News : Therapeutic fasting: what it is and how you should take it
There is practically no topic related to nutrition that is not controversial, and the same is true with therapeutic fasting. Anything that we took for granted is questioned and reviewed, because that is precisely what the scientific community must do.
The question of fasting has gained weight in recent yearsyes, probably by the heated debate that it generates between defenders and detractors. And as much as we like to comment on what we do not know, that too.
To try to shed light, experts such as Pablo Saz Peiró or Damien Carbonnier have published books in which they exhaustively analyze what happens in your body when you fast, and why it can bring you benefits.
What is fasting
Dr. David López Heras, family doctor, has shared the result of your bibliographic consultation on your blog about medicine and health. Define, first of all, what fasting is: the period of time we spend without eating throughout the day, which normally goes from dinner to breakfast.
You have to identify two states: on the one hand, the intake, digestion, anabolism and accumulation; for the other, the elimination, use of accumulation, catabolism and cleaning.
The state of intake usually coincides with the hours of daylight, and the process from its absorption until it passes into the cells takes between four to six hours. When we get hungry, it is because the cycle change occurs.
In the elimination state we stop absorbing nutrients and the body uses the energy stored in the reserves, therefore fasting is important to maintain a proper balance. In addition, toxins that can accumulate in adipose tissue are eliminated.
Although this exposition is simplified, because the body carries out cleaning processes continuously, it does dedicate more resources to the intake than to the elimination. However, there are studies showing the benefits of eat less food and lengthen fasting periods for 10 to 12 hours.
It is calculated that in a normal diet, configured according to the prevailing pattern, the actual fast does not exceed four or five hours. And it is that a habitual dinner in Spain takes place around 10 p.m., so that the body finishes its digestion between 2 and 4 in the morning and it doesn’t take many hours until breakfast.
What is therapeutic fasting
Based on the above, therapeutic fasting is what is supervised by some medical authority. Based on the benefits it has for health, there are public and private institutions that have been organized to provide services to patients.
An example is Miayuno.es, a company founded by Damien Carbonnier which, according to Explain a Conasi, it is endorsed by European Union countries such as Germany, becoming covered by Social Security and operating in public hospitals in Berlin or Munich.
Can be configured in different ways. From Miayuno.es they advise a type that, they say, is the most supported by health professionals: the therapeutic fasting Buchinger. It is also known as the hygienist fast.
This proposes a contribution of 250 calories in the morning, either with juices, water or infusions. At night he offers a vegetable broth, and during the day physical activity is carried out. All this clear, properly supervised.
This type of practice is supported by works such as that of Yoshinori Ohsumi, Nobel Prize in Medicine that addresses the genetic mechanisms of autophagy.
It is a regenerative process that our body performs, through which cells get rid of damaged proteins, organelles and organelles using lysosomes. Nutrition experts defend that the process can be induced naturally through fasting.
What are the benefits of fasting
The health benefits of fasting are he hasn addressed in a scientific article published in The New England Journal of Medicine, which has been in charge of Mark Mattson. He is a Professor of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University, and has been studying the health impact of intermittent fasting for 25 years.
We summarize them:
- Supports cellular health. This has been shown by studies in animals and some humans, which is probably due to our ancient adaptation to periods of food shortage.
- Improves blood sugar regulation.
- Increases resistance to stress.
- Eliminate inflammation.
- Lowers blood pressure. This benefit, along with a decrease in blood lipid levels and heart rate, has been shown by four studies in animals and people, according to Mattson.
- It can modify the risk factors for obesity and diabetes.
- It is more effective in reducing belly fat.
- It could benefit brain health, although more research is needed on this.
Can you fast at home?
The psychologist and nutritional technician Alejandro Vera believe that can be done at home as long as recommended and supervised by a healthcare professional.
Damien Carbonnier pronounces himself along the same lines, which makes sense if we consider that his company is dedicated to guiding patients who undertake therapeutic fasting.
