Fasting for Weight-Loss is a Dangerous Game

Question – what is the fastest way to shed those unwanted pounds?
Answer – quit eating, right? Wrong.

Fasting is no way to eliminate those unsightly pounds. Your body needs food. You need to eat to lose weight. Sure, I know it sounds pretty obvious when I put it like that. You know giving up food altogether is not really an option. Certainly not a healthy one.

Any smart, health-conscious individual knows that staying healthy involves more than essentially wiring your jaw shut. But I am constantly surprised at the number of people who take up fasting as a weight loss method. Or even as a way to improve their overall health and vitality.

Problem is, lengthy fasting is dangerous. Again, your body needs food. Fasting (or any low-carbohydrate or very low calorie diets) deprives your body of the calories and nutrients your body needs.

This leads to a lack of glucose, the essential and preferred energy for the brain. In response, your body starts to metabolize sugars from protein, which over a prolonged fast can lead to muscle wasting. Probably not what you were going for.

Here is a partial list of potential side effects caused by fasting, (or any extreme food-intake reduction and rapid weight loss:) Prolonged hunger. Depression. Reduced sex drive. Fatigue. Irritability. Fainting. Sinus problems (especially post-nasal drip.) Muscle atrophy. Rashes. Acidosis. Bloodshot eyes. Gallbladder disease. Even seizures. And, in severe cases, malnutrition can lead to death.

Nothing on that list that sounds appealing, does it? Does it?

Sometimes these fasting diets promote rapid weight loss – up to 2 pounds a day! What they do not tell you is that rapid weight loss can lead to gallstones. Ouch. And reduced sex drive? Irritability? What is the point of shedding some extra weight and reshaping your body if you cannot enjoy it, right?

Seems pretty clear that intense fasting runs counter to good health.

But still, fasts of all kinds are constantly being promoted to purify or detoxify the body. By far the most well-known of these fasting programs is The “Master Cleanser,” also known as The Lemonade Diet, invented (term used loosely) by Stanley Burroughs and popularized by his book of the same name first distributed in the 1950s.

While there are numerous anecdotal accounts from individuals who followed his program regarding its health benefits, there is no scientific evidence that the “Master Cleanser” has any health advantage (beyond a possible placebo effect.) Still. Fifty years after his book was first published.

In addition to miraculous and rapid weight loss, this Lemonade Diet has been touted as a means to cleanse one’s system and regain energy and health. But here’s a hint it’s all hooey: It’s called The Lemonade Diet.

Do not get me wrong: I would love it if the answer to all our health needs has been sitting in some kids curbside stand all this time, but the old adage, if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is, leaps to mind.

Still not convinced? Still tempted by the prospect of downing the Kool-aid (er, lemonade) and shedding some weight?

Here is something you probably did not know: Mr. Burroughs, the illustrious inventor of The Master Cleanse, was convicted of second-degree felony murder, due to his alternative medical practices. (California Supreme Court case People v. Burroughs, 35 Cal.3d 824, 1984) He was also convicted of practicing medicine without a license, and the unlawful sale of cancer treatments.

The California Supreme Court described the facts as follows: During the first meeting between Lee and defendant, the latter described his method of curing cancer. It included consumption of a unique lemonade, exposure to colored lights, and a brand of vigorous massage administered by defendant. Defendant remarked that he had successfully treated thousands of people, including a number of physicians.

During the 30 days designated for the treatment, Lee would have to avoid contact with his physician. Right. While seeking treatment for cancer, avoid contact with his licensed and trained medical physician.

Not surprisingly, the jury found that the patient’s subsequent death was a homicide committed by Burroughs while engaged in the felonious unlicensed practice of medicine. Hence, Burroughs was convicted of felony murder.

Strange that this fact never gets mentioned when promoting a fasting program.


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