Fasting: Healthy or dangerous?

January 05, 2017 | by Siva Krishnan, MD
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

Sometimes, when life gets really busy, people skip lunch. Or breakfast.

Most people don’t do this every day, though. When you’re used to eating three square meals a day, skipping one can leave you feeling, well, hangry.

Eating regular, healthy meals is important. And no one likes a grumbling tummy. But, even with the physical discomfort of hunger, research shows that calorie restriction or intermittent fasting could actually be good for you.

Fasting, generally, is going for short stretches of time without eating. Up to 12 hours, typically. Some people eat small meals during a fasting day, some forgo food altogether starting after dinner until lunch the next day.

At first glance, it sounds like a weight-loss gimmick or fad diet. In reality, fasting or calorie restriction can help with weight loss – but it also helps keep you healthy on a deeper level.

Something interesting happens to your body’s cells when you fast intermittently.

Research suggests that restricting calories or straight-up fasting for 10-12 hours gives your cells time to regenerate. That means your cells stay “younger.” Other studies have found that fasting helps your body regulate its blood sugar levels and may reduce the “bad” cholesterol in your body.

Intermittent fasting could help you lose weight or maintain a certain weight by eating significantly fewer calories on fasting days, then eating a healthy amount of calories on non-fasting days.

It’s important not to go overboard with fasting. Going more than 24 hours without food is not healthy. But research suggests that going for briefer periods without food, 12-18 hours even, on an intermittent basis (such as every other day) could help keep your health on track.

If you’re interested in fasting or calorie restriction, talk to your doctor about it before taking the plunge.

From personal fitness training and nutritional counseling to weight loss surgery, we can help you find a safe, effective weight management solution that’s right for you. Learn more about our weight loss programs.

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