Additionally, alternate-day fasting and whole-day fasting have been shown to not only reduce body fat but also total cholesterol and triglycerides in both overweight and normal-weight people, according to a study analysis in Nutrition Reviews. Because intermittent fasting can stabilize insulin levels—if you don’t eat, your blood sugar will come down—there’s reason to believe it could be a good diet for people with Type 2 diabetes, Varady adds. Research also suggests that intermittent fasting may even help prevent Alzheimer’s and cancer, adds Fung.
Medical supervision is recommended for any fast over three days. Most alternative medicine practitioners, such as homeopaths, naturopathic doctors, and ayurvedic doctors, can supervise and monitor patients during fasts. Those performing extended fasts and those with health conditions may require blood, urine, and other tests during fasting. There are many alternative health clinics that perform medically supervised fasts as well. Some conventional medical doctors may also supervise patients during fasts. Costs and insurance coverage vary, depending on the doctor, clinic, and requirements of the patient.
The problem is that too many people jump on the fasting bandwagon without understanding how to assess its impact. Once a plan has been integrated into your everyday life, you should take time every week or month to analyze how things are going. Even if weight loss is your primary goal, it’s important to consider how fasting is affecting other aspects of your health, such as your energy levels, ability to exercise and digestion. Here are some questions you should ask yourself.
Although certain benefits of caloric restriction have been demonstrated in animal studies, similar benefits of intermittent fasting in humans have not been observed. It is unclear that intermittent fasting is superior to other weight loss methods in regards to amount of weight loss, biological changes, compliance rates, and decreased appetite. Certain people who typically eat one or two meals a day or do not eat for long stretches of time may show better compliance with this type of regimen.
Embrace a healthy body image. Reject the dualistic way of thinking about people’s bodies that’s so popular in our culture. Your body and spirit aren’t two separate entities; they’re united as one whole. When you understand the profound connections between your body and spirit, it will become natural for you to respond to spiritual experiences by doing something physical like fasting.