieter has at some point considered fasting for weight loss. Yes, fasting can promote fast & rapid weight loss. Now, before you go on a hunger strike, remember your real objective.
Your real objective if you have excess body weight to shed is to improve, maximize and maintain your health in every sense of the word (Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social health.).
As an inevitable result of that prime objective, body fat loss will eventually happen as your healthy body reaches an equilibrium body weight.
Your objective should never be mere "weight loss". It must be health, resulting in body fat loss. Don't make the mistake of believing what we'd all like to believe - Although fasting may produce rapid weight loss, it simply does not and cannot produce rapid fat loss. Nor is there any meaningful healthy rapid weight loss.
Fasting assists in quick or rapid weight loss. It does not assist in rapid body fat loss. In fact, absolutely nothing assists in rapid body fat loss. Loss of excess body fat is a gradual process.
Fasting for weight loss, even when still consuming water, dehydrates the body. Evolutionary biochemistry / metabolic hormones recognise the lack of caloric and nutritional intake and slows down your metabolism to preserve its energy supplies. The lack of energy means the person who is fasting will reduce their physical activity levels to preserve their strength, thus reducing the burning of stored calories. This also results in the atrophy of muscle tissue.
The human body requires nutrition and, even if starved, will source its nutrition from any source it can. Your body effectively begins to "eat" itself. Your protein requirements are met by extracting protein from your muscle tissue. This, of course, slows your metabolism even further.
Recent research has shown that during fasting for weight loss, your calcium requirements are met by your body leeching calcium from your bones. This, of course, is a form of osteoporosis and results in weaker, brittle bones.
Sure, water fasting results in rapid weight loss - but not rapid body fat loss, and is certainly not a healthy way to lose weight. The weight loss from fasting is mostly loss of fluids and muscle tissue.
If you think such health damage and "cannabilism" could only be a long term process, think again. The recognised world record for a total fast (no food or water) resulted in death in 18 days. More commonly, it will kill within 10 days.
With a water fast, the known record is 365 days - and lived. (A better guide may be the Guinness Book of Records, which accepts 50 days as being the genuine, supervised, verifiable world record for water fasting.) However, 40 days sees most people dead.
I am not opposed to water fasting in certain circumstances. Various religions see fasting as a spiritual activity where the carnal urges of the body are overcome while concentrating on meditation or prayer or similar spiritual purpose. I for one trust God to look after His own when they are sincerely seeking Him.
I have fasted (with water) for several days at a time for specific health purposes. Snoring, for example, can be stopped if it is in its early stages by three or so days of water-only fasting. It can also be useful for detoxifying the body or for rapid relief (not cure) from food allergies or nasal blockages. In these and similar circumstances, three days is generally safe.
Overall, though, fasting should never be considered a treatment for obesity or as a valid rapid weight loss treatment. Even where it is being undertaken for spiritual or health purposes other than specifically for weight loss, I'd strongly advise regular water intake (not distilled water, which no-one should ever drink due to the absense of electrolytes) and twice daily intake of a broad spectrum multi-vitamin & mineral supplement.
The bottom line is that weight loss by fasting is not a healthy weight loss solution.
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