It is very likely that the first human beings spent days without treading on food. They walked long distances, in groups, until luck smiled at them in the shape of an animal. The man’s story is that of a person who knows fasting. In recent times, people have spontaneously decided to return millennia and stop eating. Now, they spend hours of deprivation to lose weight or in search of health improvements. There are those who have already lost 37 kilos just with fasting and those who use fasting as a strategy to age well. What happens to the body in this period, however, is still a mystery.
Intermittent fasting is the new sensation on the diet menu, although it is contraindicated by the Regional Council of Nutritionists of Bahia. It is common to start with 8 hours of fasting, then move on to 14 and 16 hours, and finally, a whole day without eating any food. The body needs to adapt to the decrease in energy. In a way, he feels attacked, as he needs to start saving energy to meet all needs. The benefits would range from weight loss to the possibility of healthier aging.
On a stressful night, designer Verena Tatiana Santos, 32, found the video that would completely change her food menu. After turning 30, he started thinking about what aging would be like. The biggest fear was Alzheimer’s. He then found a proposal unlike anything seen before: the American doctor Mark Mattson explained how it would be possible to prevent the disease with fasting, based on the process of releasing antioxidants.
“I was hallucinated, I read his books and decided to do it. I read a lot of content before I started. I started doing an eight-hour fast. Today, just lunch and dinner. I don’t do anything for fashion, I’m terrified of a crazy diet ” .
Soon, he began to notice differences in habits. I no longer felt so hungry, I had stopped eating simply on impulse. Until, in November last year, he made the decision to go seven days without eating, in an attempt to detoxify the body. He stopped on the fourth day, with a plate of beans, after the hunger gave the first signs. When she spoke to the report, Verena had been drinking for almost 21 hours, except for water. Shortly afterwards, at dinner, he ate a hiding place with smoked bananas.
The family soon became curious about the use of fasting as an anti-aging method. And friends were already questioning Verena’s sanity. “It’s amazing how nervous people are when you change eating habits. Even when I decided to eat less sugar,” he recalls. It was then that Aunt Ozenete Falcão, last year, became an ally. After hearing so much about her niece, she became curious about the possibility of aging well, which Verena talked about so much. At 62, he decided that he would also fast.
“After fasting I gained more health. I am looking to introduce healthier food to associate. Many people, because they do not understand the search for better health, find it crazy . “
After two years, Verena, who already discussed at family lunches and used to claim a phase of religious obligation to justify why she did not eat, won another ally, cousin Marcele Falcão. Novice, Marcele has gone 14 hours without eating. The report contacted neurologists, doctors and nutritionists to understand whether fasting is directly related to Alzheimer’s and aging. Neurologist Elza Magalhães immediately dismissed the hypothesis.
“There is no scientific proof, there is nothing published showing. Regarding aging it may even have to do, but Alzheimer’s is a disease with a very strong genetic load. Fasting does not alter genetics,” he explained.
Nutritionist Juliana Lisboa justifies that aging, on the other hand, may be associated with better functioning of the body. The body begins to replace glucose acquired via food with ketone bodies. And the brain is one of the receptors. “Ketones are powerful antioxidants. As they are antioxidants, they prevent aging. Therefore, fasting is neuroprotective, because it prevents the neuron from aging”, points out the nutritionist.
Similar to what fasting does to the burner hormones in our bodies, it is evident those signs can be provoked externally. Best fat burners for men that are composed of fat burners as beta hydroxy beta-methyl butyric acid are effective enough to trigger the high metabolism in the hormonal system, which inherently directs the body to a healthier state.
Do you lose weight?
Weight loss would be the other, and most sought after, way. It works like a cycle. Without new sources of energy, the body needs other means of survival. Then, the processes of burning other molecules with energy begin. Only water, coffee and tea – and in specific cases – are allowed.
“It’s a neuroprotective diet, because I don’t encourage my body to produce insulin [one of those responsible for appetite and fat storage] all the time. My body starts to spend more fat and protein as an energy source ” , explains nutritionist Juliana Lisboa.
