Advantages and disadvantages of excessive fasting

Advantages and disadvantages of excessive fasting

Advantages and disadvantages of excessive fasting; Let us know about the advantages and disadvantages of excessive fasting. Humans have been fasting for thousands of years, but modern research is just now revealing its powers. Our life revolves around food. In today’s time accessing food is so easy that we hardly think about it. Let’s start with Advantages and disadvantages of excessive fasting.

The tradition of fasting is very popular in our India. Here women observe maximum fast. Fasting means not eating food for a certain period of time. Simply put, you completely or almost completely stop eating for a certain period of time.

A fast usually lasts 12 to 24 hours. But sometimes it continues for several days. Many times people also eat some light food during the fast, like tea, water etc.

Fasting is common in almost every major religious tradition, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. Hippocrates in ancient Greece believed it helped the body heal itself.

During Ramadan many Muslims fast from dawn to sunset every day for a month. This has given scientists a lot of information about what happens to your body when you fast.

The tradition of fasting during Navratras is most common in Hinduism. Research done so far shows that there are many benefits of fasting. But it also has some disadvantages. So let’s know about the advantages and disadvantages of fasting.

Advantages and disadvantages of excessive fasting

What is fasting?

Simply put, fasting means abstaining from food for a specified period of time. Fasting has gained prominence in the scientific literature for its health benefits and its effects on anti-aging properties.

In the modern diet, food is constantly within our reach. Our ancestors, though genetically contemporaries with us, did not have refrigerators, chemical preservatives, or even food sources.

As a result our bodies had learned to live for long periods of time without eating. The metabolic effects of fasting can be seen 3 to 5 hours after eating. A person should generally fast for 8 to 12 hours.

Thus the first meal of the day is called ‘breakfast’ because it breaks the fast taken at bedtime. Fasting is often thought of as a type of diet. But this is technically incorrect.

Diet refers to what you eat, while fasting refers to not eating anything. You can fast for a long time, but the nutritional value of the food taken after the fast should be high.

How does fasting work?

The liver’s process for making ketones goes like this: Glucose (sugar) is the main fuel your cells use to produce energy. Fasting uses up the liver’s stores of glucose, causing the cells to release fat.

When these fats go to your liver, these fats are converted into ketones that your body uses for energy. In ancient times, before humans learned to farm, they hunted and gathered food to survive.

During this, he used to roam for a long time without eating or drinking anything. Gathering fruit or hunting took a lot of energy and time. After this the human body started collecting fat to store energy.

However, today we do not need to hunt and gather our food like our ancestors. But even fasting has benefits for your physical and mental health.

In intermittent fasting, you do not eat anything during a certain period of time. When you don’t eat for a while, the body uses up all its sugar storage and starts burning fat.

This is a phenomenon known as metabolic switching. During the times you are not eating, you can drink water and zero-calorie beverages such as black coffee and tea.

Also during your eating periods, you can “eat normally,” but that doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want. During this time it is advised to stay away from high calorie junk food, fried food.

Prolonged fasting periods without food, such as 24, 36, 48 and 72 hours, are dangerous. If you go too long without eating, it encourages the body to store more fat.

What are the benefits of fasting?

If you are a healthy person, then there is no harm in fasting. Your body needs good nutrition and fuel. So talk to your doctor first, especially if you have health issues or take any kind of medication.

Fasting means not eating food for some time each day. During this time you do not eat for several hours or eat only once a day. Not eating anything for a certain period of time helps in increasing the ketone levels.

Ketones are chemicals that your liver uses as energy. But this is not the only benefit of fasting. It also offers health and mental benefits that you might not expect.

1. Weight loss

Advantages and disadvantages of excessive fasting
Advantages and disadvantages of excessive fasting

Fasting helps in weight loss and that too in a positive way. Even if you fast for 12 hours, it is also very beneficial. Research suggests that intermittent fasting is as effective as a low-calorie diet for weight loss.

Fasting also affects metabolic processes in the body that reduce inflammation as well as improve blood sugar regulation and the body’s stress response.

A person should fast for 12 hours every day. According to some researchers, fasting for 10-16 hours causes the body to convert stored fat into energy, which releases ketones into the bloodstream. This reduces weight.

