SP Premium

You Asked: Will Fasting Jump-Start My Weight-Loss Efforts and Boost My Health?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Fasting has long been touted as a healthy process with many benefits such as cleaning the system, ridding the body of so-called toxins, benefiting the intestinal track, boosting metabolism, and jumpstarting weight loss. However none of these notions is true, nor is any of them backed up by medical research.
While a short-term fast probably won’t harm most people, it could be quite dangerous for others, depending on their medical conditions, health histories, and medication use. I strongly urge you to talk to your physician before ever starting or considering a fast.
During normal metabolic conditions (non-fasting), the body gets its energy primarily from glucose and fat (in the blood), which are supplied by the carbohydrates and fats that you eat. Both the brain and nervous systems use blood glucose for energy and proper functioning. Your body also stores energy in both the muscles and liver in the form of glycogen.
Within only hours after starting a fast, when dietary glucose is used up, the body draws on its glycogen stores, but these don’t last very long. When these stores are exhausted, your body enters an altered metabolic state. It turns to its own protein (and a portion of its fat) to make more glucose for the brain and nervous system. This results in a considerable breakdown of both lean muscle tissue and fat tissue, and a production of ketones. This is not considered a healthy or desirable state.
As a result, you might lose weight, but it is due to water loss, dehydration, and muscle tissue wasting, and is usually accompanied with symptoms such as fatigue and dizziness.
Therefore, you can reason that after years of abusing the body with a poor diet and excessive fat and calories, a fasting state is not the answer to better health. Your body is truly craving proper nutrition, including whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, healthy fats, and lean meats, fish, beans, and other protein sources. Then and only then, can the body systems work together effectively and efficiently. This healthy diet will results in improved energy and overall health.
NOTE: Certain medical procedures and tests require patients to fast for a designated time period. Always follow the advice of your primary health care provider in these situations.
Additional Reading:
Detox Diets: Helpful or Full of Hype?
Do Detox Diets Work? Are They Safe?

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints


RCLYKE 10/8/2020
needs to be updated Report
PATRICIAAK 9/17/2020
:) Report
KATHYJO56 9/16/2020
I think this article is out of date. I have read many articles that say just the opposite. Report
THINCPL2004 9/5/2020
I would agree, this article may need to be updated. I am doing the intermittent fasting 16:8 for over a month and I have lost 8pds and my blood sugar levels have never looked better. My doctor told me to stick with it! Report
RALPHDB 8/18/2020
This article is wrong and outdated. The Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology in 2016 was on the research on autophagy from fasting long term and intermittent. Report
PATRICIAAK 5/11/2020
:) Report
CECELW 5/11/2020
This is completely opposite of what other health sites suggests. SP might need to update their posts Report
1CRAZYDOG 3/26/2020
hmmmmm . . . contradicts current info. Report
ROBBIEY 2/29/2020
I have a hard time fasting because I like to eat something every couple of hours instead of big meals Report
EVIE4NOW 2/21/2020
Being diabetic I can not fast. People, if you disagree with something, be courteous about it or just go to the next article. No need for cranky, nasty comments. Report
NASFKAB 12/8/2019
Wish there were fewer nasty comments here & in recipes. if one disagrees do be polite about it. Report
ESTACEY2011 11/11/2019
Fasting actually stimulates more production of stem cells. Fasting is very good for you and the research shows it.
I must add that the frequency of outdated articles has actually made me less interested in reading any articles here. Why put these up ? Is there not enough staff to post updated material. It seems to me that Spark has list some of it’s original fire. I am lucky to have made several Spark connections, but methinks the site is faltering. Report
I must add that the frequency of outdated articles has actually made me less interested in reading any articles here. Why put these up ? Is there not enough staff to post updated material. It seems to me that Spark has list some of it’s original fire. I am lucky to have made several Spark connections, but methinks the site is faltering. Report
We need an updated article. My doctor encourages fasting. But intermittent fasting, not for days. There are benefits to fasting if you do not suffer from a medical condition Report
is this an outdated article Report
The most unpleasant comments and nastiness I have ever seen on SP - I am shocked by the comments and nastiness. Report
Good advice! Report
Thanks! Report
Outdated info. Very sad. I expected better.
receipt. Article is very untrue, I intermittent fast DAILY and am in the best health that I have been in for years,And I have the lab work and my doctors full support to prove it! Report
YES. ...to answer the title question of this outdated article. -- Yes, fasting can jump start you on a path to better health. Yes, it can help with weightloss. No, you won't "eat" your body. Yes, it is important to take in quality nutrition, before & after your fast.

