The genetic inheritance of the human race was built over thousands of years of our ancestors living as hunter-gatherers, where a large meal may come along only occasionally and surviving off very little in between. This means that our bodies are genetically used to surviving off of very little from time to time. More recently, the health and fitness benefits of this have been researched in depth. Whole new dietary lifestyles have been created around fasting, but is it any good for you? And can it do you harm? Here we talk you through possible benefits along with the potential risks involved in fasting.

 

Benefits

 

  • Restarted Immune Systems

Fasting makes your body produce more white blood cells and other cells that assist in fighting diseases. It hits the reboot button, rejuvenating your immune system making it more effective against colds and other illnesses.

 

  • Weight Loss

One of the main reasons many take to fasting. When fuel isn't ingested in the form of food the body turns to its natural glucose reserves resulting in fat being dropped from your body at high rates.

 

  • Normalises Insulin Sensitivity

Your body can become insulin resistant if fed too many carbs and sugars which paves the way for diseases like type-2 diabetes. Fasting normalises your insulin sensitivity which is an important factor in countering chronic diseases of that nature.

 

  • Potential Anti-Ageing Benefits

Though not yet proven in humans, research using rats has shown a link between intermittent fasting and longevity. Studies have shown fasting resulting in weight loss and increased lifespans. It may just be rats, but it is still quite the carrot on a stick.

 

 

Dangers

 

  • Potential for Eating Disorders

Fasting is essentially a binge and purge lifestyle, which is obviously not sustainably safe if not done correctly and can exacerbate eating disorders.

 

  • Raised Cortisol Levels

Increased cortisol levels can have the effect of your body actually storing more fat and breaking down muscles. Women especially seem to suffer if levels aren't kept at a safe level.

 

  • Over-Reliance on Caffeine and Sugar

There are a few luxuries you are permitted when fasting, however, creating an over-reliance on coffee is common and is a quick way to dump a lot of sugar into your system. Maybe stick some green tea in there instead!

 

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