80% of 10-year-old American girls diet. - John Farndon, 2007, 27f
Obesity has become a global problem. Dieting, fasting and fasting quotations develop in its wake. Results are mixed.
Obesity is far from an individual problem, and more is into it than blunt food cravings. Melissa Anderson and Laura Goldstein point out in Gilman 2008:
Children seem to be in a precarious position in the contemporary global dieting culture. Threatened with rising rates of obesity and related diseases . . . , young people, from toddlers to teens, must wrestle with body image in a culture that worships slenderness. . . . [T]he preoccupation with preventing overweight may distract parents and doctors from the equally important problems of body-image disturbance and dieting behaviors in children and adolescents. (Ibid. 47)
Sander L. Gilman writes, though:
In light of the obesity epidemic that is claimed to be sweeping the nation, there has been fierce controversy regarding whether or not the Government should intervene to curb advertising of "junk food" to children. (Gilman 2008, 3)
The amount of advertisements for junk food means being bombarded, and not for being very successful. Put your daughter's and her mother's dieting in perspective. Maybe only few of them will benefit from dieting after all. The so-called yo-yo effect suggests it. Or maybe they will.
Yo-yo dieting or yo-yo effect, also known as weight cycling, refers to the cyclical loss and gain of weight, resembling the up-down motion of a yo-yo. In this process, the dieter is initially successful in the pursuit of weight loss but is unsuccessful in maintaining it at length and begins to gain the weight back. The dieter then seeks to lose the regained weight, and the cycle begins again. (WP, "Yo-yo effect")
Changing Times, Changing Weights of People
"The times, they are a-changing." (Bob Dylan, Nobel prizeman)
They are not only changing; in part they change for the worse. A few points by John Farndon:
Obesity brings several serious diseases with it. If dieting does not work well for you, dieting and fasting may be the next moves. Maybe dieting works, maybe not. Slimming may be done in fit ways, mediocre ways and other ways. Gilman:
Today, . . . anorexia would be linked to words like: starved, skinny, malnourished, or excessive self-control. . . . [T]he term "anorexia" technically refers only to low body weight or lack of appetite. (Gilman 2008, 7)
Slimming that causes a teenager or her mother to get malnourished and starved, lacking appetite and so on, is not even mediocre. Still, there are wholesome ways to stay lean or lose some weight.
Opposed to anorexia (loosely defined), is binge-eating. Gilman:
With the problems of obesity and disordered eating growing in the United States and around the world public health professionals have focused research efforts on identifying potential causes and treatments for these related problems. . . . [T]here is a growing body of literature on binge-eating and obesity that has attempted to define the prevalence, causes, effects, and treatment options . . . Dieting, in particular, has been implicated as a possible causal factor in the development of both BED [Binge-eating Disorder] and related obesity. . . . [R]esearchers have struggled since the mid-1990s to sort out how to diagnose and treat this disorder, which overlaps and is frequently confused with Bulima Nervosa and behavior subtypes of obesity. In addition, binge-eating is something many people indulge in at various times in their lives - on holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas - (Gilman 2008, 25-26, passim)
Where over-slimming and over-eating are thought to be problems, and they are wholly or in part symptoms of one or more deeper maladies and causes. One underlying cause of over-eating could be too strict and simplistic dieting (see Gilman 2008, 26). Shallow treatments and somewhat unfounded treatments may not work well for long.
However, there are many who aspire to treat other beings with problem. There is a market out there, but some try to give genuine help. At any rate, among those who may make a living or profit in other ways are researchers, reporters and media, licenced therapists, and then there are all the rest for what it is worth.
