Is that detox really helping your system, or is it setting you up for more damage?
Some say that as humans, we’re designed to fast. Heck, we do it every night, going to sleep. But we’re also designed to eat and drink and if we don’t, the consequences are dire.
So is voluntarily abstaining from eating and drinking food for a few days good for you? Many people fast occasionally for religious reasons, and some for better health. There are those who claim if you don’t eat or drink liquids and perform a ‘detox cleanse’, it gives your digestive system a chance to rid itself of toxins and take a rest.
This could be the case. Many people swear by it. There is, unfortunately however, little scientific evidence to support these claims, and whether it’s a good idea to briefly starve yourself or not is debatable.
Here are the facts. Fasting has a few stages to it. If you abstain from taking in any food or drink for one to five days, your body will first use up the stores of food that remain in your system. This takes about 6 hours.
Following this, it will turn to glycogen stores and begin swallowing these up for energy.
(Remember, please don’t do this without your doctor’s supervision! Humans can’t go more than a few days without water, and food is risky, too).
If you fast for three or more days, known as a ‘water’ or ‘juice fast’ because you need to be drinking liquids to stay alive, you enter into the ketosis stage. Once you hit this, your body turns to its fat for energy to run your brain. Some sources say this happens on the third day of a water fast, and somewhere between days 4 and 7 if you’re on a juice fast.
Of course, there are some things to be wary of: if you do perform a ‘cleanse’ regularly, you could be depriving your body of essential nutrients. And you’ll most definitely send your metabolism in a tailspin.
If you’re obese or overweight, you need to be extra careful when fasting as it can lead to severe weakness in your muscles, and cause damage to your heart.
Consult your doctor and find the safest way to achieve the results you’re looking for.