Dr. López Heras, for his part, is in favor of eating fewer times a day of the five recommended and leave more space at the end of the day and the whole night for fasting. There are scientific studies that support the suitability of a fast of between 10 and 12 hours, the doctor affirms that it is completely safe.
If you think that you cannot go so many hours without eating because the feeling of hunger would end up creating weakness and anxiety, you can start with one detox diet.
In short, and to close this point: yes, you can fast at home. Another thing is therapeutic fasting and, in both cases, the recommendation and supervision of a professional is essential.
How to do therapeutic fasting step by step
It is usually configured in different ways, as we have said. Intermittent fasting is very common in two modalities: daily feeding with certain hours of fasting and the call 5: 2, in which people limit themselves to moderate food consumption two days a week.
We are not going to give you a specific guideline on how you should proceed with your fast because we do not consider this to be the site appropriate to provide you with that information. We insist: ask and let yourself be carried away by a doctor.
What we can do after our bibliographic consultations is tell you what professionals do.
1.for three days
Three days in an ideal time period to start fasting or a cleansing diet. I know poses in this way:
- Breakfast based on freshly blended juice.
- Hiking trails of more than one hour a day.
- Dinner based on vegetable broths, without the vegetables.
During the day you can also consume infusions. If you don’t just opt for water, as they do in some cases, it is because with the ingested liquids you get vitamins and minerals that help in the detoxification process.
If they propose physical exercise and not rest, it is because fasting sports helps the body to oxygenate and uses fat as an energy source. In addition, it is activated from sweating to reinforce the cleaning process.
An intermediate option is detox semi-fast version which would act more like so-called detox diets. In this case, a meal based on salad and cream is made, then it can also be a good introduction.
There are companies that are taking advantage of the benefits of fasting to propose retreats with professionals who guide the process. They propose weekend stays in a rural house in which, in addition to the nutritional plan and sports activities, attendees also participate in conferences and workshops.
2. For 13 days
If withdrawals gain weight, it is for two reasons: one, because the idea of supervision is insisted upon; and two, because it is more difficult to fast with the refrigerator and pantry at hand, even more so if you have to cook for the rest of the family.
The therapeutic fasts outside the home They include the stay, medical supervision, preparatory and subsequent diet plan, physical and leisure activities, talks and other services such as talks, cooking courses or massages.
What if you want to do at home? The program will be reviewed by a professional and will consist of the following:
- Start: balance of health status with form and validation of physical condition with a professional.
- First four days: pre-breakfast. The person who undergoes the fast receives all the information on how the preparation should be, having access to recipes and other useful information.
- Next six days. The fasts are based on the intake of juices and vegetable broths in the morning and in the evening. You can perform gentle exercise, especially disciplines such as yoga or Pilates that help the mind-body connection. Stretching and meditation are other options.
- Last two days: confirmation of new habits.
As we say, these types of specific programs, whether done outside or at home, include exhaustive monitoring and a lot of information in the form of workshops, talks and access to groups. private online.
Do you want to try fasting without putting yourself in professional hands or signing up for any of these programs? Then the best thing is that you opt for something that does not involve any risk.
As Dr. López Heras points out, 12-hour fasting is safeThe longer the duration and intensity of the fast, the greater the risks. Of course, it would be necessary to assess in case of any pathology.
What it is, then, is let the body rest from ingested for the necessary hours, and not the four or five hours that you are probably currently providing.
If we take into account that digestion can continue for six hours or more, the ideal is to advance dinner as much as possible, even suppress it. At least, the current version of solid and more or less forceful dinners at 10pm.
Assuming the idea of eating fewer meals a day than the current five as valid, snack time could be dinner time. In fact, it is the custom in other European countries, dinner around 6pm. If breakfast time is also delayed, you would ensure those 10-12 hours of daily fasting without putting your health at risk.
Ultimately, fasting has proven benefits and, based on scientific evidence, professionally supervised therapeutic fasting programs have been created. Whether through retreats or at home, it is important to have the guidance of a specialist.