As for overeating (binge-eating):
Available treatments for BED include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), group therapy, and drug therapy. . . . Some people suffering from BED also use self-help methods with varied success, and others join support groups. Overeaters Anonymous (OA) is one of the most well-known support groups for people suffering from BED or compulsive overeating . . . these groups may provide important support for people struggling with compulsive overeating . . . Research has shown that, while depression and anxiety may be factors in the development of BED, the disorder cannot simply be attributed to emotional overcompensation. Furthermore, restrictive eating may play a role in overeating behaviors, but dieting cannot be said to directly cause BED. . . . [W]e can see that treatment of the underlying causes of BED in obese individuals is just as important as weight loss. . . . [C]linicians are still working on effective methods for diagnosing and treating BED and related obesity, and all agree that more research is necessary. (Melissa Anderson, in Gilman 2008, 27)
And this was to show that fasting and very restrictive diets as a means to weight-loss fairly often succeed at first, but entails health risks and also a high probability of gaining the weight back. More or less desperate ways for half of one's life is one of them, and not so rare. Basically, what is involved is not just a matter of eating less either, but also getting a blend of sound nutritients, but not all too many of them - What is sound is in part individual, in part general.
Apart from counting minerals and other nutritients, it could also be a question of vitality in the food the customer gets, although food vitality is difficult to measure today. But a withered, half-deranged vegetable may have lost such "zest", while wholesome, organic food, freshly harvested, may be fit - a meaningful life too.
A question of good health
Good health depends on much, including a positive mind-set, a health-promoting lifestyle and diet, and remedial or supplementary measures. (See Murray and Pizzorno 2012, 27-82).
Further, there are many other approaches to and influences of good health than detoxing efforts, however fit them might seem. We can live longer by simply meditating a little each day in the Transcendental Meditation way. Stress is a main cause of common diseases in the industrialised world, and to reduce the impact of stressing influences may help too. [◦Dr David Orme-Johnson's statistics to prove it] - Also: [TM and stress]
Also, there is a good chance that TM gets you on a good track in life.
A Walk Through a Book
Lori A. Smolin and Mary B. Grosvenor offer sound, understandable explanations of basic nutrition in their Basic Nutrition (2010). They tell their goal is not to tell us to stop eating potato chips and candy bars. Instead, they try to help us make informed choices. They say that "potato chips and candy are not poison," adding, "do your best to try new vegetables and fruits and eat them as often as possible." (2010, 8)
The authors want us to "enjoy the diversity of flavors, textures, and tastes that food provides," and "When you eat a healthy diet, you will feel good in the short term and enjoy health benefits in the long term. (Ibid. 8)
"According to the World Health Organization, at least 300 million of [the overweight people in the world] carry enough body fat to be classified as obese. This means that overweight and obesity now affect more people around the world than the Black Death." (Ibid. 12)
"Many families have less time to prepare meals at home. . . . Almost half of the money Americans now spend on food goes for foods prepared outside the home. We now consume about one-third of our calories from fast food and other foods prepared outside the home." (Ibid. 14)
"To stop the obesity epidemic . . . will require efforts from public health programs, medical professionals, food manufacturers, communities, businesses, and schools in order to change our environment and lifestyle." (Ibid. 17)
"The term globesity has been used to describe the worldwide obesity epidemic." (Ibid. 20)
"Modern lifestyles with readily available, plentiful food and the reduced need for exercise have created a situation that promotes weight gain. (Ibid. 23)
"Nearly all obese people have tried repeatedly to lose weight. Although many succeed in the short term, most gain back the weight they have lost within a year or two. . . . Despite this, weight loss is still recommended in someone who has lost and regained weight in the past, if he or she is still obese or overweight and has two or more health conditions that are associated with obesity." (Ibid. 103)
"The initial goal of weight loss should be to reduce body weight by approximately 10% over a period of about 6 months. After this initial weight loss, risks can be reassessed to determine if additional weight loss would be beneficial." (Ibid. 104.)