Yes. Fasting has been done for centuries. Worldwide! Yes. People are still alive to share their experiences. Yes. It is possible for you to fast. But, as always, use caution and learn to listen to your body. Report
Sadly out of date. Report
For heaven's sake update the available information. 2012? Really? Report
I do an electrolyte water fast a few times a week to break insulin resistance. The information is WRONG, from 2012! Please remove outdated information. At least have an article by Dr. Fung- Obesity Code for people to reference correct information. Report
An outdated article at the top of my feed. I can laugh at how 5 years ago it was considered "bad" to fast. I do the intermittent fasting where I only eat for 8 consecutive hours a day, fasting for the other 16. It works for me. Report
Soo much outdated info!!! From the Success stories, to these old articles from 2012???? Lots of Research on benefits of Fasting... Report
I can't believe how old some of these comments are, and the age of the article, and yet SP continues to bring it to the top of the feed. MANY religions routinely fast. Fasting for short terms has been proven to be beneficial with many peer reviewed articles. Time for SP to take this out of date information down. Report
Wow, lots of nasty comments on here. The unnecessary nastiness is another reason not to join the keto community.

Before you bust out your nasty grams, kids look at the date on the article. If it's from 2012, maybe you should just ignore it or, if you feel it would be more helpful, contact Sparkpeople and ask them to reconsider the post? They may be able to take it down. Report
This article is NOT based on current research. The human body can use either glucose or fat for it's energy needs. It burns the glucose first because it is a poison in your body. Get rid of the poison (sugars/highly refined carbohydrates) and the body will burn fat. Research has proven that lean muscle tissue is not burned. Do your research--the truth is out there. Report
I have to disagree with this article, I believe the new science about intermittent fasting is of great benefit to the human state. I emphasize "Intermittent" not starving yourself for long periods. I am on the "fast diet" by Michael Mosley and honestly there is a change in how my body functions and my cravings for sugary foods. Two days per week of restricting calories to 500-800 per day is not hard just different. You will not lose lean body muscle in that time and it does wonders for your gut biome. I think it's time to refresh the ideas on this topic. Report
If you don't know enough about a topic to write a reasonable, factual article..it's okay not to write the article. Really, it's okay not to write it.
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt. Report
I am highly disappointed, though not surprised, at Spark's publishing this outdated article. Shame on you for doing so and perpetuating old-thinking information without proper research on current SCIENCE. Report
Thank you!!! Report
What is hilarious about this article is that the SAME exact "expert" that wrote this article back in 2012 wrote another article about last year, about intermittent fasting that completely contradicts this article.... Guess she used to work for the USDA... cause that's who we got our erroneous dietary "food pyramid" from decades ago, and why most of us are having to lose weight today.... Report
Wow! I am very surprised at the level of ignorance here. Please, please, please do actual research about fasting and ketosis. Report
This article is way out of date and just wrong. This is not how metabolism works the body burns ketones when glycogen is depleted. It's very healthy as proven by good recent studies and intermittent fasting is spreading rapidly because of its success. I fast frequently and have lost 41 pounds in six months. I'm alert, healthy and in better shape than I've been in years. Spark ... you need to get this writer off the site. This is plain misinformation. Report
Another crappy article and misinformation from Becky Hand Report
Sparkpeople credibility: Lost.
Just because this website makes a point not to advocate fasting, even intermittent fasting, doesn't mean it's bad. Instead of getting your information from Sparkpeople, who do have a vested interest in what "method" you lose weight, do your own research.
I don't have time to do it for you. Here's a few key areas for intermittent fasting research you might be interested in: weight loss, improved glucose sensitivity, IT prior to chemotherapy, etc.
Go to your local library, get on EBSCOHost (or WorldCat), and do your own research.
Or read another non-research article that says this article is wrong. There's plenty of them out there. Seek, and ye shall find.
(I tried including links, but the system won't let me comment if I do.)

PS- To Ms. Becky Hand, please learn the difference between when to use "is" and "are." I'm pretty sure English is your first language, and if you're going to be a blogger, improve your proofreading or have someone competent do it for you. And try writing about information you have researched, instead of just spewing badly-written propaganda. Report
I'm happy with the steady weight loss that comes from a healthy diet and regular exercise myself. I don't need to do this in a hurry. Report
Ketosis as such is NOT a bad thing. It's ketoacidosis which is the problem, though many people, including medical professionals get them confused. There a lot of good information on this at Mark's Daily Apple.

And from an article in the Journal of the International Society for Sports Nutrition, found at BioMed Central:
"During very low carbohydrate intake, the regulated and controlled production of ketone bodies causes a harmless physiological state known as dietary ketosis. Ketone bodies flow from the liver to extra-hepatic tissues (e.g., brain) for use as a fuel; this spares glucose metabolism via a mechanism similar to the sparing of glucose by oxidation of fatty acids as an alternative fuel. In comparison with glucose, the ketone bodies are actually a very good respiratory fuel. Indeed, there is no clear requirement for dietary carbohydrates for human adults."

there're some interesting studies lately showing that 'intermittent fasting' can be very helpful and healthy. this would involve 2 non-consecutive days each week where you restrict yourself to 500 calories, and eat normally (not overeating to make up for the restrictions) the other days. it seems to help cholesterol, blood sugar, and other health issues. I'll be interested to see what more studies will show. Report
as soon as we stop eating aren't we basically starting a fast? And then while we sleep are fasting.
And it is better not to eat right before going to bed so your body and use it's energy to restore your body than digest food.

So how long is to long to fast in an average day? Report
I do a water fast after cheat days, with little to no exercise. It helps me shed the weight gained from my cheat meals and jump-starts my week. Report
Walking Guide