06 Mar The benefits of fasting
Fasting seems a little bit old fashioned nowadays? That’s right, the ancient Egyptians started the tradition long ago by fasting on a regular basis. Today, the main motivation for doing without meat, fish or alcohol between Ash Wednesday and Easter comes more and more rarely from religious beliefs. Why does abstaining certain foods for a restricted period of time still make sense then?
Trend with tradition
The German doctor Otto Buchinger is regarded as the founder of Therapeutic Fasting. This kind of fasting focuses on health benefits, not only on spiritual aspects of abstinence. The holistic approach of Buchinger’s method has been in use until this very day in the clinic for Therapeutic Fasting in Bad Pyrmont. The goal of a treatment is an improvement in the state of health as well as spiritual and physical wellbeing. However, the purpose of Therapeutic Fasting is not weight loss, explains Dr Verena Buchinger-Kähler, medical director of the Buchinger Clinic in Bad Pyrmont.
The difference between fasting and diet
A diet is a persistent shift of eating habits. A diet usually aims to promote weight loss by reducing calorie intake. Over time, the body gets used to the lack of calories and adapts to the new circumstances. Thus, the basal metabolism rate decreases and the result is a yo-yo effect at the end of a diet.
Fasting is a short period of abstinence and therefore the basal metabolism rate does not decrease significantly. Instead, the cells clean themselves through a process called autophagy. The benefits of fasting are numerous: decrease of blood sugar, regeneration of the intestine, a stronger immune system and many more.
What to bear in mind when it comes to fasting
Fasting without experience can be critical. Before Lent, you should seek medical advice and clarify contraindications such as underweight or thyroid diseases.
Impulse for a change
No matter if you fast because of faith or health benefits, the traditional Lent or an individual fasting period is a great opportunity to question old habits and enter a new chapter in one’s life.