Sunday, May 4, 2014

Fasting & Weight Loss

Fasting diets include Master Cleanse, juicing and other detoxification diets and cause rapid weight loss. According to, you can lose between 30 to 40 pounds on a 30-day juice fast. The major claim of fasting supporters is that this process removes toxins from the body, increases energy and improves overall health. Rapid weight loss is appealing, but you may not achieve permanent weight loss without a healthy diet.

Master Cleanse

    Humans have fasted for thousands of years. Muslim, Christians and Jews fast for spiritual reasons during certain times of year. In the 20th century, fasting became in vogue as a way to lose weight quickly. "Master Cleanse," created in the 1940s, is a restrictive diet that requires drinking a concoction of lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper six to 12 times a day without eating food. Dr. Andrew Weil of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the College of Medicine says Master Cleanse's original purpose was an ulcer treatment. In the 1970s, the book "The Master Cleanse" by Stanley Burroughs documented the fasting plan as a weight loss solution.

Juicing Fasts

    In the 1990s, juice fasting became popular as a cure-all for obesity, aging, chronic diseases and cancer. Juicing consists of taking raw fresh fruits and vegetables and extracting the juices from them using a juicer. The American Cancer Society says juicing practitioners believe that juice fasts enhance the immune system and return balance to the body's cell composition.

Side Effects

    Side effects of fasting for weight loss include lightheadedness, headaches, low blood sugar, anemia and irregular heartbeat. Dr. Michael Picco of the Mayo Clinic says detox dieters claim to feel more energetic and focused during and after their diets; however, this may be a psychological reaction because you think that calorie restriction is good for your body. You should not attempt extreme calorie restrictive diets like detoxifications and fasting without medical supervision because of potential side effects.


    Fasting for weight loss causes rapid weight loss but wreaks havoc on your metabolism. The body goes into starvation mode as a way to preserve its protective fat. Family Education website says the body burns fat slower to survive longer and increases its fat stores, prompting the yo-yo dieting effect. Dr. Weil says Master Cleanse produces the same effect, making it hard for you to lose weight later and more likely that you will regain pounds lost once you resume normal eating.


    Fasting diets do not produce long-term weight loss results. The best way to attain permanent weight loss is eating a balanced diet and exercising---at least five days of aerobic activity and two or three days of strength training. The U.S. National Library of Medicine says you should eat about 1,500 calories per day. This diet should consist of fruits and vegetables, lean protein and whole grains.


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