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Fasting Risks to Health

Written by Sky Taylor, Diet Bites

Fasting Risks & Side Effects

Fasting or Using Starvation Methods for Losing Weight

There are several steps involved from the moment that fasting (or starving) ensues until it ends - and if it continues, whether purposely to lose weight or unintentionally due to illness or the effects of disease, the result is generally death.

The overweight individual tends to look at their shape in the mirror and see wads or rolls of unsightly fat. If the individual is suffering from anorexia nervosa, even if they are super thin, they may still view a larger than life image in their mirror, or they may be frightened of becoming overweight.

Factually speaking, what the 'true' overweight individual is actually viewing in the mirror is the result of the body storing excess consumed energy (calories) in the adipose tissues of the body.

These storage cells are virtually unlimited as new containers can be created effortlessly by the body when necessary.

And fuel (food, drink equal calories which equals energy or fuel) to the body is a very precious commodity - in fact, the most precious of commodities and it will do anything necessary to harness and preserve the unused energy for future use.

How Long Does it Take to Starve to Death?

On average, the human body can only survive about three weeks on stored fat - and this estimate is based on individuals at their recommended weight.

Three weeks translates into 21 days; if we multiply this by 2000 kcals per day we'll get the sum of 42,000 calories as an overage. Each pound of body weight is based on an overage of 3500 kcals so 42,000 would translate to about 12 pounds of body weight.

Unfortunately, the human body doesn't set a cap on how much weight that we can gain. Simply stated, it can only last about three weeks without energy being input back into the body.

Energy in equals energy necessary to perform, complete and satisfy the vital functions of the body as well as additional activity set forth.

It would be ideal if all that we were able to gain was three weeks worth of spare energy - but that's not the case.

For those who are overweight, they may survive a bit longer than those at their recommended size but even if they have 100 or more pounds of stored energy, they can't last much longer than those three weeks.

If water is eliminated from the diet along with food, the body will have difficulty surviving longer than a handful of days.

The Steps Involved in Fasting

1. The body must keep in tact the red blood cells, the brain cells and remaining central nervous system components so it must work to preserve the glucose dependent tissues of the body.

2. First, it works to deplete the carbohydrate reserves. As blood glucose levels drop the liver creates glucose by breaking down glycogen. The cells of the muscle are triggered to burn fatty acids. Soon, all of the carbohydrate stores are exhausted.

3. Readily available amino acids that are necessary to create glucose and ATP are used next. ATP is adenosine triphosphate, a direct fuel source used by cells to synthesize molecules, transport substances and to contract muscles among other functions.

4. Next, muscle protein is used for survival, but only amid the end-stage of starvation. This is why it's so important not to be too restrictive while dieting because the individual may lose muscle mass. Keep in mind that our most vital organ - the heart, is nothing more than a very large muscle.

The Body's Response to Fasting or Starvation

These are the steps that the body takes in order to preserve life amid fasting:

A. Body temperature is lowered along with blood pressure, resting metabolic rate and pulse rate.

B. Lethargy settles in and the individual feels tired and weak. Without fuel being added to the body, it can't produce enough energy to mobilize.

C. If the individual continues to survive, vitamin deficiencies will start to appear. Stored vitamins such as B and C will become depleted.

D. The limbs of the body along with the abdomen become noticeably swollen due to protein energy malnutrition.

E. In the final stages, severe muscle atrophy and emaciation.

F. Death unless situation is rectified.

In Summary

If you desire a healthier body, the best method to accomplish such is to become good friends with the American Food Pyramid. You'll want to add a healthy dose of activity to your day and balance exercise with relaxation - which includes sleeping, relaxing, a hobby that you enjoy and spiritual enrichment.

The body was designed to take care of itself - evil toxins included. Toying with the natural process can create issues with the body that at times can create permanent damage, including death.

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