Something I’ve been hearing a lot about lately is fasting. I think it’s a New Year’s type thing. “Cleanse your body”….”Make a new start for 2021”…that type of thing. Actually fasting has been around for a long time. It’s been practiced by many cultures and religions over centuries. Fasting exists in various religious practices, including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, and Judaism.
We Catholics ( at least I was raised in the faith) still do it, though in a very casual, minor league way.
What do you mean, Bob?
I was raised in a Roman Catholic household. Our version of fasting was that during the 40 days of Lent, we couldn’t eat meat on Fridays. Nowadays I would have all kinds of choices for wonderful, meatless options In 2021, in Los Angeles, the Mecca of vegetarian, vegan, no GMO, gluten free , no nuts, fat free, reduced calorie diet options, no meat is no problem.
Back in Cincinnati in the 1960’s and 1970’s, what did “no meat” mean?
Mrs. Paul’s fish sticks and Ore-Ida french fries.
You want something else? How about the back of my hand and an early trip to your room…..
….but I digress…
These days the big 2 of the fasting world are intermittent fasting and juice cleanses.
Intermittent fasting ( I.F.) also known as intermittent energy restriction, is an umbrella term for various meal timing schedules. There are many different styles of IF ranging from programs where food is completely eliminated on certain days to versions where food is only restricted at certain times of the day. I.F. has received attention as a way to reach and maintain a healthy weight and to gain wellness benefits even in already healthy individuals.
The American Heart Association states that intermittent fasting may produce weight loss, reduce insulin resistance, and lower the risk of cardio or metabolic diseases. However the science concerning intermittent fasting is contested. The US National Institute on Aging states that there is insufficient evidence to recommend intermittent fasting. They encourage speaking to your healthcare provider before you jump into the I.F. pool. In a large meta-analysis published in 2018, scientists reviewed the conclusions from 11 trials lasting between 8–24 weeks. Study authors concluded that both intermittent fasting and continuous energy restriction (fancy term for regular diets) achieved comparable results when weight-loss and metabolic improvements were the goal. They indicated that longer-term trials are needed to draw definitive conclusions. Also, speaking of more standard versions of dieting, a 2018 study compared intermittent fasting with traditional diets (defined as continuous energy restriction) and found that weight loss benefits are similar.
Pros & Cons of I.F.
Easy to follow
No calorie counting
No macronutrient limitations
Unrestricted eating allowed ( on “feasting” days)
Might boost longevity
Promotes weight loss
May help with glucose control
May provide other health benefits
May reduce physical activity – Most intermittent fasting programs do not include a recommendation for physical activity. Not surprisingly, those who follow the programs may experience enough fatigue that they fail to meet daily goals and may even change their regular exercise routines.
May cause severe hunger. – It is not uncommon to feel moody, tired, experience fatigue, heartburn, constipation, dehydration, diminished sleep quality, or anemia.
I believe the current term is “hangry”.
Concerns for those on medication – Anyone who takes medication should speak to their healthcare provider before starting an IF
May promote overeating or unhealthy choices – For example, if you feel deprived after a day of complete fasting, you may feel inclined to overeat (or eat the wrong foods) on days when “feasting” is allowed. Like, maybe trying to eat anything that isn’t able to get up and run away from you?
Yeah, been there.
Oh, and I list it because it shows up on several different studies on I.F.
“May not be advisable long term”
Thanks for that.
A juice cleanse is a trendy detox diet that involves consuming vegetable and fruit juice for a short period of time, such as one to three days. It is also known as a juice fast. According to proponents, a juice cleanse supports the body’s natural detox processes by clearing the diet of sugar, caffeine, refined foods, and other foods and substances that can deplete energy to jumpstart a more healthful way of eating. Fruits and vegetables are filled with vitamins and minerals, and proponents say that juicing extracts those nutrients to make them easier to digest. However, research on the bioavailability of raw juices versus that of whole fruits or vegetables is mixed.
Also, some juice cleanse / fast devotees say that you should “prepare for emotions that may arise”. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the liver is associated with anger, the kidneys with fear, and the gallbladder holds frustration. Proponents of juice cleansing believe that old emotions may arise and be cleansed from the system as the corresponding organs are cleansed.
..or you could just be hangry…just offering you all of the options.
Research in support of any detoxification claims is, well, kinda sketchy.
According to experts, any short-term weight loss experienced on a juice cleanse is likely to be regained once normal eating habits are resumed. Juice cleanses specifically lack fiber, which helps control your appetite and helps your body ‘cleanse’ itself. and enjoying only juices will likely leave you feeling hungry.
However, there are many different types of juice cleanses. Some involve homemade juice made with fresh fruits and vegetables run through a juicer or pulverized in a blender, while others require store-bought juices. Some programs include one or more smoothies per day to provide protein, fat, and other nutrients for energy and to curb hunger, or even vegan meals and snacks. Honestly, and this isn’t something I’m getting from research or any expertise on my part, but including the fiber from pulverizing whole fruits & veg, and including some solid food makes way more sense to me, but that may mess with some people’s idea of “fasting”.
Am I saying that intermittent fasting & juice cleanses are bad? Or that you shouldn’t?
As you may know, I’m currently on a strict diet, and there are plenty of people who could shoot all kinds of holes in the why’s and wherefore’s of what I’m doing. If there was a single, perfect, easy & safe way to weight control, everyone would be doing it and whoever invented it would be richer than Bill Gates, Jack Ma & the dude from Facebook combined.
I’m just saying do your research. Don’t just jump on a bandwagon.
It’s your body, people. You don’t get another one. It’s not a video game.
OK, gotta go now. It’s time for my mid-morning piece of fruit.