Common Myths about fasting is important to burst for people who love food have to fight with their food cravings every day to meet their weight loss goals. However, it is important to remember that pushing yourself beyond what your body can take, can make you unhappy. Change sure is good, but can it be long-term? For that, what you need to do is know the myths about fasting. To make sure that what you are doing every day to maintain your body weight, weight loss or weight gain it is important to first come to recognize that food is not your enemy in this path you are taking to become healthy. Food is as important as the fitness regime, where you include you exercises, supplements and fasting routine. Everybody’s body reacts differently to fasting, so it is important to focus on a healthy nutritious diet if you are looking for long-term effects. Losing weight is not always the best goal to have, because a bad diet can affect mental health, hormonal misbalance and lead to deficiencies too.
In this article we have aggregated the top myths on fasting which will help you know better about the goals you want to achieve through fasting. What does new research tells us about the effect of fasting on metabolism? Is there a best diet plan? It’s important to not fret over diet, and instead follow your fasting cycles according to your own needs. It is at the end your determination around the question of your body and when, where and how to eat and not eat while being aware of the best myths on fasting.
TOP 15 Myths About Fasting
Eating less can boost your metabolism is the most popular science myth. However, this is true. But eating less is not what your aim should be. You should b focusing on the size and composition of your meals. Most diet plans focus on calories, proteins and carbs but not vitamins which are crucial for your skin and hair. It is important to focus on the intake of antioxidants and vitamins. Greentea increases metabolism and with proper exercise in a fixed time every day can give better results. Metabolism is a process of digesting food and can be worked upon. Food intake should depend on your body’s size and composition.
2. Neurological diseases:-
It is known that fasting slows progression of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease to a large extent. But fasting can also releases an orexigenic hormone – ghrelin that may alleviate depressive symptoms by upregulating Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). According to tests on animals intermittent fasting or prolonged fasting does cause neurogenesis after three months. BDNF is a protein that plays critical roles in learning, memory, and the generation of new nerve cells. In most lab experiments done on mice, fasting leads to the production of BDNF in the hippocampus of the brain. All in all, in patients of Alzheimer’s it supervision is advised.
3. Cardiovascular diseases:-
Heart diseases like ischemia, ldl and hdl cholesterol, high blood pressure can cause heart attack. Most people prefer excluding fats and sugar completely from their diet when they come to know of this condition. Another myth. A healthy diet with exercise, depending on the body, sometimes, even walking, has great effects on high and low cholesterol levels. Another very common myth relating to heart diseases is that high cholesterol happens to middle-aged people. This is not true. Cholesterol must be checked for everybody every 5 years starting at age 20. It is also found through recent research that fasting leads to insulin resistance and hence increases chances of heart failure. Depending on the person’s age, sex, race, field center, physical activity, smoking, alcohol intake and cholesterol level diet has to be planned. Not everybody’s body reacts the same way to fasting.
Diet has a large role in cancer patients and also to avoid cancer. Although the causes of cancer are unknown, it is well known that fasting is good during chemotherapy but it is not proven and is only observed in certain patients. Also, it is not known which fasting schedule is best known for cancer treatment and prevention. Additionally, people tend to eat “superfoods” during fasting. Blueberries, beetroot, broccoli, garlic and green tea are called superfoods. But this is not evidence-based. Most of this food is not even available to global southeast asia. It is just a marketing gimmick. A balanced nutritious diet is most important. With all information on medicine and lifestyle changes we still don’t know if fasting is good for prevention and cure for cancer.
5. Weight Loss:-
The idea is to adopt a long-term doable diet plan and not any fasting regime. It is advised that beginners should be supervised by a nutritionist on their diet plan. Cardio exercises along with proper resistance building exercises are good during fasting to increase metabolism and weight loss, but experts suggest that any kind of regime should be tried and tested. If you are not liking the fasting or getting hungry then it might affect other aspects of your life. People adopt their own ways of fasting that suits their work-life balance. But its important to be aware of your blood sugar levels and circadian rhythms to practice any kind of fasting particularly for weight loss. If you are feeling weakness, fatigue or dehydration immediately consult a doctor for your fasting schedule. Sometimes fats are important in your diet and sometimes only eating proteins can cause weight gain overtime.
6. Calorie restriction:-
If you remain below 50 calories you will remain in a fasted-state. Fasted state starts after 12-14 hours of the last food intake by the person. But remaining well-within 500-600 calories per day is also good enough. People who follow intermittent fasting are generally following a calorie restriction to lose weight. It is effective in weight loss but not necessarily in making you healthy. As you start fasting according to calorie restrictions your body goes through a number of changes especially with effect to insulin sensitivity, blood sugar, glucose secretion etc and this at times leads to hormonal disorders in women. The myth around calorie restriction is that we cannot follow this kind of diet for long-term. If we subject our body to constant whimsical changes our health gets severely affected.
It is a well-established hypothesis that fasting increases metabolic activities. But long-term fasting can lead to nausea and stress. According to most human trials proponents of intermittent fasting or fasting for weight loss see a lot more drop-out rates, for up to 38 percent, and tend to eat more after their starvation stage of the diet. Dr. Frank Hu, chair of the department of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health says that “One hypothesis is that fasting can activate cellular mechanisms that help boost immune function and reduce inflammation associated with chronic disease”. But she also stresses on the fact that – “it’s true that getting rid of excess body fat will improve a person’s metabolic profile and lower cardiovascular risk, he says, there’s no strong evidence that fasting adds health benefits beyond any other weight-loss strategy.”
