By Liam Heffernan, June 12, 2019
Most restaurant menus would suggest that the average adult needs approximately two thousand calories per day, in order to make sure that they have an adequate amount of energy.
However, that’s not to say that you should expect to starve to death if you don;t meet that two thousand calorie quota in a single day.
In fact, not eating anything for a period of 24 hours is actually a common practice as part of intermittent fasting.
Typically speaking, during a 24 hour fast the person who is fasting only consumes calorie free beverages; most commonly this limits their options during the fast to simply water.
Once 24 hours have passed without any caloric intake the person fasting can go back to their regularly scheduled meal plan until it’s time for them to begin the next fast.
Apart from fasting as a way to practice certain cultural and religious traditions, some people turn to intermittent fasting as a means of losing weight, as well as to potentially improve certain functions pertaining to the body such as providing a boost to the body’s metabolism or cardiovascular health.
The practice of intermittent fasting is safe enough that individuals can expect to fast once or twice a week without experiencing any unwanted results or side effects.
Of course, for many people, intermittent fasting may be easier said than done. While this technique may be easier and more effective than simply counting calories for some, a calorie deficit is sure to affect someone’s mood, and there’s not much to be done about the feelings of hunger that naturally occur when someone goes for a reasonably lengthy period without eating.
It is also possible that you may have preexisting health complications or conditions which could be seen as incompatible with intermittent fasting, and may even cause fasting to be dangerous for you to attempt.
If you plan on working a couple 24 hour fasting periods into your average weight loss routine, be sure to consult with a doctor first to make sure that there is nothing in the way of you reaching those weight loss goals via an intermittent fast.
After all, while keeping your weight at a healthy and manageable level is important, it should never get in the way of or impair your overall health and safety; in other words, it’s always good to know your limits.
You’re probably wondering what sort of physical effects an intermittent fast can potentially have on your body.
During an intermittent fast, it will take a while for your body to realize that you are deliberately withholding calories from it.
In fact, chances are you will be well into a 24 hour fast before your body even registers the fact that you’re fasting. Part of this is because the digestive process is somewhat lengthy one, meaning that for the first eight hours of your fast or so, your body will still be busy digesting the last intake of food that you ingested prior to beginning the fast.
Since your body does not yet realize that it’s entered a fast, it will continue to use the stored glucose from your most recent meal with little to no difference in the usual digestive process.
If you end up fasting for a period which lasts longer than the standard 24 hours of an intermittent fast, your body may begin to start turning to the proteins stored within it as an alternative source of energy to replace its depleted reserves of glucose instead.
Ultimately, however, as long as you don’t have a tendency to overdo it when it comes to fasting, there should be no lasting physical or health-related problems, assuming you cleared everything with a medical professional as we previously mentioned.
So now that you know the what and the how of an intermittent fast, the next question you will probably want to be answered is the why.
More specifically: why should you consider fasting over a 24 hour period, and what kinds of benefits can you potentially expect from doing so?
Well as it turns out, there are a number of beneficial health reasons why a person might want to try dabbling in the occasional intermittent fast.
For starters, an occasional 24 hour fast can potentially help you lose weight and shed off a few extra pounds. Not only does fasting mean that you’re putting a bottleneck on your calorie intake, it also means that the restricted amount of energy might cause your metabolism to kick into high gear, causing you to burn calories at a faster rate.
Fasting may also help you manage your cholesterol and blood sugar levels, thus lowering the risk factors associated with conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
If that wasn’t enough fasting may also reduce inflammation in the body as well as reduce the risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
As we said before, there are also certain potential side effects and complications that can arise from fasting that you may want to take into consideration before you start.
As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid fasting for any period of time that lasts longer than a full 24 hours; you should also avoid fasting more than twice per week, as longer periods may increase your risk of conditions such as hypoglycemia or heart arrhythmias.
Additionally, you should avoid fasting if you happen to be currently struggling with an eating disorder, or if you have type 1 diabetes, are pregnant or breastfeeding, under the age of 18 years old or in the process of recovering from surgery.
If you do decide to start a fast, you should also make sure to drink plenty of water in order to give your body something to work with during these periods without any calories.
Water provides a number of benefits to your body, including assisting your digestive system, temperature regulation, joint function and overall energy levels. So now’s the time for a question: with all the pros and cons of fasting laid out on the table, would ever consider taking an intermittent fast at some point in the future?