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Sofia Hayat, actress-model of Bigg Boss 7 fame, was recently hospitalized in the UK after she was on a spiritual fast. As a consequence, she suffered a deficiency of salts and other necessary electrolytes in her body, leading her to faint. Hayat’s recent health episode is a clear indication of how fasting and starving are entirely different. A lot of people use starving as a way as a convenient way to satisfy their minds in order to achieve their target of losing weight, without realizing that it cannot be used interchangeably.
Fasting is when we cut down on one of the food groups (like grains in general) and it is substituted with other food groups (either fruits/vegetables/millets). For instance, people fast and do not eat grains during Ekadashi, avoid non-vegetarian food for 45 days during Lent, or only eat before sunrise and after sunset during Ramadan.
“It is an age-old practice which is scientifically explained and there is a rhythmic pattern to it. There is no “nutritionism” (carbohydrates/protein/fat) during fasting, and food is dealt with as a whole,” Sharanya Shastry, Chief Clinical Nutritionist, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Bengaluru, tells Health Shots.
Fasting, in the appropriate cultural manner, like how Hayat expected it to be, can be highly beneficial:
If you are fasting, it’s important to balance the nutrients and not load your system with a lot of food. Follow these in mind:
Starvation is merely deprivation of “calories” in terms of carbohydrates, protein and fat in order to lose weight. There is no pattern and no scientific explanation behind the same. Like, in case of Hayat, she starved herself, in the name of fasting, to an extent that her salt levels dropped to an alarming level. You cannot indulge in a body cleanse practice by depriving yourself from food.
“Starving is mere deprivation in the name of calories, including carbohydrates, fats and protein. This will only make you feel weak and doesn’t aid in an effective, permanent sustainable weight loss. It also creates confusion and stress in the body, thus, messing up with your metabolism and depriving you of micronutrients (calcium/iron/selenium/zinc). Mood swings, irritation, hair loss and a pale skin, fluctuation in blood sugars, low blood pressure and fatigue are some of the commonly associated adverse effects with starvation,” Shastry says.
So yes, always make sure that if you want to fit into a particular size of jeans or aim to get rid of toxins from your body, do not do it at the cost of spoiling your health in the long run!