The Benefits and Dangers of Fasting

Many people have become concerned over their own body weight.  A sedentary lifestyle, larger eating portions, and smaller gym enable our body to conserve energy and increase body weight.  However, what if we do the opposite?  What will happen to our body if we eat little or do not eat at all? 

Our body uses glucose as its primary source of energy.  If we do not eat for more than 8 hours, our body would get its glucose from the liver by metabolizing glycogen, the storage form of glucose.  During this process, our body would also use small amounts of protein as a supplement. 

Once all the glycogen supply in the liver has been used, our body would then turn to our muscles for glycogen.  If we continue to fast at that point, our body may fall into muscle wastage, but this is prevented by temporarily switching to fat as our body’s fuel source.

Research suggests that fasting has its positive and negative effects on our body.  For instance, fasting reduces our risk from cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, insulin resistance, and immune disorders among others.  Caloric restriction also slows down our body’s aging process and also has a potential to increase our maximum life span.

Some doctors even suggest fasting every other day, which is also referred as intermittent fasting.  Short-term studies show that aside from the obvious effects such as weight loss and stress resistance, intermittent fasting brings out not-so-pleasant side effects such as crankiness.

However, fasting can also lead to lowered blood sugar and blood pressure, which leads to dizziness and blackouts.  People with low blood pressure before fasting can experience these problems even just a day after fasting.