Fasting: the most popular methods

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Fasting: the most popular methods

Fasting is a basic element of many religions and is almost as old as mankind itself. The traditional period of fasting for Christians extends over seven weeks, from Ash Wednesday to Easter. Muslim Ramadan is similar to intermittent fasting: from dawn to dusk, solid food is avoided for a month. But not only religious, but also health reasons are motivating more and more people to voluntarily abstain from food.

What is fasting?
Essentially, fasting means voluntarily abstaining from food, drink or stimulants . While fasting in the past was mainly for religious reasons, today there are numerous fasting methods that promise health success. The body should be internally cleaned and detoxified by not eating solid foodand stored water are flushed out. Fasting beginners continue to expect accelerated weight loss through the reduced calorie intake. In fact, many people lose body weight quickly when beginning a fast; however, this is mainly stored water. After returning to a regular diet, most fasters quickly return to their original weight. However, fasting can offer an introduction to a long-term healthy diet through the intensive study of one’s own eating habits. Also, by concentrating on one’s own body, a mediative effect and inner balance should be achieved.

What are the health benefits of fasting?
While it is generally not necessary to forego food as a detoxification measure and even long-term weight loss cannot be achieved in a healthy manner by constantly starving yourself, positive effects have been demonstrated in various areas. Fasting is used in medicine, among other things, as a therapeutic measure for food-related diseases and allergies. The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) continues to confirm a positive influence of controlled fasting phases on the following diseases:

metabolic syndrome
chronic inflammation
chronic cardiovascular diseases
chronic pain conditions
atopic diseases
psychosomatic diseases
Mental well-being is also said to be improved and mood lifted by temporarily abstaining from solid food. Experienced fast-goers even speak of real states of euphoria that are supposed to be triggered by the fasting.

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What are the risks of fasting?
In general, fasting should only be done after consulting a doctor and with expert support. The lack of nutrients due to food restriction can be very stressful for the body and result in circulatory problems such as headaches, tachycardia and dizziness. A longer fasting cure also weakens the immune system and increases the uric acid level in the body, which, in the worst case, promotes bladder and kidney stones and can trigger gout attacks. In general, it is advisable to avoid physical activity during the fasting phase as much as possible. Fasting is not appropriate if any of the following conditions are present:

eating disorder
Diabetes mellitus (diabetes)
Hemophilia (bleeding disease)
thyroid disorders
cancer
circulatory disorders
Pregnant women and children should also be advised not to go without food for long periods of time. In any case, possible health risks should be clarified by a doctor before the start of fasting.

What fasting methods are there?
There are now many different fasting methods. The different approaches vary mainly in the duration of the fasting phases and the permitted foods.

water fasting
The most severe form of fasting, the water or zero fast, eliminates solid foods entirely and replaces them with energy-free foods like water, broth, and unsweetened teas. Since there is no vitamin and mineral supply, the body can only draw on reserves for a limited period of time to compensate for the nutrient deficiency. If you fast for a longer period of time, this can result in circulatory problems, muscle cramps and fatigue. This form of fasting should only be carried out under medical supervision.

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Modified Fasting
In contrast to the zero diet, soups and shakes are fed with an increased protein content . This is to prevent the body’s own protein from being broken down. Personal well-being and performance are significantly better than with the stricter form of fasting. Healthy people can fast in this way for about a week without any problems.

therapeutic fasting
The so-called therapeutic fasting is the most common fasting method and is primarily used to prevent nutrition-related diseases. As a rule, the fasting cures extend over seven to ten days. Is the fasting cure according to Dr. Buchinger practices, easily digestible foods such as natural yoghurt, rice and ripe apples are eaten on off days; otherwise, practitioners only eat liquid foods with a maximum of 500 calories/day. Fruit and vegetable juices are also allowed.

Alkaline fasting, which in alternative medicine is supposed to “deacidify” the body, is not recommended by the DGE experts. The effect of alkaline foods (e.g. vegetables, fruit, high-quality oils), on which the diet is based, has not yet been scientifically proven Furthermore, it could not be proven that “acid-forming foods” such as eggs, milk or cereals have a negative effect on the acid-base balance of the body.

detox fasting
Detox fasting or a detox diet is usually a pure juice fast. These are carried out over a few days. During this time, alkaline-forming foods such as vegetables, fruits, and nuts are consumed with the goal of removing unwanted chemicals and pollutants from the body. After the intestines have been emptied with special tablets (“colon cleansing”), only juices are consumed in addition to plenty of water and tea for a few days. A regulated diet is then reintroduced, first with raw food and vegetable broth, before solid foods againbe consumed. Massages, yoga and visits to the sauna should support the cleansing process. Examples of such detox programs include the Hallejah diet (85% raw food, 15% cooked or cooked food), the Master Cleanse or lemon juice diet, or the diuretic diet.

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Since the liver, kidneys, etc. in healthy people usually “cleanse” the body of toxins themselves, experts believe that “detoxification” of the body makes little sense. According to the DGE, however, detox cures can make it easier to start a healthy diet. Here, too, attention should be paid to the duration of the fasting period. If the diet is maintained for so long that the basal metabolic rate drops, the notorious “yo-yo effect” quickly occurs after returning to a normal diet.

intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting, or intermittent fasting, has become increasingly popular in recent years. Not without reason, as numerous health-promoting effects are attributed to the fasting form. Those who dedicate themselves to intermittent fasting usually do without food for hours and only eat in certain eating phases. Unlike most forms of fasting, intermittent fasting should be maintained permanently and is mainly used to reduce weight. In this regard, the method has proven to be extremely effective. Since this is a relatively new form of dietary change, the number of current studies is still small. A reduced risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes mellitus,

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