Friday, July 3, 2015

The Fast and the Furious Feasters.

Since the time mankind has come to believe in religions, ritual fasting has become an imperative part of most cultures; be it for Hindus who fast during Navratra, Muslims who fast during Ramadan or Jews who fast during Yon Kipper. And since we never back down to start the mud slinging about how bad a particular religious way of fasting is, I decided to look at the whole matter rather objectively and solely from health point of view. Now let me tell you that I have never fasted in my life. Not because I am not spiritual but because I love food way too much; but after knowing what good fasting can do to your body, I am tempted to test my will once again.

Human body is well equipped to handle periods not eating, thanks to our history of our forefathers being hunters and gatherers. Search 'fasting and health' online and you will get more than 34 million results in less than 0.32 seconds, most of them talking about the doctor recommended benefits like how fasting helps in removing toxins, resting your vital organs and weight loss. Now I for once will never recommend fasting as a means to lose weight (I'll tell you why by the end of the post), but I for sure will vouch for the other health benefits that accompanies a fast.
  • Burns Fat! Let me explain how our body works. when we eat food, our body utilizes carbohydrate to produce glucose in the body which gives energy. In the absence of food, the stored up glycogen is used to produce energy. When that gets over, our body starts to burn fat. However if you prolong the fast to few days, Ketosis kicks in, meaning the body is using fat as a primary source of fuel. In the short run, it leads to fatigue, soreness and bad breath. In the long run it causes additional stress on the liver and kidney and can cause damage. 
  • Fasting may help your heart: Fasting for shorter duration may prevent heart diseases and insulin resistance which is a pre-cursor of diabetes.This again goes out to the fat burning effect of fasting. If you are burning fat cells, chances are your heart will remain block free for longer. 
  • It can cut down the risk of cancer: Although still in nascent stages of research, it has been proven that fasting decreases the growth and division of malicious cells in humans. So fingers crossed.
Now the reason I mentioned that I would never fast for the 'weight loss' is because of the tittle of my post. Most of us get so excited by the thought of food after a fast that we forget the whole purpose of a fast. We become voracious eaters and dig on anything and everything. That kills the whole purpose of fasting and shoots down the fundamental theory of '5 small meals a day'. Your body is going to stack up all the calories in double the amount when you feast after a long fast. My advice to those who are fasting- Break your fast with more of fruits and liquids and less of fried and heavy meals. Take a break once you are thorough with the fruits. Take a walk, rest for a while and then sit for the main course. This way you are not only spacing out your meals, but also getting satiated early and avoiding the binge calorie intake.