2. Increased Insulin Sensitivity

Fasting lowers your risk of getting diabetes. It has been proved by research that fasting only once a week and drinking only water on that day reduces the chances of suffering from diabetes.

Not only this, fasting also reduces cholesterol level and blood pressure. Fasting for at least 16 hours gives the body a chance to rest and the level of insulin in the blood drops significantly.

Not only does it help burn fat, but it also lowers the risk of diabetes. During fasting, human skeletal muscle relies on lipid oxidation for its energy substrate metabolism.

3. Increases immunity

Long-term fasting makes your immune system strong. When the body is starved of food for a long period of time, it recycles immune cells to save energy, giving you a new force to fight diseases.

Fasting offers many health benefits, including weight loss, controlling blood sugar, and reducing inflammation. It also provides protection against certain conditions such as cancer and neurodegenerative disorders.

4. Detoxification

When your body is fasting, it tries to eliminate anything that unnecessarily consumes energy. This removes the toxins accumulated in the body.

Research shows that it increases the level of endorphin hormones. Which makes us feel good and happy after fasting.

5. Lowers Cholesterol

Fasting is known to reduce triglycerides, which are responsible for causing heart disease. Triglycerides make up the bad cholesterol. Interestingly, fasting does not cause any harm to the good cholesterol in the body.

6. Increases Leptin

Fatty tissue releases a variety of hormones. One such hormone is leptin which decides how you feel after a meal. Fasting helps in weight loss. Because it makes you feel more full.

Thus, the leaner you are, the less hungry you are. Due to the increase in leptin receptivity during this time, you feel full before meals.

7. Makes you young

Research has shown that fasting slows down the aging process in animals. The decision on humans is still undecided, but many believe that fasting reduces free radicals, which are primarily responsible for aging.

Fasting is also believed to increase life span.

8. Heart remains healthy

Fasting lowers bad cholesterol, regulates blood volume and normalizes blood pressure. Animal research has proven it to make the heart muscle more efficient and to accelerate the growth of blood vessels in the heart.

However people with diabetes, people suffering from high blood pressure, pregnant and lactating mothers should not fast.

9. Boosts Brain Function

Fasting promotes brain health by increasing the production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). In addition to protecting brain cells, this protein also helps prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Animal studies show that fasting protects brain cells by providing ketones for fuel instead of glucose. Ketones help the brain produce brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

It is a compound, which increases the growth of new brain cells and new connections between them.

10. Reduces acne

Fasting helps in clearing the skin. Simply going without food for a day improves the body’s ability to remove toxins. This helps the liver, kidney and other organs to function properly.

11. Improve mental functioning

When you fast, fewer toxins circulate through your blood and lymphatic system, making it easier for you to think.

When fasting, the energy you would normally use to digest food is available for the brain to use. You probably won’t notice this mental change for the first few days of fasting.

Because it takes time for your body to adjust. You may have a headache or aches at the beginning of the procedure. But after your body is cleansed of toxins, your brain has access to a clean bloodstream.

Resulting in clearer thoughts, better memory and increased acuity of your other senses.

What are the disadvantages of excessive fasting?

Fasting provides many health benefits. But it also produces unpleasant side effects like excess appetite, headache, fatigue and mood issues. It is important to follow it properly, as it can lead to malnutrition.

1. Increased appetite

People usually feel more hungry during fasting, but excessive hunger can prove to be dangerous. You usually feel more hungry than usual in the beginning.

Some studies report that this problem goes away with time, but this is not always the case. It is very difficult to keep the body without food for a long time.

When fasting, you feel more hungry. This is more so if you have just started fasting. This hunger makes you feel irritable and quite unsatisfied.

2. Mild to moderate headache

Abstaining from food continuously for a long period of time leads to low blood sugar levels, which is a common cause of mild to moderate headaches. This headache usually occurs in the frontal region of the brain.

3. Brain fog and lightheadedness

Fatigue is the main side effect of fasting. This leads to brain fog i.e. lack of proper thinking and brain processing. It also increases the feeling of lightheadedness in which you have an intense feeling of faintness and dizziness.

4. Digestive Concerns

Digestive problems like constipation, diarrhea, nausea, bloating are common during fasting. Intermittent fasting changes the entire eating pattern, which directly affects the functioning of the digestive system.

