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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Intermittent Fasting arrow Is Fasting Healthy And How Does It Work?

Is Fasting Healthy And How Does It Work?

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: October 15, 2023
6 min read 1467 Views 0 Comments
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Fasting is a very popular method of weight loss, but is it actually good for your body? In this article, we take a look at how fasting works, how it can benefit your body, and if it is a safe method of weight loss. Check it out now.

Is fasting healthy

When we talk about intermittent fasting, it’s usually to extol the health benefits of this incredible weight loss method. With so many success stories, it’s hard to believe that fasting might not be healthy.

Fasting is a natural part of healthy living. Indeed, every time we go to sleep, we induce a natural fasting state. Intermittent fasting uses this time and sometimes extends this fasting period by quite a lot to aid weight reduction and boost the health benefits of this state. But is it healthy?

In this article, we’re going to take a look at fasting, how it works for weight loss, and whether or not it is actually a healthy method of weight reduction. Keep reading to learn more now.

Is Fasting Healthy?

Intermittent fasting is thought generally safe for most people, supports healthy and sustainable weight loss, and comes with many benefits. It is, therefore, considered a healthy method of weight reduction.

Losing weight, especially if you are overweight, is considered good for your health. Weight loss comes with many benefits, including reducing your risk of heart conditions, like heart disease and angina, as well as reducing cholesterol levels, joint and back problems, and fertility issues.

Fasting is thought to come with other health benefits too. It is thought to reduce chronic inflammation in the body, which can, in turn, reduce your risk of developing conditions like arthritis, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and asthma.

Additionally, intermittent fasting may improve memory and cognitive function, promote heart health, reduce insulin resistance and improve blood sugar control, and increase autophagy.

What are the intermittent fasting types?

There are many different styles of intermittent fasting, with most of them following a pattern of time-restricted eating. Styles include alternate day fasting, the 16:8 method, and the Warrior Diet. One of the most attractive features of this diet is that it is incredibly versatile, with so many different styles, meaning you can pick a weight reduction pattern that suits you and your lifestyle.

With its positive effects on healthy weight loss and other health conditions, intermittent fasting is generally considered a safe and healthy dieting approach.

How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

Intermittent fasting is usually a time-restricted feeding pattern that involves fasting periods and eating periods. The 12-hour fast is the least challenging form of fasting and is usually recommended as a starting point. A typical day for someone on the 12-hour fast would look like this: stop eating at 8 PM and begin your fast. Fast for 12 hours until 8 AM the following morning when you break your fast and eat breakfast.

The same approach is taken with the 14:10, 16:8, 18:6, and 20:4 methods, with the fasting and eating hours altering each time slightly. Non-time-restricted patterns of IF include the 5:2 method. This method involves fasting for 2 of 7 days each week.

Intermittent fasting works for weight reduction in a few ways. To begin with, it forces a calorie restriction by limiting the amount of time you have to eat. If you are only allowed to eat for 10 hours each day, you will naturally eat considerably less than you would if you were to eat for 16 hours each day.

Limiting calorie intake allows you to eat at a calorie deficit which is the only proven way you can successfully and sustainably lose weight. Eating at a calorie deficit means consuming fewer calories than you burn each day. You can burn more calories each day through exercise, like a daily run.

Though IF doesn’t limit what you can eat, but rather when you can eat, research suggests that eating healthy foods during your eating hours is better for your overall health.

Fasting for weight loss is also useful for elevated fat metabolism. This is because fasting for long periods causes your body to make the metabolic switch to ketosis. Ketosis is the state in which your body burns fat for fuel rather than blood sugar.

Ketosis is usually achieved after around 12 hours of fasting. So, choosing a fasting method with longer fasting periods may be better for overall fat loss.

What Does Intermittent Fasting Do?

Along with its efficacy as a weight loss tool, intermittent fasting has a lot of other benefits inside the body. To begin with, it increases autophagy in cells which can help reduce the risk of a number of conditions and even slow the aging process.

Autophagy is the process by which cells are recycled, broken down, and replaced. This cell regeneration slows as we grow older, and a number of health problems can be linked to reduced autophagy. Long periods of fasting are thought to extend it, so methods of fasting, like the 36-hour fast, may be beneficial if this is your goal.

