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  • Writer's pictureThe Perceiver

Don't go to Fast!

By Fabrizio Petrocchi

In modern society with most humans consuming food at least three times a day, clinicians are studying the benefits of fasting. While some people look at fasting as a miraculous way to lose weight, some think it’s ridiculous. Although having a diet will help you lose weight, your metabolism also plays a strong role. This leads to several questions which are as follows:

Does fasting help you lose weight?

Doctors and clinicians have been studying how efficient fasting is in helping people lose weight as there’re several benefits of weight loss if you’re obese and especially if you have diabetes or at risk of getting diabetes. The metabolic expert Dr Deborah Wexler says, “There is evidence to suggest that the circadian rhythm fasting approach, whether meals are restricted to an eight to ten hour period of the daytime, is effective”. Scientists and doctors have carried out experiments and have observed different effects on the human body. They found that fasting improved insulin resistance, reduced the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, improved cellular stress response and signalling pathways that enhance mitochondrial health and DNA repair.

They also observed that an increased level of vigilance generally followed fasting. Sometimes a sense of euphoria was felt, as well as a subjective feeling of well-being. Fasting was well tolerated when followed correctly with a regular diet or protocol. According to the experiments, multiple clinical protocols observed a mood improvement and a sense of tranquillity reported by the patients.

Effectiveness of the distinct types of fasting

The critical factor of fasting seemed to be the adaptability of the body to change its energy source. To keep it simple, when we eat, sugars are released into the blood and insulin spikes up; simple sugar can be instantly and easily used by the different part of the body such as muscles or brain. This is why simple sugar containing foods like biscuits makes us feel more energetic. Problems arise when all the simple sugars are consumed, and the body needs to use complex sugars like glycogen which stored in the liver for cellular respiration in the muscles, brain, and other parts of the body. Since this process is quite long, negative feedback releases a message asking for food; if we eat, our body will continue to use simple sugars without using energy reserves (complex sugars). This negative feedback message can also last a couple of hours, reducing brain concentration and movement control. Several studies such as that of Dr. Franco Berrino reports how the use of too many simple sugars in the diet favours hyperactivity and concentration problems, especially in a child. Fasting seemed particularly up and coming because by refraining from food consumption, insulin doesn't spike up, and the negative feedback message is not released. This causes the body immediately to begin using complex sugars and lipids (ketones) to feed muscles, the brain or whatever needs energy. Thus, the body starts to use energy reserves instead of simple sugars allowing us to not feel hungry for more than 12 to 16 hours.

More studies are needed to properly understand if fasting, combined with a healthy lifestyle, can effectively affect weight loss and cause general health improvement.

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