It was late 2017 when Miwki Abe arrived at a nutritionist’s office. He warned that he was unable to go on a restrictive diet, but he wanted to lose at least 40 of his 98 kilos. That was when Miwki was surprised: go without food for hours? “I had only heard that Debora Secco had done it. I thought it wouldn’t be appropriate for me. A thin woman like that … But I decided to start ”, she remembers. First, the eight-hour fast was focused on sleep. Four months later, he switched to fasting for 16 hours.
The strangeness was immediate. She felt weak, as if she were about to pass out. The nutritionist recommended 14 hours of fasting. The balance, just over a year later, was 37 kilos lost. And readaptation.
“The hardest part is giving up fasting. Because you get used to it. It was difficult in the middle of the afternoon to have a snack ” he says.
And it is precisely in these oddities that danger for the body can dwell. After all, Miwki’s near-fainting spells have meaning and experts are divided on accepting fasting.
Go without eating? Experts are divided
What, in fact, happens to the body during fasting hours is something not yet fully understood by nutritionists and doctors. There are few studies and the existing ones have been tested on rats. For example, the increase in the catabolic period, celebrated as a benefit, can have a side effect: the loss of muscle mass, since proteins are more easily broken down in the body’s search for survival.
Endocrinologist Silene Andrade’s patients cannot even consider fasting if they want to continue treatment. Without scientific evidence, how to prescribe? That’s what the doctor asks. After hours without eating, hypoglycemia, a low concentration of sugar, can be elevated to the heights and begin syncopes, fainting, explains the endocrinologist. This is where the well-known despair for sugar comes from after diets.
“We are concerned because the thing is very widespread. It is very difficult to maintain this over a long period. Unfortunately, people have been looking for miracle pills , ” he says.
Diabetics, for example, could have severe blood sugar out of control. The adviser of the Regional Council of Nutritionists Cristina Menezes says that all recommendations are based on the Food Guide for the Brazilian Population, which recommends five to six meals a day.
“It is what promotes better satiety, glycemic control, prevents binge eating at the meal. What we recommend is this ” , he explains.
Yes, because after hours without eating, the desire may be to eat the world. Any diet should only be done with the guidance of health professionals. The intermittent fasting diet, when prescribed, should be preceded by at least two three procedures: an analysis of the entire body composition, a metabolic screening and a blood test. Is there excess to be used as a reserve? Do you need strong support?
“To do intermittent fasting, nutrient density is important to endure periods without eating. It is not the same as starving. Because my body will be nourished ” , justifies Juliana.
Only the body properly nourished, therefore, would be able to resist fasting without immediate damage to the body.
The fasting saga: from history to religion
It is difficult to assess the impact of intermittent fasting for those who exercise, evaluates Jamile Moraes, a nutritionist specializing in sports nutrition. Everything depends on each biochemical composition.
“To assess the benefit and possible risks of using intermittent fasting to replace other conventional modalities of weight loss or for another purpose. When we talk about physical exercise practitioners looking for sports performance, we need to evaluate each sport (football, weight training, tennis, crossfit, running, triathlon, etc.) and the different strategies appropriate to the athlete’s training and his individuality ”.
The care must always be to adjust the consumption of macronutrients such as proteins and fat so that a workout is efficient. Or, at the very least, executable in the right way.
Just before sunrise, it’s time for the first meal. At 5:28 am, Alice has her first meal. After breakfast, you will eat only at 8:15 pm, when the sun has disappeared over the horizon. There are 30 days of fasting until the table can be plentifully set with dates, dried fruits, vegetables. It is from Ramadan, a sacred period for Muslims, that the interest of the scientific community in the practice of fasting arises.
Fasting is a period of purification adopted by Muslims in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, between May and June on the Roman calendar. It is the way found to strengthen patience, to connect with God. The first from Bahia businesswoman Alice Barbosa, 44, was in 2018. The sensation is usually light, when fasting is related to a spiritual end.