"A safe rate of weight loss is a . . . 0.23 to 0.9 kg . . . per week. This helps promote fat loss while retaining muscle mass. . . . Weight loss at a slow rate is more likely to be permanent than faster weight loss. Most people who lose large amounts of weight, or lose weight rapidly, gain it back." (Ibid. 104)
"Weight loss can enhance day-to-day functioning and improve cardiovascular disease risk factors at all ages. Older people tend to lose muscle and replace it with fat, so weight-training activities are an important part of a weight-loss program for the elderly." (Ibid. 105-6)
"For those who would benefit from weight loss, an initial loss of 10% of current weight is recommended." (Ibid. 112)
"Those who need to gain weight can increase the amounts of higher-calorie foods at meals and snacks and start a weight-training program." (Ibid. 112)
"An occasional snack of chips or an ice cream cone won’t destroy a weight-loss diet if it is balanced with lower-calorie choices at other times." (Ibid. 114)
"[V]ery-low-calorie diets carry more risks [than other weight-loss diets]. At this low level of calorie intake, body protein is broken down." (Ibid. 119)
"Dietary supplements promoted for weight loss include substances that promise to burn fat or reduce fat synthesis, or rev up metabolism. Many include herbal ingredients." (Ibid. 123)
"Supplements that claim to increase metabolism are called fat burners. They are the most effective of all the supplements that claim to promote weight loss but have serious and potentially life-threatening side effects [ - some of them, like ephedra]." (Ibid. 123)
"Do not assume that a product is safe simply because it is labeled "herbal" or "all natural."" (Ibid. 124)
"There are thousands of different weight-loss diets and programs." (Ibid. 127)
Fasting in a wider perspective
What it is. Fasting has several meanings. Diet is one of them, and going without food is another. Going hungry, denying oneself and refraining from eating are also included.
A perspective. There are many diseases around. Fasting hardly cures all of them. There are many overweight folks around: Fasting helps some of them.
Wider perspectives. Now, some profess that fasting help them along, and others think nothing of it, or worse, that it is a fad that gives smart, business-oriented persons, dealers, sellers or clinics an abundance of well-fed customers. Dieting and fasting form a great market. It is linked to the slowly alarming, growing problem of overweight and obesity in industrialised countries, for one thing. Smart persons think: "A problem? I see an opportunity in it!" Some get into fasting to help, though. Honour such well-meaning souls, especially those whose methods are backed up by sound research.
Fit for fasting? There are three grounds for practically oriented fasting. They are:
Fasting for three days on end has possible effects that are not detoxing effects, no "house-cleaning" of accumulated poisons. There is a chance for helpful effects of cleverly done fasting, obviously.
With some major why's of fasting sorted out (the list above), may you find the blithe helpers who not just make your wallet lose weight. If you know the basics of how fasting affects your system, you get better cards on your hand for a more successful outcome of planned fasting attempts.
Basic method. Skip a meal if you can or are allowed to, drink juice or vegetable broth instead of that meal, and voila: you have gone through a short period of intermittent fasting (details are further down). Many ways of fasting "take it from there."
Detoxing and fasting
Detox diets do no more than the body's own natural system to get rid of toxins, US researchers claim," according to BBC. [◦Compare]
In one British study two groups were compared. Those who had fasted on vegetable juices and so on to "cleanse" their bodies, were not better for it than the control group, who had eaten and drunk what they pleased. The reason there was no measured differences between the groups is that bodily cleansing is handled by the kidneys and the liver mainly, and anyhow. [◦More]
"Detox" diets usually include fruits and vegetables as the main part of one's food intake. Professor Alan Boobis, a toxicologist at Imperial College London states: "It is remarkable that people are prepared to risk seriously disrupting [their sophisticated and versatile body] systems with unproven "detox" diets, which could well do more harm than good." Dr John Emsley, "Many of the detox diets and supplements really aren't that good for you, nor have they been properly tested."
Professor Martin Wiseman adds about the popular idea "that in some way the body accumulates noxious chemicals during everyday life, and that they need to be expunged by . . . detoxification" that detox fads are examples "of the capacity of people to believe in (and pay for) magic despite the lack of any sound evidence. This is a trend that should worry us all."
Finally, Dr Paul Illing says, "Detox diets and products may not do harm, except, perhaps, to your wallet, but neither do they do you much good. Your natural bodily functions are effective at clearing out harmful substances and there is little you can do to enhance these. Patience and a proper diet are more valuable than detox products and supplements."
