Fasting is voluntary abstinence from the consumption of solid and stimulant foods (such as caffeine, tobacco and alcohol) for a certain period of time.
The reasons for fasting are varied. On many occasions, it has to do with moral or religious issues. However, it has been shown that it is also beneficial to health if it is used appropriately.
Not all types of fasting are the same, nor do they all provide the same benefits. At the same time, it can be harmful if it is not applied correctly.
For you to know the subject better, we explain what are the five most common fasting types, how they are performed and when they are (or not) recommended.
The long fast consists of eliminating all types of caloric foods and consuming only liquids, such as natural water or infusions, during periods that can range from a week to several months.
On average, a healthy man of 70 kg could spend up to 98 days doing this type of fasting. However, being able to stay alive that amount of time does not mean that you are going to be healthy. In fact, long before death, serious symptoms already occur.
Think that the body needs energy to function, and if it does not get it from the diet, it will use its reserves. When the fats are finished will continue with the muscles and finally with the organs, which will end up failing.
It is estimated that from the third week without food, a peak consumption of muscle proteins occurs. This is reflected in a great loss of weight and weakness. And after the 30 days of fasting the state of malnutrition already happens to affect in a serious way, and in some cases irreversible, to all the corporal systems.
That is why a long fast should never be done motu proprio. Only a doctor can recommend it in certain very extreme cases, and it must be done under the supervision of a professional team.
Throughout history, fasting has often been used as a peaceful method of protest. It is, for example, the famous case of Mahatma Gandhi. Even in these situations, medical supervision is essential.
2. Intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is one of the most used to detoxify the body and lose weight. It involves eating at certain times of the day and fasting during the rest.
The famous Muslim Ramadan is a type of intermittent fasting, since those who practice it perform it from sunrise to sunset. However, in this case it is done for religious reasons, and there are other occasions in which it can be put into practice.
A common intermittent fasting is, for example, 12/12, that is, eating for 12 hours a day and fasting the other 12. It would correspond, for example, to breakfast at 8 am and dinner at 8 pm. In general, fasting 12/12 is used to begin to test its effects on the body, health and weight.
Once the first few days are over, the benefits are usually noticeable and clear. Therefore, in general, those who practice intermittent fasting spend long periods without eating and minimize those of food consumption as much as possible.
The most common intermittent fasting may be 16/8. Although many arrive, even, at a rate of 20/4, making for example one or two small meals between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
This type of fasting is used as detox, and also to lose weight. In any case, it is advisable to consult a nutritionist before beginning to do it.
As the name implies, this type consists of alternating days of fasting with days of free feeding. The ideal here is to maintain a 48/24 regimen, that is: two days of normal feeding for one day of fasting.
According to different research, the fasting of alternating days can be beneficial for health, as well as being a tool to lose weight.
It can also be considered as another type of intermittent fasting, in this case, with a period without maximum intake of 24 hours. Actually, it is important to emphasize that this amount of hours does not necessarily mean a full day. To be more clear: those who make this type of fast usually prefer to start it after lunch, and extend it until lunch the next day. In this way, you do not spend a whole day without trying a bite.
4. Periodical fasting
This would be a more relaxed version of the previous one. It consists of fasting once a certain time: a week, a month, or when it is considered necessary.
If done with certain regularity, it can be beneficial to detoxify the body, improve mood and strengthen the immune system, among other benefits reported.
The best thing about this among all types of fasting is that it is much less demanding. Even doing it once a week, it is easier to maintain over time without developing health problems.
In any case, it is also advisable to consult with a nutrition professional before starting to practice it.
5. Juice fast
Generally this type of fasting has a detox purpose: to cleanse the organism and, above all, the digestive system. It also seeks to allow the body to focus on tissue repair.
These are the most frequent types of fasting. Remember that it is important that you do not do it without the supervision of a professional, because otherwise you could cause reverse effects to those expected.
When not to fast
You should know that not everyone can perform fasting. For some people, these can bring more complications than health benefits.
If you identify with any of these situations, under no circumstances should you start fasting, at least not without medical prescription.
- Anorexia nervosa or some other eating disorder
- Uncontrolled hyperthyroidism
- Dementia and advanced cerebrovascular insufficiency
- Advanced renal or hepatic failure
- Pregnancy and lactation
First, it is vital to know that fasting is not for anyone. Beyond the cases described in the previous point, if you start to do it and you feel bad, you discover that you have low blood pressure, you are fatigued, you have headaches, or other symptoms, you should stop the fast and check if you improve. Then, it is advisable to consult a specialist to discover the specific reasons that cause them.
Begin the fast
Having said that, it is also preferable to start fasting little by little. Most likely, if you want to start off with a long fast, you can not sustain it. Neither your body nor your mind are prepared for it.
It is best to start with a simple intermittent fasting, 12/12. As the hours of sleep count, you may just have to overtake a little dinner and delay breakfast a bit to get it. Then, increase the time little by little.
If you are going to perform a long fast, you need a previous preparation. First of all, you should begin to clean your diet even before you start fasting. That means completely abandoning processed and animal-derived foods.
During the fast
During the fast you can drink liquids, and in fact, you should consume water in large quantities. At least, the 2 liters per day recommended by the specialists. You can also incorporate some non-irritating infusions, such as unsweetened green tea.
You can also carry out your activities normally. In fact, it is advisable to exercise during the fasting hours because in this way you will burn accumulated fat and it will be easier for you to lose weight.
Of course, as we said at the beginning, you should always pay attention to the calls of attention that the body can make.
Leave the fast
Keep in mind that all this does not help much if, when you leave the fast, you binge on junk food. In contrast, fasting is a complement to a healthier life, in which you take care of your diet and your physical state.
Therefore, leaving the fast is almost as important as the fasting period itself. The ideal is to do it slowly, gradually and healthily. A yogurt with cereals, fruits and seeds can be a perfect first meal to leave the fast, if it's your turn at breakfast time.
A lunch rich in vegetables can also serve as a first meal, preferably mostly raw.
Anyway, the time to eat again after a fast may be the best way to test how your body reacts to certain foods so it is also a good idea to pay attention.
Important: It should be clarified that Bioguía does not give medical advice or prescribe the use of techniques as a form of treatment for physical or mental problems without the advice of a doctor, either directly or indirectly. In the case of applying for this purpose some information of this site, Bioguía does not assume the responsibility of those acts. The intention of the site is only to offer information of a general nature to help in the search of development and personal growth.
Better with Health