5. Law Energy

During fasting, you get less energy due to the fall in the blood sugar level. Apart from hunger pangs, irritability and lack of concentration, you will also feel a lack of strength and motivation to continue with your regular activities.

6. Frequent mood swings

Fasting causes a drop in blood sugar levels which leads to frequent mood swings. Frequent mood swings are one of the most common side effects of intermittent fasting in women.

7. Bad breath

Bad breath is an unpopular intermittent fasting side effect. Lack of food also reduces the flow of saliva in the mouth. This gives rise to acetone in the breath which is responsible for causing bad breath.

8. Hormonal imbalance

Fasting messes with the hormones of the body. This disturbs sleep. The side effects of intermittent fasting in women can be serious as it leads to irregular menstruation and fertility issues.

9. Dehydration

During the first few days of intermittent fasting, large amounts of water and salt are lost in the urine. Medically this is known as natural diuresis of fasting or natriuresis.

If fluids and electrolytes are not replenished in time, it can lead to dehydration.

10. Malnutrition

Nothing is eaten during intermittent fasting. Thus when you eat is important. The food you consume will provide you with the energy and nutrients to survive the fasting period.

People who do not follow the eating regimen properly are more likely to be malnourished.

11. Hair fall and skin problems

Hair loss and skin problems are one of the side effects of prolonged fasting. If intermittent fasting is not practiced properly for a long time, it will lead to nutritional and body essential things.

This leads to hair fall and skin problems. Fasting in the right way is very important. And when you eat after fasting, there should be no shortage of nutrients in that food.

12. Fatigue and lethargy

A possible side effect of fasting is decreased energy levels, fatigue and lethargy. When the body is in a fasting state, it cannot draw on its normal energy source from food, which makes it difficult to maintain energy levels throughout the day.

This is especially true for those who are already struggling with fatigue or low energy levels. When you observe fast for the first time, fatigue and lethargy are more visible.

The following people should never keep fast-

  • pregnant women
  • lactating mothers
  • teenage kids
  • elderly and senior citizens
  • people with immunodeficiency diseases
  • people with eating disorders
  • people with mental illness such as dementia
  • person with diabetes
  • people with neurological disorders
  • drug addict

Why do people fast?

Fasting carries with it historical, spiritual and political significance. Upavas are a common practice in Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and many other religions. Hunger strike is also a type of fasting.

Fasting for medical reasons is more common. It is needed before surgery in order to reduce the contents of the patient’s stomach during anesthesia. Even longer fasting is required before colonoscopy to clear further down the GI tract.

Some diagnostic tests require fasting beforehand, such as measuring blood sugar. Vrat is used for insulin resistance (diabetes) and high cholesterol. Fasting is a great strategy for weight loss.

In this way people keep fast only because of historical, spiritual and political importance. But sometimes fasting is also followed to keep the body healthy. By the way, we fast for about 12 hours in the night.

types of fasting

Fasting is intermittent or prolonged. “Intermittent” means you fast for less than a few days or you switch between eating and fasting. “Prolonged” means fasting from 2 days to several weeks.

One popular form of intermittent fasting is time-restricted eating. In this, food has to be eaten within a certain time period every day.

Some of the most common methods are-

  • 16/8: Eating in 8 hours (10am to 6pm) and fasting for the rest of the day
  • 18/6: Eating in 6 hours and fasting for the remaining 18 hours
  • 20/4: Eating every 4 hours and fasting for the rest of the day

Other types of intermittent fasting include alternate day fasting and the 5:2 diet. It consists of eating only for 5 days and fasting for the other 2 days of the week. But in both of these versions, people often eat small amounts of food during their “fast”.

Prolonged, or intermittent, fasting lasts for several days or weeks. Always consult your doctor before starting it. Regardless of the type of fasting, your body reacts to a lack of fuel.

Fasting has potential health benefits, but there are also some risks. Fasting is not suitable for everyone. A lot depends on the food you eat after your fast.


So this was the advantages and disadvantages of fasting, we hope that after reading this article completely, you would have got complete information about the benefits and side effects of fasting. If you like our article, then do share it so that more and more people can get the correct information about the benefits and disadvantages of fasting.