Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fasting for Weight Loss: 7 Myths

I've been studying intermittent fasting as a strategy for losing fat while keeping muscle.  One of the best resources I've seen for learning about this is Brad Pilon's Eat Stop Eat program.  Here's one of his articles in which he tackles 7 myths about fasting and weight loss. You may have bought into some of these myths yourself:

7 Myths About Fasting
-Brad Pilon

When people come to the subject of fasting, there's a lot of misinformation and myths surrounding this topic and it can sometimes make it difficult to get to the heart of the matter. Here we're going to take a look at seven of the more long-standing myths that accompany the issue of fasting.

Fasting has been around since time immemorial, and many of the first references to it come from the Bible. They knew even back then the many and varied benefits one can derive from fasting, whether it be for short or longer periods of time. There are many examples from all religions that detail the benefits of fasting from a spiritual perspective, but there are also many other benefits to be realized from a health and wellness standpoint as well. First, let's debunk some myths!

1. Fasting is only a religious activity. 
Not necessarily. Many devoted holistic health practitioners employ some form of fasting into their health regimen, whether it is for cleansing or for weight loss help.

2. You can fast in many ways. 
Partially true, but the spirit of this gets us thinking in the wrong direction. The purpose of a fast isn't to necessarily “fast from chocolate for a day”, but to be part of a well-thought out health plan that emphasizes a total health solution. Many people decide to fast from whatever their latest obsession is, in the hopes that this will somehow help.

3. Juice fasting is a great way to go. 
I would take issue with this. To me this isn't really a fast, just another fad diet trick. The increased amounts of natural sugars can cause spikes in insulin, which in the absence of other foods being ingested can bring on other unwanted side effects.

4. Long-term fasting can rid the body of toxins. 
Not true. Long term fasting can deplete the body of many, many necessary and vital nutrients, and bring on a host of associated problems due to the body's inability to fight off anything. There is a reason people die from long term fasts.

5. Political fasting is a viable way to make a point. 
Doing a prolonged fast for a political cause is one of the worst ways to make a point. Short, one or two day fasts are sufficient, but probably don't have the sensational aspect political believers seek.

6. Fasting is only for medical purposes. 
Not true. While there are valid medical reasons when a fast is recommended, such as before surgery or blood tests, there are other useful benefits of fasting.

7. Fasting is way too hard. 
Again, not true! A one or two day fast can be accomplished with no problem by almost anyone.

Fasting can be a useful tool to aid in a total health plan. Done correctly there are virtually none of the popular “side effects” such as light-headedness or weakness. Make sure to not be derailed by fears and myths and you'll find that fasting can in fact be a great help!

About the Author:

Brad Pilon is a nutrition professional with over eight years experience working in the nutritional supplement industry specializing in clinical research management and new product development. Brad has completed graduate studies in nutritional sciences specializing in the use of short term fasting for weight loss.

His trademarked book Eat Stop Eat has been featured on national television and helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat without sacrificing the foods they love. For more information just visit Eat Stop Eat.

Note:  You can read my review of his program here: Eat Stop Eat Review


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