By: Mission Healthy Living
May 27, 2019
Fasting is popular on Facebook. Celebrities from Beyoncé to Hugh Jackman are rumored to do it. But why is there such a rise in its popularity? And is it even proven to work?
What is fasting?
Fasting is a process where a person voluntarily abstains from consuming or using something, often food and/or drinks. Fasting can even mean abstaining from things like sleep.
But it’s not a recent trend. In fact, it dates back to ancient history and is part of several religions and cultures, including Islam (during Ramadan).
Assuming you don’t wake up several times to eat, technically you fast every night before you go to bed. That’s where the term “breakfast” comes from, since you’re breaking your fast.
The rage right now is intermittent fasting – a type of fasting diet where the person alternates between periods of fasting and eating. Instead of limiting or controlling the type of food a person eats—like traditional diets—an intermittent fasting diet limits or controls when a person eats. And there are several types of intermittent fasting diets, from time-restricted feeding to alternate day fasting.
What does intermittent fasting do?
The most popular application for fasting is weight loss. It’s also rumored to help with concentration and extending life, preventing Alzheimer’s and insulin resistance, and a host of other claims.
However, according to the National Institute of Aging, we don’t have enough information to know the true benefits or risks of intermittent fasting in humans over the long term. The only clinical trials conducted to look closely at the effects were short and only involved obese people.
If you choose to try any form of fasting, make sure you talk to your doctor first to be sure it presents no health risks based on your personal situation.