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Weight Loss - Fasting and Fad Diets Don't Work

Why Fasting and Fad Diets Don't Aid Weight Loss

Although fasting for one day poses no serious threat to healthy adults, longer fasts (more than 24 hours) can have severe results. Whether it’s a "water-only" fast used to detox, meal skipping or existing on just cabbage soup or grapefruit, your body only recognizes one thing - starvation. This causes your body stress and is definitely not the answer to any permanent weight loss.

The Fast Track To Disaster

1. Fasting does result in rapid initial weight loss

Glucose is the principle fuel of your body under normal circumstances. If you use calorie restriction, glucose, which the liver stores as glycogen, is used first to supply energy.

Glycogen is also stored with water, as it is used for energy, water is released as well. This fluid is responsible for any rapid weight loss occurring in the first few days (anywhere up to five pounds per day) of severely calorie-restricted diets, which claim that you will lose 10 pounds in two days. Beware – these diets are detrimental to your health.

As soon as you restart normal eating, glucose and water stores are replenished and your original body weight will be resumed. However, this rapid loss of fluid leads to loss of electrolytes and certain dehydration, the only things "cleansed" from your body are minerals needed for muscle contractions, nerve transmissions, regulation of body fluids and other physiological functions.

2. Cutting calories actually slows down weight loss

The liver is only capable of storing enough glycogen (energy) for one day. If you fast for longer than 24 hours, your body will turn to your muscle to produce the glucose it requires for energy. By following a very low calorie diet or fasting, 30 percent of your total weight loss is muscle and the rest is fluid. So, in fact, you will not lose any fat by fasting.

How much muscle you have in your body controls your metabolic rate (the rate at which you burn calories). So, as you lose muscle mass, your muscles perform less metabolic work, thereby saving calories and hence energy. Consequently your rate of weight loss will slow down.

Most two to three day crash diets that claim to burn fat only destroy metabolically active muscle tissue and this actually hinders long-term weight loss. The same applies when skipping meals. Eating a meal, increases overall metabolism due to the energy required for digesting and absorbing the meal. If you skip a meal, the reverse happens, a decrease in your metabolism, and this will last until you eat something.

When your calorie intake is returned to normal, you will gain weight faster and this weight gain will come back as fat. With your metabolic rate slowed you may even find you are heavier than before you began dieting! Loss of muscle will affect your ability to achieve long term weight loss, unless you regain muscle by exercising.

3. Fasting will result in fatigue

Your body protein will provide most of the energy your body needs during the first few days of a fast, but then your body will adapt to using fat for energy in an attempt to preserve muscle. This is not beneficial to your health.

Both the kidneys and the liver will become burdened with toxic waste from this breakdown of fat and muscle tissue. Your body’s normal functions will be disrupted. Resulting Ketosis causes fatigue, constipation, nausea and vomiting. Potentially the long-term side effects of ketosis include heart disease, bone loss and kidney damage.

On top of this, the lack of calories will deprive your body of its essential vitamins and minerals so your hair, nails and skin will show visible signs of deterioration. Ironically, fasting as a means of detoxifying or cleansing the body, will actually achieve the opposite effect and you will be worse off.

Fast Track Your Way To Weight Loss

The safest, most sensible way to achieve long-term natural weight loss is to adopt a healthy eating habit, which will endure long after the excess pounds have gone. By keeping your metabolism revved up your body will burn calories rather than save them.

Have a breakfast. Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism after your body has been deprived of food throughout the night (hence its name break fast). Skipping breakfast keeps your metabolism running at a slow rate and your body will save any calories you eat later in the day rather than burning them.

Snack frequently. Eating little and often will speed up your metabolism keeping it working throughout the day.

Eat according to your activities. Make breakfast and lunch larger meals if you do most of your physical activity during the day, so you have enough energy.

Exercise. Cardio fitness activities (walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, aerobics and dancing) will help to speed up your metabolism for several hours after your workout. So you will continue to burn off additional calories long after you stop moving.

Lift weights. Lifting weights will build and tone muscles, which burn up to five times more calories than fat (even when your body is resting). More muscle tissue means more calories are burned and you will lose more weight over time.

Drink plenty of water. Your body’s metabolism needs water to function properly. It is recommended that you drink between 1 and 2 liters of water every day.

Warning: Fad diets and fasting are extremely dangerous, especially if you are pregnant or suffer from any chronic conditions such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, liver or kidney disease or even infections.


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Information provided on Beauty-Secrets4U is for your general knowledge only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should consult your doctor with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.