Categorized | Diet & Nutrition

The Differences Between Fasting and a Low-Calorie Diet

Many people go for a low-calorie diet to lose weight.

You can’t blame them. After all, after years of abuse, their bodies may have become loaded with toxins, which contribute to not only ill health, but also overweight. The United States is a nation with obesity problem. In a futile attempt to address the obesity problem, many individuals go on fad diets – some even starve themselves – to lose weight. Starving oneself is perhaps too drastic an attempt to lose weight.

Maybe the less extreme measure to lose weight is to choose one of the meal-plan diet systems, all touted to give you convenience and guaranteed weight loss within weeks. As a matter of fact, one of my friends joined one of those programs, catered for those who wish to lose weight without too much fuss, and touted to make participants lose weight – at least 20 to 30 pounds within weeks. According to my friend, the food was healthy and appetizing. However, the portions were miserably small, so small that she had to eat two – and sometimes even three – portions for one meal in order to satisfy her hunger. Maybe you don’t want to know the rest of the story. Eventually, she gave up on the program and ended up with more weight gain than before.

Isn’t that typical of a low-calorie diet? You eat less, and you feel hungry, so you eat more, and end up gaining more.

The moral lesson here is: Starving yourself does not help you lose weight. Eating a little “less” may help with your weight loss, but eating “not enough” may have the opposite result, which is ultimate weight gain.

Is fasting any different from a low-calorie diet?

First of all, fasting and starvation are not the same. Fasting is a natural way of abstaining from food and drink, except water, for an extended period. Fasting can last between a day to several weeks, depending on the constitution of an individual. Fasting is internal cleansing at its best. It involves dislodging your body toxins and waste products from your cells and joints, and transporting them from your body for ultimate removal. Fasting makes you younger and healthier for longer by giving you clear and clean skin. Fasting makes you healthier for longer through disease prevention. Above all, it enhances your body metabolism rate, thereby instrumental in controlling and managing your weight. However, it must be pointed out that fasting does not contribute to weight loss (just as starvation cannot make you lose weight), because the extra pounds you lose during a fast or starvation, for that matter, may well be gained back once you resume eating. The initial weight loss in any diet or program is due to the loss of water, not fat.

Having said that, fasting is still ideal in controlling and managing weight because it is different from starvation in that fasting changes the chemistry in your body and improves your metabolism rate, while starvation damages it. Your metabolism rate plays a pivotal role in long-term weight control. This is the essential difference between fasting and starvation.

People who go on a regular fast usually eat naturally and normally. They get all the nutrients from their everyday diet. Occasionally, they fast just to get their bodies cleansed and detoxified.

A low-calorie diet, on the other hand, is more or less starvation. You need some 2,000 calories a day to keep you young and healthy. Anything short of that may lead to nutrient deficiency and even eating disorders. As with many fad diets, a too-low calorie diet plays havoc with your metabolism rate, causing it to malfunction, such that even when you eat less, you still gain more.

Eat normally and naturally. Your ancestors never went on a diet, so why should you? Starvation is not the answer to obesity problem.

Copyright (c) 2009 Stephen Lau

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