Fasting is defined as a temporary abstinence from food and implies a severe restriction of calories. Completely abstaining from food is impossible over the long term, of course, so most fasts are really very-low-calorie diets.
Although calorie intake is greatly reduced in these diets, the loss of body fat is slowed because the body decreases its metabolic rate. This reduction in body-fat loss is camouflaged by the accelerated loss of salt and water. The breakdown of muscle protein brought about by a carbohydrate deficiency is another factor that plays a role in the failure to lose more body fat.
Like the other diets that base their weight losses on limiting carbohydrates, fasting produces quick and impressive results. But these weight losses are accompanied by the possibility of developing hypoglycemia and, if ketone production continues for an extended time, developing ketoacidosis, a serious condition that can lead to coma or even death, if left unchecked.
Weight loss from fasting is only temporary. After all, the body works to maintain balance. Water and muscle protein are replaced once the fasting stops. Consequently, the amount of body fat lost will not be much different from what would be lost on a conventional low-calorie diet, but the price paid in discomfort will certainly be much greater.
There are many diets out there, but only some of them are safe. You have to determine the one that's right for you. With the information in this article, you’ll be able to pick a diet that lets you lose weight and keep it off.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adrienne Forman, M.S., R.D., is a consultant and freelance writer, specializing in nutrition and health communications. She is the editor of Shape Up America! newsletter, an online publication, and has been a contributing editor of Environmental Nutrition newsletter for the past 14 years. Adrienne is a former Senior Nutritionist at Weight Watchers International, where she was instrumental in creating multiple weight-loss programs, including their popular Points® program.