8. Oxidative stress:-
Fasting produces mild stress on the body and also leads to reduction in oxidative stress. Increased levels of altered cellular mechanisms can lead to accumulation of peroxides on the cellular walls which have toxic effects on the body. Although in animal models oxidative stress is shown to reduce there is no data on humans. Most research focuses on fasting or intermittent fasting for “obesity” and not for weight loss. And that is why the research focuses on cardiovascular diseases and symptoms. But fasting for weight loss has not shown any significant effects. On the other hand, there is no one belief on the concept of oxidative stress that it has any effect on treating cardiovascular diseases as such.
Sugar is the most controversial ingredient in our diet. Consuming sugar does contribute to obesity but it is not related to the clinical condition of obesity and neither is it true that we have to completely take out sugar from our diet. Also, there is now a very common notion that fruits also contain sugar, so stop consuming fruits too while you are fasting for weight loss. Fruits contain helpful antioxidants and vitamins and have a positive impact on blood glucose. With sugar moderation is the key. However, sugar-free chemical add-on can be avoided and sugared soda. Time restricted diet leads to fascinating results on our body, reduces inflammation and cancer risk.
Fasting also leads to intestinal cleansing and longer periods of fasting can lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, impaired bowel function, and disruption of intestinal flora. Fasting for weight loss after sometime has to go below the 600 calorific value and this kind of diet creates lacks in laxatives, carbohydrates that can impair normal bowel function. Also, unsupervised fasting can cause the person metabolic acidosis- a disruption of the body’s acid-base balance. According to The British Dietetic Association (TBDA) detox diet is a marketing myth. Fasting leads to detox is being researched but there is not evidence on its positive impact on human health. If in fact somebody is planning to go for detox there is chelation therapy recommended by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a type of chemical detoxification procedure, for removing toxic metals from the body.
While intermittent fasting causes ketogenesis. Fasting is not mandatory for a ketogenic diet. Lowering your carb intake can help you in a ketogenic diet as the body will slowly become alkaline. On the other hand, keto diet has to be followed for 3-5 days at least to see its benefits. But this diet is extremely hard to adhere to. This can lead to eating disorders. On the other hand, it is not advised for pregnant or breastfeeding women. It is a high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that poses a risk of inducing hyperlipidemia, elevation of liver enzymes and onset of fatty liver disease.
Fasting for people with obesity and prevention of obesity have two different effects. Most of the information we have about fasting is from the internet and that is why it is important to know our own bodies. Best way is to get to know your Body Mass Index (BMI) from the nearest gym, it can tell you about your deficiencies and needs. On the other hand, fasting is not generally beneficial for women as it is for men. But observations show that fasting leads to reduction of belly fat or abdominal fat. But without exercise this should not be practiced for weight loss as fasting as a protocol for weight loss is a very long-term procedure and needs proper social and at times clinical support.
13. Muscle Mass:-
It is thought that fasting will make you lean. Fasting will not lead to reduction of muscle mass as much as weight loss. Weight training may lead to loss of muscle mass. Fasting burns fats and not muscles however, longer periods of fasting may make the body utilize the energy from the muscle mass too. But this kind of fasting is not healthy and can lead to digestive diseases. On the other hand, those who are practicing such a diet have to go to the gym or use heavier equipment to gain muscle mass later on. And as mentioned earlier, more proteins don’t mean more muscles-it can also mean more weight.
It is a common myth that Type 2 Diabetes patients should fast and that insulin resistance is good. Hypoglycemic patients may take insulin to maintain their blood sugar levels. Additionally, fasting is only one of the measures for lowering insulin resistance. It is not because diabetes can make you fat. Overall, fasting makes you more active, delaying abnormal organ functions in diabetic patients. On the other hand fasting is not advised to all hypoglycemia patients, if only it is advised does the person see a lowering of blood glucose level- it is necessary if you are taking insulin or oral pills.
15. Sleep or circadian rhythm:-
Fasting does not make you sleep better. But maybe eating at the same time every day can help you see your circadian rhythm. Intermittent fasting is known to make the brain more active that is why it can also reduce sleep. Studies show that long-term fasting can lead to sleep disturbances. To avoid this stay hydrated. Another important advice is that if you are feeling extremely hungry, do not go to sleep in that state. Short-term fasting is good for reducing occurrence of sleep interruptions. Fasting also at times results in biological symptoms of depression, such as irritability, mood lability, and low libido.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting:-
- Leads to cellular repair and removes waste material from the body
- Increases amount of norepinephrine (noradrenaline) in the body that increases the breakdown of body fat
- Reduces insulin resistance important for fighting Type 2 Diabetes.
- Helps in anti-aging.
- Reduces chances of blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglycerides and inflammatory markers.
- Makes metabolism process faster.
- Reduces side effects of chemotherapy
- Helps in brain function
- Can prevent neurodengenerative diseases
- Increases life-span
There are many myths about fasting.Myths about fasting and intermittent fasting are culturally affected by medically accepted social practices. Because of the fast-mimicking nature of this practice, the top myths on fasting come out which are spreading through social media. It is important to know the facts before we subject our body to random experiments. Therefore we have brought you the common myths about fasting. It is important to read these bursted myths on fasting and self-monitor yourself and know the common science myths on fasting. Intermittent fasting benefits are also becoming viral, but it’s important to listen to our bodies if they are not reacting in a healthy manner to fasting.