Fasting: A Safe Option For Weigh Loss?

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What is fasting and is it a safe option for weight loss?

Fasting Scale

Fasting Scale

I am preparing to try fasting.  Before I start, as preparation, I have been reading as much as I can find to determine if fasting is safe and what the best type of fasting is for me.   Like many of you, I do not like to enter into any new weight loss plan without a little research to know what I am getting myself into.  Once I start, I am going to approach this as if it were an experiment and I will share my experiences and what I discover along the way.   

From what I have read: if you manage to get past the first three days, fasting gets easier.  The hunger sensations lessen as ketosis builds and your body gets used to your new pattern.  The body switches to burning fat reserves for energy and your insulin and leptin resistances reduce.  The reduction in leptin resistance may be the reason your appetite declines.   

Fasting has an origin in old English. It comes from the word fasta or fastan.  Fasting, technically, is abstaining from all or some kinds of food and/or drink[1].  It is often done for religious purposes, but recently, it has garnered a lot of limelight for anything from detoxification, health, longevity, and weight loss.  

Not all fasts are the same.  It can vary from a complete or absolute fast in which you abstain from all eating or drinking for partial fasting in which you consume only certain food or food group.  I would recommend that you only do this while you are asleep.  This method is the most severe form, and I am not sure how anyone can deny themselves to this degree for any protracted period. 

What are types of fasts?

  1. Empty Plate of Fasting

    Empty Plate of Fasting

    Absolute fasting:  This fast is also known as a dry fast.  Absolute fasting is the most extreme form of fasting.  It has a spiritual root and is often of short duration.  This form consists of completely foregoing all food and water for short periods. As a physician, this is a form of fasting that I would not necessarily recommend.  I am presenting it purely from a historical perspective.  

  2. Liquid fasting:  This type of fasting restricts intake to liquids only.  This form is a large group of varying fasts that may limit intake to a single form of liquid or may allow different types.  Examples include broths, water, juice, or even milk fasts.  The most common is the water or clear liquid fast. 
  3. Partial or single food fasting:  This form of fasting usually limits intake to certain food groups or a single food.  Example, you can have water and fruit or water and apples.  This technique is less austere and milder in nature.  For beginners, this is usually more tolerable.  

What is the theory behind fasting and weight loss?  

This rationale comes from the Obesity CodeAbstain Diet

Abstain Diet

Anxiety

  • Attention difficulty 
  • Cold feeling
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Foul taste or bad breath
  • Headaches
  • Hunger
  • Irritability
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Is fasting safe?  

    We induce fasting by performing a gastric bypass.  Dieting is a form of intermittent fasting.  I would say that a short fast for 14 days or less that is intermittent and does not go to the extremes of only a single food group and includes water is likely safe.  I have not found a single research article that indicates evidence that fasting is not safe.  I would say that a daytime fast with lunch and evening meals is safe as long as you get plenty of clear liquids (water).  

    I start my fast tomorrow morning.  What am I going to do?  I plan to do intermittent fasting that goes from the end of dinner, or approximately 6 pm to 11 am (lunch).  I will eat two meals of 600-700 calories.   That is 17 hours of fasting with 5 hours off.  I am going to try and eliminate artificial sweeteners and sugar.  Wish me luck!!  

    If you want more information on fasting, please visit All About Fasting[3].  I used it to research for this article.  

    Footnotes
    [1]“Fasting – Wikipedia.”
    [2]Fung, The Obesity Code.
    [3]“Using Fasting for Natural Healing | AllAboutFasting.”
    “Fasting – Wikipedia.” Wikipedia. Accessed June 22, 2017. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fasting.
    Fung, Jason. The Obesity Code. Scribe Publications, 2016.
    “Using Fasting for Natural Healing | AllAboutFasting.” All About Fasting. Accessed June 22, 2017. http://www.allaboutfasting.com/index.html.
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    About the Author

    ChuckH
    I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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