Fasting for Weight Loss

Fasting for weight loss? Teens facing pressure to look thin fit with the societal ideals of beauty often turn to fasting as a form of dieting. However, few teens understand that fasting and weight loss do not go hand-in-hand. Often fasting causes severe health issues and weight gain.

More than ever before teens are faced with increasing issues and temptations including drugs, alcohol, sexual pressure and even the pressure to look a certain way.  Many teens are fasting for weight loss, instead of following a healthy diet.

Media influences and teen peer pressure often gives teens the idea they are not good enough if they don't conform to the societal pressures to be thin or have the ideal body type. Thoughts like these often lead teens to poor decision making when dieting to try and look thin. Fasting for weight loss is often the top choice for teens. One may think if they just cut out eating food altogether, they will quickly lose the weight. 

While there is some truth to that, the health risks far outweigh the results of fasting for weight loss, especially for teens who are still growing and developing and need healthy nutrition to do so properly. Fasting for weight loss is a diet technique that has been practiced for centuries not just amongst teens, however, most experts agree that fasting is not a healthy way to lose weight, according to Web MD. 

While teens may enjoy seeing the numbers on the scale going down, it is from quick fluid loss, not substantial weight loss. Most experts agree that fasting for weight loss can almost make weight problems worse because after a period of time where food is not entering the body, our metabolisms enter starvation mode in order to survive slowing down significantly.

During this time, the body holds on to the most fattening parts of our bodies for protection, and instead begins to burn muscle. During starvation mode, the body holds on to every calorie it can get. If the teen decides to resume eating at some point, the body holds on to the food for an extended period of time, which can cause greater weight gain than the amount that was lost in the first place. 

The downside to fasting for weight loss as a diet technique for teens: 

  • Fasting causes a slow down in the body's metabolic rate, which can result in more weight gain than weight loss
  • Teens fasting for weight loss also run the risk of allowing the diet to become an obsession, which often results in eating disorders like Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia. One-fifth of all teens have reported suffering from one type of eating disorder or another, according to Medical News Today.
  • Continued fasting can also result in long-term damage to your kidneys, liver, heart and other internal organs. These issues can cause health and disease problems for the rest of your life. 
  • Because teens are still growing and development, a lack of nutrition from fasting, can result in malnutrition, which can delay and hinder development for growing teens.

Rather than fasting for weight loss, it is important for teens to understand that the well-balanced diet and exercise plan can produce greater weight loss results in both the long run than fasting without the negative and long-term side effects. 


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