Dieticians advocate drinking (pure) water, however, but not above what you are comfortable with. "Drinking many litres of water a day, and drinking even when not thirsty, could cause problems if taken to extremes". [◦Link] [◦BBC Link]
An advocate of fasting: Nutritionist Jon Barron
The ◦nutritionist Jon Barron (1948-) thinks that autolysis should be given due thought when it comes to effects of some days' consecutive fasting. By autolysis he means that the body has the ability to intelligently adjust to changing circumstances, so that while fasting, it can break down "unneeded, damaged, and toxic tissue first. Then, when you start eating again, it rebuilds from the ground up with fresh, new, healthy tissue." He refers to several studies that "demonstrate the value of fasting . . . fasting produces definite, quantifiable benefits in the immune system."
Barron refers to a study by Professor Valter D. Longo, an American biogerontologist and cell biologist. The article is in the journal Cell Stem Cell. Longo finds that fasting - for as little as three days - prompts stem cells to produce brand new white blood cells, and regenerates the immune system. In such ways fit fasting can protect against immune system damage and stimulate the regeneration of the immune system.
During sensible fasting the body may break down unhealthy tissue and cells and get rid of them. Also, it begins to rebuild new cells and tissue in its own time. Professor Longo points out, "There is no evidence at all that fasting would be dangerous, while there is strong evidence that it is beneficial." Finally he says: "We are investigating the possibility that these effects are applicable to many different systems and organs, not just the immune system."
Detoxing and fasting are not the same thing. Barron thinks that unless fasting is done properly, it is not a great way to lose weight. Much of your weight loss during fasting tends to be muscle. Loss of muscle is not what is wanted. Also, a fast longer than 48 hours runs the risk of causing your metabolism to slow down, which means you gain weight more easily when the fast is over - the so-called yo-yo effect: Weigh goes down, weight goes up, and so on in far too many cases. Add to this some statistically had figures. What about this? "40 per cent of 14 years old girls in Norway diet, and keep at it for years." 
Fasting one day a week may not cost you muscle tissue and doesn't slow down metabolism, but may save you a couple of thousand calories or more that day, which adds up to 10-15 kilos a year. It's simple math: calories in vs calories out, says Barron - a great tip.
As for detoxing, you have to understand just what may remove toxins from organs in your body, and to stimulate those organs in fit ways looks fine too. Well chosen series of yoga postures could work very well, for example. But mere fasting and common fasting may not detox you, just as other studies show. Sensible fasting's primary benefit could be autolysis, as suggested above.
Barron's practical outlet: "Once a month I'm now letting my body intelligently self-digest old, damaged, and toxic tissue and then replace it with new, dynamic, revitalized tissue. Twelve times a year I'm rebuilding and recharging my immune system - and every other major system in my body. And along the way, as a side benefit, I'm helping control my weight."
Weight loss by fasting
Intermittent fasting. When fasting for fat loss, one is advised to perform it in an intermittent style: An intermittent fast is a short break from food and beverages that contain calories. Such fasts may be tried and tested out with due care for 14 to 36 hours at a time generally speaking. When you start testing the method, first skip a meal and check, and so on. [WP "Intermittent fasting"]. 
Learn something from the successful and slim ones - and what marks their eating habits and customs. David L. Katz, assistant professor in public health at Yale University School of Medicine, says slim persons are not as preoccupied with food, and are more relaxed about it. They stop eating when they are satisfied, before they get satiated, contrary to "all others". Feeling a little hunger is seldom a big problem. Slender women are not immune to comfort eating, but they tend to recognise the signs when they do it and stop. - Slim people usually have a fixed plan or overview of what they eat, and thereby limit the opportunities to overeat. And at Tufts University it has been found that the most common cause of weight gain among women in their 50s and 60s was related to levels of self control and self discipline in the area of social eating and eating at parties. It may also help to keep healthy snacks at hand. 
After all, "there is a knack to it". Just how one fasts, by which means and in what ways, need to be taken into account, not just "fasting". There are silly ways and means of fasting and maturer fasting. And there is evidence for saying that some ways and means of fasting is of little or no use, and also evidence that some forms of fasting are useful. It comes down to this: Not everything that is green is a vegetable, and not everything that is called fasting, has to be ineffective or good for your "good sellers, but not yourself". The outcome is decided on how one fasts, on what, for how long - and these things need to be considered well. Before you start fasting, consider what sort of fasting it is, how the typical outcomes are, as verified by neutral and qualified research - and by such means you improve your odds for getting good results. Good odds may be glimpsed, but guarantees may be few and far between.
