Fasting in Ramadan is an intermittent fast

Fasting: what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Status: 02/18/2020 10:18 a.m.

Therapeutic or intermittent fasting help you lose weight and seem to protect against diabetes and cancer. However, certain forms of fasting can have undesirable side effects.

When fasting, you completely or partially forego certain foods, drinks and luxury foods for a certain period of time. The idea is obvious to want to lose weight with a fast. For this, however, it is important to choose the right form of fasting - namely a short-term fast.

Fasting activates cell cleansing

One advantage of fasting: it trains the metabolism. If the body does not have to digest, important cell cleansing processes (autophagy) can take place better. Fasting promotes the body's own garbage collection, so to speak. This process is also part of the immune system (xenoautophagy).

B.Consult a doctor for previous illnesses

Despite its many good effects, fasting is not recommended for everyone. People with severe heart and kidney diseases, cancer, gout or biliary problems are not allowed to fast, neither are pregnant or breastfeeding women. All people with metabolic or chronic illnesses should consult a doctor before any type of fast. The same applies to low blood pressure, underweight and old age.

Traditional therapeutic fasting according to Buchinger

Only low-calorie drinks are allowed when fasting.

One of the most famous fasting methods is the classic therapeutic fasting according to Buchinger. It is similar to a zero diet: In addition to calorie-free drinks such as water and tea, only the consumption of vegetable broth and a small amount of protein is allowed. In this way, the body receives an emergency ration of calories, vitamins and minerals. Those who do a lot of sport are allowed to consume 200 grams of quark, yoghurt or milk per day.

Cleansing, but not suitable for slimming

The Buchinger method lets the pounds fall off quickly. However, it is not very suitable for reducing body weight over the long term. Because the total renunciation of food triggers a stress reaction in the body: The energy consumption is reduced in order to get by with the reserves for as long as possible. The body taps into its fat stores to generate energy - but unfortunately also the valuable muscle mass. Muscle cramps, cardiac arrhythmias and circulatory disorders with dizziness can occur when fasting for several days. The kidneys are also heavily stressed under a zero diet. Kidney stones and gout attacks can result. One reason why people with previous illnesses should only use this method in a fasting clinic if possible.

The yo-yo effect threatens

The counter-regulation of the body easily leads to weight gain after eating again: the dreaded yo-yo effect. It is important to increase the energy intake very slowly and, if you are overweight, to make a permanent change in diet immediately after the Buchinger fast. Part of this change in diet can be regular fasting days or starting intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting 16: 8 or 5: 2 - the new short-term fasting

With the "5: 2 formula" against inflammation: With this form of intermittent fasting, the body consumes damaged cells, explains doctor Anne Fleck.

With intermittent fasting, you can choose between daily meal breaks - 16 hours of rest during the night and skip one meal a day - or weekly fasting days: eat normally five days a week and almost nothing for two days. You should of course drink enough during intermittent fasting, but only calorie-free drinks (water, unsweetened tea, a maximum of two to three cups of black coffee).

Why short-term fasting is so effective

Intermittent fasting 16: 8 means: fasting for 16 hours overnight and eating two meals within eight hours during the day.

With both variants, the body learns to live from its reserves for a short period of time - in the short period, however, the metabolism is not reduced and the muscle mass is not reduced. This is very important because it avoids the dreaded yo-yo effect - the decisive difference to longer fasts or crash diets.

Intermittent fasting prevents diabetes in animal experiments

According to current research, intermittent fasting helps you lose weight, can protect against type 2 diabetes and possibly even support cancer therapies. There are still only a few studies on intermittent fasting in humans. Animal experiments with mice have already shown impressive results: the method "eat one day, fast the next" (alternate day fasting) has been shown to extend the life of the animals. Intermittent fasting trained the metabolism of the mice so effectively that the onset of type 2 diabetes was prevented: fewer toxins accumulated in the liver, and the mice were able to process the insulin better again. The researchers assume that the results from the animal experiment can be transferred to the very similar metabolism in humans.

Current studies on intermittent fasting deal with the prevention of cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes as well as neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease or dementia through intermittent fasting.

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The Nutritional Docs | 02/08/2021 | 9:00 p.m.