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Is Fasting Bad For Health? Doctor Shares Facts Vs Myths, Give Tips For High Blood Sugar Patients

Recently, TV actress and Bigg Boss 7 winner Gauahar Khan had slammed American pop singer Justin Bieber and his wife Hailey Bieber for their comments on fasting during Ramadan or Ramzan. Justin and Hailey were caught laughing over the aspect of fasting during Ramzan, where the ‘Baby’ hitmaker had also said that it “deprives your body of nutrition.” In turn, Gauahar posted the video on her Instagram Stories and wrote in the caption: “Just proves how dumb they are. Only if they knew about the science behind it. And the health benefits from it!” and she went on to slam the couple.

While Gauahar’s jibe made the headlines, there have always been myths associated with fasting. Dr Bir Singh Sehrawat, Director – Gastroenterology, Marengo Asia Hospitals, Faridabad, addresses the issue. “Fasting has been going on for ages and there are multiple instances where fasting is linked with different religions. Basically, fasting has been known to our ancestors, for ages. Sometimes fasting helps and a beneficial form of fasting is intermittent fasting,” he shares. 

Intermittent Fasting: What Are The Benefits

Dr Sehrawat shares that intermittent fasting can be a good thing for people who are trying to lose unhealthy weight. “Fasting is not always as harmful as it’s perceived if done the correct way. For instance, during intermittent fasting, people are advised to have light food in the form of snacks and fruits before they fast for specific hours. The excessive calorie that we have consumed in the form of fried food, sweets, and artificial sweeteners – intermittent fasting can help those extra kilos. It also gives our body a break from a routine system where we are eating sometimes excessively, in excess of our body’s needs. Apart from that, intermittent fasting also helps in detoxifying the body.

Also Read: Sitting Disease: How To Overcome Health Problems Caused By Sedentary Lifestyle – Easy Tips

When Fasting Can Be Dangerous

Dr Sehrawat points out that if any person keeps on fasting without taking intermittent meals, and keep depriving themselves of energy to lose weight, then that can turn harmful. “If you lose weight fast, and shed too many kilos in a short span, that leads to generation of ketones that can damage the body. So while intermittent fasting is good, prolonged fasting, constantly depriving the body of nutrients… that’s bad.”

High Blood Sugar: Fasting And Diabetes

When it comes to whole-day fasting, doctors say that there are some diseases where it is advisable for people not to fast for the whole day. “Those who have diseases of the digestive system – people with diabetes, liver diseases like cirrhosis, people with pancreatic disease – they should avoid fasting the whole day. These are people whose glucose reserve is small, brittle, and variable. So sometimes they can get hypoglycemia – low sugar that has varied symptoms and patients can become unconscious as well. These patients should avoid whole day fast.”

The doctor also suggests that those who have high blood sugar, if they are fasting, should keep checking their blood sugar levels if they feel dizzy and exercise caution.  

Fasting: Dos and Don’ts

Dr Sehrawat suggests the following:

  • Have a calorie-dense breakfast before beginning the fast that will last for a longer period in the day. Include dry fruits.
  • After the fast, when you break it, don’t binge eat. When we fast, our bodies become used to a low-energy state, and the body tries to conserve energy. So in a low-energy state, when we eat too much, especially at night, it can lead to lots of excess calorie generation and the calorie can get deposited in the form of fats in the liver and lead to multiple diseases.

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