Gary Lee Fletcher, L.Ac.
Phy sical Therapy Acupuncture Phy sical Training
340 Kalmia St. San Diego, California 92101 Phone (619)231-0734 Fax (619)231-0734 Email email@example.com
About Fasting and other “Cleansing Programs”
(Including skipping meals to lose fat, not eating, low calorie diets, anorexic tendencies, w ater fasting, fasting on fruit juice and/or vegetable juices, drinking only w ater or herb teas, eating only fruits, “live foods”, etc.)
Fasting is not the wonderful, “cleansing” or “spiritual” thing that the “guru’s” would have you think. Nor is it always bad. Consider how the revamped 1920-style “colon detoxifying programs” have completely been discredited by colonoscopy, letting us actually see that the theory of “impactions” or a “dirty colon” is bogus (you may want to rent the movie “Road to Wellville” starring Anthony Hopkins as Harvey Kellog to see how this bunk all started). Well the same falsehoods have been exposed regarding fasting. It has also been found that even doing short-term “cleansing cycles” can be harmful for some. It involves enough significant risk that it should only be undertaken in consultation with a qualified health care provider. There are many different kinds of fasting. It could mean eating nothing at all, or only eating a little. It can mean drinking only water, or just living on fruits, salads, or juice (which amounts to a carbohydrate-only diet which is particularly bad for women). It can be done for as little as one day or as long as forty or more days.
*IT WILL HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT QUICKLY AND KEEP IT OFF. Why is it that those who are exasperated by their accumulated lard immediately start thinking of fasting, starving themselves, and skipping meals as a solution? How often have you heard of this one working longterm? It’s time to get real! You WILL lose weight, all right, which will bounce back with a vengeance when you start eating your regular diet again. *IT GIVES YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM A REST. This is true, but so what? A “rested” digestive system doesn’t perform better since it doesn’t get “tired”! This is a medical sham. *IT HELPS YOUR BODY “CLEAN OUT” ACCUMULATED “TOXINS”. This is an incredibly common belief. It sure SOUNDS good, but it’s a total medical myth popular with doctors around the turn of the century. This statement means nothing. I always get a kick out of asking people to name the toxins they are trying to cleanse out of their system. *IT SLOWS THE AGING PROCESS. No one knows why chronically underfed lab rats live longer than normal. Does that prove that fasting slows aging in humans? It may very well be true. No one knows for sure. Be aware that one could follow this principle and still (a) eat frequently, and (b) avoid a hypocaloric disaster (eating less than 1000 calories a day…..not recommended!). More evidence seems to show that it is a great way to break your body down, and actually accelerate aging!
SIDE EFFECTS Fasting can be harmful. Even a few days can cause organ damage in some people. It tends to strip muscle from your face, body, and even heart. This can be even more pronounced if you exercise or work hard during your “cleansing diet” or fast (some people think exercise staves off this muscle breakdown....wrong!....it accelerates it). It’s a great way to look like hell (gaunt and catabolized). It is even more disastrous if you try to use fasting to treat diabetes, hypoglycemia, kidney or heart disease, what to speak of the ill effects it has on pregnant or lactating women. If you think that a fruit or vegetable fast will ward off the bad effects of fasting, you are wrong; these foods are really mainly comprised of water and sugar: their nutritional value is not what they are touted. The enzymes and vitamins are really trace when what your body needs are macronutrients (despite what bogus health gurus tell you). Possible side effects also depend on how extensively you fast. Problems can include:
fatigue depression nausea hair loss dry skin heartburn muscle cramps bad breath liver problems loss of sexual energy electrolyte disturbances protein deficiency anemia malabsorption of B12 Some researchers have correlated fasting with increased risk of stomach cancer.
STARVATION IS STARVATION!
The truth is that our mythical beliefs die very hard. Chronic fasters, who are “spiritually superior” have received their information from “on high” and no objective evidence will dissuade them. They think that they are benefiting when they are really tearing themselves down. If you feel like you just have to do it, why not restrict yourself to only a few days of fasting a month? It really turns out that our system thrives on frequent, small feedings of high quality proteins and MODERATE CARBS. Juice, fruit or vegetable fasts are nothing but high carb regimes; even more disastrous for women since it reacts with estrogen to cause bloating, PMS, etc. If you were to fast using only an engineered food like Met-Rx or Designer Protein you would not strip away as much muscle, but what I want you to consider is your total caloric balance....if your nutrient intake is very low (hypocaloric) even while using one of these products (what to speak of the crap the guru sells you), it is still a shock to your system. At least 6 out of every 10 pounds of weight you lose will be muscle, including muscle from your face! Horrible; not healthy OR spiritual! You will be slender alright, but you will look like a concentration camp survivor! Why not learn from me what a proper caloric balance for your goals would be and put a little effort into learning how to meet that, instead of the simple minded deprivation approach? The long term results are worth the effort. Otherwise you will quickly bounce back to your previous state (only with a higher bodyfat percentage when you return to your previous weight since you will have lost muscle) when your fast is over. All that you lost through your “cleanse” was not “toxins” and fat, but skeletal muscle. What a useless yo-yo process to send your body through. IT DOESN’T WORK.