Diet Myth or Truth: Fasting Is Effective for Weight Loss
Dangers of Fasting for Weight Loss continued...
Side effects of fasting include dizziness, headaches, low blood sugar,
muscle aches, weakness, and fatigue. Prolonged fasting can lead to
anemia, a weakened immune system, liver and kidney problems, and irregular
heartbeat. Fasting can also result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies, muscle
breakdown, and diarrhea. When you drink laxative concoctions during a fast,
there is an increased risk of fluid imbalance and dehydration.
The risks get more complicated and severe the longer you stay on a fast, or
if you repeatedly go on fasts.
Why You Don’t Need a Detox Diet
It sounds logical that fasting could cleanse your body of harmful substances
that could cause a host of ailments like obesity, fatigue, and headaches. But
there is no scientific evidence that you need to fast to "cleanse" your body or
Your body - specifically, the kidneys, liver, lungs, colon, and skin -- is
perfectly capable of removing toxins itself.
The Truth About Fasting
The bottom line: Nutrition experts agree that fasting is a potentially
dangerous, and not particularly effective, way to lose weight.
Instead of a fast, opt for a healthy eating plan that you can stick with
long-term Healthy diets
provide a minimum of 1,200 calories and include a variety of fruits,
vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean protein, and healthy fats, along
with regular physical activity.
If you are not convinced and want to go on a fast, be sure to consult your
Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, is director of nutrition for WebMD. Her
opinions and conclusions are her own.