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Fasting Diets (cont.)

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What are the health risks of fasting diets?

Although more research is needed to fully understand the long-term benefits and risks of fasting diets, the short-term risks to consider include headaches, irritability, and fatigue. Electrolytes can be disrupted by fasting and can be monitored with blood tests.

Anyone considering a fasting or detox diet should first consult with a health-care professional, and certain people should never try one of these diets. People who are on medications for blood pressure or diabetes may have to reduce their medications while fasting; in addition, some diabetics may have dangerous high and/or lows in glucose levels if they attempt certain diets. They should be monitored and work in partnership with a health-care provider (for example, their primary-care provider and/or specialist). Also, fasting or any other type of diet that severely restricts calories is not recommended for pregnant or women who are breastfeeding.


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Goldhamer, A.C., et al. "Water-only fasting and an exclusively plant foods diet in the management of stage IIIa, low-grade follicular lymphoma." BMJ Case Rep Dec. 10, 2015.

Heilbronn, L.K., et al. "Effect of 6-month calorie restriction on biomarkers of longevity, metabolic adaptation, and oxidative stress in overweight individuals: a randomized controlled trial." JAMA 295.13 Apr. 5, 2006: 1539-1548.

Horne, B.D., J.B. Muhlestein, and J.L. Anderson. "Health effects of intermittent fasting: hormesis or harm? A systematic review." Am J Clin Nutr 102.2 Aug. 2015: 464-470.

Longo, V.D., and M.P. Mattson. "Fasting: molecular mechanisms and clinical applications." Cell Metab 19.2 Feb. 4, 2014: 181-192.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/6/2016


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