Some evidence shows that certain forms of fasting are good for health but may not appeal or be appropriate for ever one. Hypoglycemic or diabetics should think properly before they fast as they may suffer from low blood sugar which can lead to many health problems. Fasting is not something that should be taken lightly. You need to pay careful attention to your body, your energy level and how it makes you feel in general while fasting. If fasting is not done carefully and properly then it could produce adverse effect with some people.
Fasting for a short time leads to headaches, dizziness, fatigue, abnormal heart rhythm and low blood pressure. When people have these side effects they may have problem while driving a vehicle, operating machineries and sometimes working in office also. Fasting can be especially dangerous in people who are already malnourished, such as those with some forms of advance cancer. Death results when fasts outlast the body’s supply of stored energy.
In your plan to lose weight fast, you may consider the option of fasting. Many medical experts and dietitians warn against the practice of fasting for weight loss. It has been proved that the prolonged fasting is not an effective way to lose weight it can be very unhealthy and dangerous. Fasting is a natural process that occurs when you do not consume any food for three to five hours and during sleep. Natural fasting is an essential process and it is not harmful to the body. Prolonged fasting, which is not eating food for 16 to 20 hours each day and it practiced continuously for many days or weeks leads to many health problems. While some people only abstain from solid food allowing fruit juice and water, others insist they should not eat or drink anything for several days in a row. This is a very dangerous way of fasting to lose weight.
When you are fasting, your body will go into a self preservation more to counter starvation. It will begin to slow down your metabolism and increase the production of cortisol. This cortisol is a stress hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands. When you are suffering from illness or stress, there will be larger than usual amount of cortisol in your body. A high amount of cortisol can make you physically, mentally or emotionally stressed. When you are not taking enough food, the cortisol in your body will try to release certain amino acids from your muscles and convert them to sugar. By releasing amino acids, cortisol is actually breaking down your muscles tissues. Losing muscles can slow down weight loss because you need muscles to burn excess fat in your body. Cortisol releasing amino acids also affects brain, kidney and red blood cells.
If you fast and do not consume food for a prolonged period of time, your body will produce fewer thyroid hormones. The loss of thyroid hormone will slow down metabolism significantly. When you begin to fast, your appetite hormones will be suppressed but they will be fully active when normal eating resumes resulting in increased hunger. With slower metabolism and increased appetite, you will begin to gain weight fast instead of losing weight.
Prolonged fasting can deplete the supply essential nutrients in your body, such as carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, fatty acids, minerals and electrolytes. This can lead to the development of various health problems such as fatigue, headache, dehydration, dizziness, constipation, hypoglycemia, anemia, muscles weakness, gall stones and mental confusion. Muscles tissue is spared during the time of fasting due to the effects of glucagon and growth hormone. This hormone protects our muscles from being used as energy to prevent our own organ tissues from being broken down. Using muscles as energy is the body’s last resort once our body fat stores have run out.
Fasting usually reduces the amount of stomach acid, which digests food and kills bacteria. Some people develop gastrointestinal problems. Digestive enzymes are secreted in the stomach which moves in high concentration and need food to act upon. In the absence of food, these digestive enzymes keep circulating within the stomach and damage the lining of the digestive tract. This leads to acid reflux, gastritis problems and even ulcer.
Another area of concerned is the gall bladder, which is like a balloon that holds bile for digestion. Eating forces the gall bladder to contract, pushing bile in to the digestive tract which helps digestion. In the absence of food, this bile keeps accumulating inside the gall bladder. Gradually it can turn in to sludge, leading to the formation of stones.
Traditionally fasting has been associated with meditation and less activity. These days, people continue with their everyday activities while they fast. This is very unhealthy, as the body needs proper nutrients for activities. This leads to dehydration and fatigue. Not eating or fasting reduces the immunity level as the body is deprived of vitamins and nutrients essential for effective functioning. This is vulnerable to all types of diseases such as increase glucose intolerance, cardiac problem and sometimes hypertension also.
If you are suffering from any kind of health problem, it is advisable that you do not fast because you will be more susceptible to other diseases also.