Tips for Safe Fasting
To promote fossil fuel alternatives, one vehicle is making a transcontinental drive powered by French fry grease. The human body’s engine is similarly designed to run on a fuel other than food. It can run on body fat. Whenever this metabolic engine runs on body fat, be it for medical, spiritual, political, or shortage reasons, we call it fasting.
One might expect the body to burn body fat quickly as the name fast implies. Unfortunately, fat loss is usually not quick. Furthermore, many people make mistakes which slow body fat burning and can also be unsafe. The guidelines below are intended to promote safe and effective fasting.
Be slow when fasting. Don’t expect the French fry car described above to zoom past you, since alternative fuel sources generally burn more slowly. Likewise, converting body fat into fuel takes longer than converting food into fuel. Therefore, fasting during exams, athletic events or emotionally stressful events decreases performance. Worse, the stress hormones made by the body during times of physical and mental stress, encourage muscle burning rather than fat burning. Instead of losing fat, fast fasters lose muscle.
Know if you are fasting. What sets fasting apart from other forms of going without food is that it is elective, right? Curiously many of my patients don’t realize they are fasting. They routinely skip breakfast. As the name of the meal suggests, it is intended to break the nighttime fast. Routinely skipping breakfast slows the metabolism, making the body less able to burn fat and build muscle.
Get enough engine coolant. The French fry car would be stranded alongside the road with the hood up if it didn’t use an engine coolant. Our metabolism is no different. We need to cool down with water. People with more body fat need to drink more water to act as a muscle cell coolant. Many of us even pay more for a gallon of our favorite drinking water than we do for gas. Metabolically speaking, the money is well spent.
Choose healthier foods than French fry grease. Body fat was once food. If it was junky food, it will make junky fuel. Many aches and illnesses experienced while fasting could be considered knocking in the metabolic engine. Protect the body with antioxidants such as lemon water, vitamin C and magnesium (500mg daily) while fasting. Eat a healthy diet when not fasting.
Get a metabolic tune-up. Anyone with insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance or triglycerides over 150 has an impaired engine. Even if these people slow down to fast, eat breakfast, drink water and eat antioxidants, their fast will burn muscle. Medical nutrition specializes in helping such people regain the ability to burn fat and to fast safely.
There’s nothing fast about fasting.