Fasting: Health Benefits And Risks

Long days fasting are usually followed by billions of Muslims around the world at the month of Ramadan.

According to studies, it is beneficial for your body if you fast for one or two days every week. A woman needs 500 calories for a day and a man needs 600 calories for a day.

The benefits of intermittent (short) fasting are –

  • Weight Loss

After around 8 hours after the last meal is consumed, our body is not able to get energy from food, so it starts getting it from glucose which is stored in the liver and muscles.

As soon as, the stored glucose has been used up, the body then begins to burn fat to the source of energy, which will result in weight loss. A study found that using fat for energy will help maintain muscle and reduce cholesterol levels.


  • Helps cancer patients

It has been also found that cancer patients who followed fasting for 3 days before undergoing chemotherapy were shielded against immune system damage which can occur due to the treatment, and resulted in new immune cell generation.

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  • Clears old and damaged immune cells

A research also found that continuous fasting for 2-4 days every week for a 6-month period can destroy the old and damaged immune cells in mice and generate into new ones.


  • Body gets detoxified

Since toxins stored in the form of the body’s fat are dissolved and cleared from the body. This process is known as Detoxification.


  • Other benefits

Strict diet including green leafy vegetables can lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol, improvements insulin sensitivity. However, if you suffer from high Blood pressure problems, you need to ask your doctor about fasting.

A study said that fasting for one day a week of water only might reduce the risk of diabetes.

The health risks of fasting

There are many health risks caused due to long-term fasting.

  • Dehydration

People might experience dehydration, as their body is not getting any fluid from food. People following fasting diets should consume a lot of fluids during fasting periods.


  • Less energetic

People who are fasting might experience an impaired ability to conduct any physical activities.

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  • Increases stress

If you got habituated in fasting, it can raise your stress levels and disrupt your sleep.


  • Leads to heartburn

Lack of food will lower the stomach acid, this destroys bacteria. But if you smell food or even thinking of it during fasting periods, your brain will signal the stomach to produce more acid, leading to heartburn.


  • Headaches

During a fasting period, if you experience dehydration, hunger or shortage in sleep, this can also lead to headaches.


  • Short-term side effects

Short-term side effects of fasting are dizziness, lightheadedness, headaches, low blood pressure, fatigue, and abnormal heart rhythms. Fasting might even not allow our body to absorb certain medications.

Fasting could also worsen certain conditions such as gout or gallstones.


  • Long-Term Side Effects

Long-Term Side Effects of fasting are; it can damage the immune system, it can also harm the body’s organs, such as the liver and kidneys. It can also interfere with vital bodily function.

People who should not follow fasting

Fasting should not be followed by some people who are under the following categories; it will bring a bad impact on your body.

People who should not follow fasting are –

  • People who are underweight
  • People who are already malnourished
  • Children under the age of 18
  • Women who are Pregnant or breastfeeding
  • People who have the eating disorder
  • People with type 1 diabetes
  • People who are under stress
  • People are recovering from surgery

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What things should you avoid while doing fasting?

  • Never do exercise with fasting as you might develop severe hypoglycemia.
  • Do not fast for more than 1-2 days at a time.
  • Avoid Dry Fasting -Never follow dry fasting, this will avoiding all fluid and food intake which necessary for our body and can cause long-term side effects. Plus it is very dangerous.
  • Do not drive a car, for this you need to be physically and mentally alert. It might even lead to an accident.If you feel like fainting or dizziness, stop your fast immediately and drink some water and eat some solid food.
  • Do not work hard or do physical exercise while you are fasting. Therefore, choose the days which are suitable for you. Weekends are the best days for fasting, these are the days when you can rest and relax and do not have to do physical activity.
  • Ask your doctor first, do a health checkup and ask them whether it is “OK” to follow fasting. If they say “NO”, then don’t even think of trying it.

Author: Hiten Patil

Hiten is Content Writer and He write about all platform like health and wellness related blog and other platform as well