Most of us have observed fast at least once in our lifetime; be it for religious purposes or for losing extra kilos. Those of us who have a strong will power are able to pass with flying colours and those like me just pray for the day to pass. There have been lots of debates on the benefits and side effects of fasting. The for school of thought suggests the cleansing benefits of fasting along with relaxation of the intestines. The against school of thought argues with the point that deprivation could be followed by cravings which would lead to higher damage.
Which school of thought do you belong to?
A recent study I came across made me quite happy as it gave me one more reason to steer clear from fasting. A small gist of the study…
The study was conducted by Aner Tal (post doctoral research associate) and his colleagues from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, New York on 128 students from Cornell University. The students were divided into two groups at random. One group was not allowed to eat or drink after 6 p.m.; one day before data collection. The other group was allowed to eat normally.
On the day of data collection all students were offered a buffet lunch including rolls, French fries, chicken, cheese, carrots and green beans. Using the video footage (as students were video recorded during lunch), the researchers recorded which foods the students had first and in what quantities.
Out of 40 students from the fasting group, 30 (75%) ate rolls, French fries, chicken or cheese, as against 20 (55%) of 45 from the non-fasting group. Researchers also observed that those who pursued fasting; ended up eating extra of whatever foods they chose to eat, at their first meal post fasting. The study though cannot comment on the food choices of these students (those who observed fasting) as to why they took more interest in carbohydrates and proteins. It might be related to cravings developed because of long periods of fasting.
The study has not worked on any adverse effects of fasting on our body. It only discusses the wrong food choices a person tends to make after the period of fasting.
Author’s take: These food choices not only depend on cravings post fasting; it also depends on will power of the person and the availability of high calorie foods. Stock your kitchen with healthy foods always; especially when you plan to observe a fast as you would need to watch out what you eat after breaking it…