Fasting is thought to reduce the risk of many conditions. It is thought that its anti-inflammatory effects can help reduce chronic inflammation and oxidative stress in the body. Both of these markers can be linked to chronic conditions, including neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, and allergies.

IF could also improve heart health by reducing biomarkers of poor heart health. Fasting is thought to reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglyceride levels. At elevated levels, all of these biomarkers could indicate heart disease and other cardiovascular problems.

Lastly, IF may be able to reduce the risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes by improving blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity. Long periods of fasting lead to much-lowered blood glucose levels, which are thought to reduce insulin resistance and improve the management of blood glucose levels.

Does Fasting Detoxify the Body?

There isn’t any scientific evidence that supports the claim that fasting detoxifies the body. In fact, the body has such a good process of detoxification itself that it rarely needs help to detoxify anyway. The liver and kidneys are designed to function as natural detoxifiers, helping to keep the body clean and healthy.

The best ways to naturally detoxify the body are to stay hydrated, allow the body to flush out toxins through the kidneys, eat healthy and nutrient-dense foods and avoid refined and processed foods.

The body is built to naturally detoxify itself. The liver and kidneys remove and flush out toxins, turning them into urine which you expel from your body every time you go to the toilet. Many of the detox methods and products you will find on the market don’t really have any effect on the process, and some may actually be unsafe.

While juice cleanses may increase your nutrient intake, and hydration and fasting can help you lose weight and boost overall health, neither is going to do a better job of detoxifying than the body already does itself.

How to Fast to Lose Weight?

The intermittent fasting eating plan is a great way to reduce your daily calorie intake and improve weight management. There are many ways to fast to lose weight because there are many methods of fasting.

Fasting for weight loss is very popular among those who have struggled with other dieting methods as it allows you to eat what you want and restricts the time you eat instead. That being said, during eating periods or on non-fasting days, it is best to still eat healthily.

One of the most popular IF methods is the 16:8 method which allows for an eight-hour window of eating. However, you should choose a method that suits your lifestyle.

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If you’ve been looking into fasting and don’t know where to begin, you could take a look at some fasting apps to help you. The DoFasting app provides a space for you to learn about and understand your chosen fasting method and helps you to track your calories and progress.

You’ll find thousands of fasting-friendly recipes and workouts on the app, as well as support and information for the different mechanisms of fasting. It also has a handy alarm to remind you when to start and stop fasting, just in case you forget!


How long is it safe to fast?

For those new to fasting, it is best to keep fasting periods under 24 hours. However, some extended fasting methods go up to a 36-hour fast. It is important to listen to your body and stop fasting if you feel unwell.

How often should you fast?

The number of fasts you do each week depends on the style of IF. On the 5:2 method, for example, you only fast twice a week, and it is recommended that you only undertake a 24-hour fast once a week. However, other methods like 18:6 require you to fast every day.

Can eating too little cause weight gain?

You cannot gain weight from eating too few calories each day. However, it is important that you eat enough to sustain your body and only lose a healthy amount of weight each month. If you lose too much weight, you may put it back on quickly once you go back to normal eating.

A Word From Our Nutritionist

Fasting is a popular method of losing weight as it forces a caloric restriction and pushes the body to burn stored fat. It also comes with a range of well-documented benefits, including anti-inflammatory effects, reducing blood pressure and cholesterol, and increasing cognitive function.

There are many different methods of IF, including methods where you fast and eat on the same day, like the 12-hour fast and 16:8 method, and methods where you fast for whole days, like alternate-day fasting and the 5:2 method.

Fasting is a versatile dieting method and can suit a range of lifestyles. Even though some methods allow just a few hours for eating, they can easily be fit around social interactions and work.

Fasting is considered a healthy method of weight loss and is thought beneficial for a range of illnesses, including digestive system conditions, high blood pressure, and obesity. However, there are some people who should not try fasting.

People who should not try fasting include those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, anyone with a history of eating disorders, and people who are taking certain medications that could be interrupted by fasting. For this reason, it is always best to speak with wellness professionals before embarking on a new method of weight reduction.


Fasting is considered a safe, healthy weight loss approach. It helps people reduce their weight and body fat as well as comes with a ton of other benefits for the body. These benefits include increased autophagy, reduced inflammation, and better blood glucose control.

If you’re thinking about starting fasting, why not check out the DoFasting app to help you on your way to weight loss?

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: October 15, 2023
6 min read 1467 Views 0 Comments

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