Across India, fasting is generally linked with religious beliefs, and people fast before or during traditional rituals. On the other hand, fasting also has many health benefits and some of its pitfalls.
Many times, people ignore their bodily conditions and choose to fast. For instance, women who are breastfeeding or are pregnant must not fast. Also, people with Type 1 Diabetes who are on medication and people who have had a history with an eating disorder should consult a health specialist before altering a dietary pattern.
Fast can be done in various patterns: the '16:8' pattern involves 14 to 16 hours of fasting and eating between the 8 hours. Another fasting method is 5:2, that is fasting for alternate two days in a week.
There are various types of fasting methods that you can follow considering your health condition, as says Shikha Mahajan, holistic nutritionist and founder of Diet Podium:
Intermittent fasting or IF includes reducing calorie intake for an interval of time so that the person fasts for the other hours. This kind of fasting allows restricting the calorie intake and results in weight loss. Time-Restricted Fasting is also similar to IF.
Water fasting is a way of fasting where the individual only takes water and the intake of food is restricted for a duration of time. This kind of fasting should only be preferred under medical supervision. Sometimes doctors prescribe this kind of fasting to cure various health issues. There is a major drawback of this fasting. Since it is very difficult for a body to survive only on water. Therefore, it can cause many adverse effects on the body.
Fasting Mimicking Diet
This is the diet that tricks the body to think it is fasting. The individual is allowed to eat but only the diet which includes plant-based food, low in carbs and calories, and high in fat.
Here are some pros of fasting. Fasting helps to boost immunity. It naturally increases energy and will help you to feel more alert and focused throughout the day. It helps you attain a leaner, harder physique as fasting kills body fat dead.
There are cons of fasting too. The desire to binge after fasting is the biggest problem people face with fasting. Sometimes people tend to overeat during the non-fasting duration. This can lead to health issues like hormonal imbalances, increase in stress and migraines.
Occasional light-headedness is the major problem faced during fasting, To negate this con, you can start with shorter fasting periods first. Always remember fasting or changing your dietary pattern can make a big change to your body functioning, its metabolism and psyche.
Before opting for any kind of fast, consult a health expert and consider your health background.