Barron refers to studies on fasting, and cautions that "in some cases, where the faster [!] doesn't know what they're doing, water fasting even presents a risk of death from the lack of electrolytes." And: "Diabetics need to exercise special care when fasting even short-term." "Fasting is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding . . . And anyone who has a chronic illness, is using prescription medications, or is under a doctor's care should check with their doctor . . ." Another caution: "Unless you are consuming protein, you will lose overall muscle mass." Barron about juice fasting: " If you rely too much [whatever that may be] on sweet fruit juices for your fast, you can push glucose [blood sugar] levels up much too high, which can lead to severe glycemic swings."
Barron advocates diluting freshly pressed sweet fruit juices with water, and prefers freshly pressed vegetable juices to that again. The single-celled alga Chlorella and the cyanobacterium spirulina may be consumed for getting proteins during fasting, he says.
He tells: "I personally have done . . . different kinds of fasting over the years including longer water fasts . . . and juice fasts. In the end, after years of trial error, I've settled on the vegetable juice fast (with a small amount of fruit juice), supplemented with chlorella or spirulina, as the best form of fasting for the vast majority of people." Observe that Barron advocates fresh-pressed juices, and not bottled juices. 
Barron tells in his article "Water Fasting and Juice Fasting" that there are doctors that oppose fasting in many forms, and he does not slur over the dangers and restrictions that are into fasting either. He goes on to present key concepts, and makes a distinction between three forms of fasting - (1) water fasting; (2) juice fasting; and (3) and fasting on juice plus single cell protein (chlorella and spirulina)" . Further, he generally advocates vegetable juices above sweet fruit juices. Sensible, well informed fasting is what he aims at. [And Britannica Online informs about some fruits and vegetables in "human nutrition".]
Happily, some juices and broths are pleasant and palatable. If they don't oust out proteins and other necessary food elements from your diet and do not make you imbalanced, why be against it? But be on the alert: Telling others to swerve from what their organisms need or thrive on, could backfire. To rub it in: A woman was awarded more than £800,000 after she suffered permanent brain damage while on a detox diet. [◦BBC Link]
On colourful food
Some would have us eat colourful foods rather than pale, colourless and sadly withered foods. There is a knack to this type of counsel too. Food colours caused by additives, hardly count. We had better not eat dangerous and lethal, colourful foods like toxic mushrooms or to refrain from grains and some neat and balanced over-all plan.
The peeling and outer parts of fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants and many sorts of phytonutritients, and these have many colours. A sad note creeps in at this point: If fruits and vegetables have been sprayed with pesticides, insecticides and birds know what (if they still survive), these remnants are diffused right below the surface, where the splendid colours are.
If you don't select your fruits and vegetables with sound skill, those colourful outer parts may contain farm or pharmacy poisons too. But provided the foundation of your meal is fine, you may find yourself looking at your plate, asking yourself: "Have I got a bit of red food that may protect against cancer, a little orange for a healthy heart, a little yellow for a better blood pressure, a little green for the eyes and maybe some blue too, for the brain?" That is what the authors of The Color Code imagine you may do after reading their book. The book takes off from research and attempts to form many neat syntheses along the way. (Joseph, Nadeau and Underwood 2003:1-14)
Phytonutritients is a low key now: more than 25,000 phytonutrients are found in plant foods. Six ones that may be good to know of, are carotenoids; ellagic acid; flavonoids; resveratrol; glucosinolates and phytoestrogens. They have different actions, and there are different actions among the phytonutritients in the same group as well, but there may be some overall knowledge to garner anyway. For examle: (1) Carotenoids - there are over 600 known ones - provide yellow, orange, and red colors in fruits and vegetables, and act as antioxidants. (2) Ellagic acid is found in such as strawberries; blackberries; raspberries and pomegranates and might be shown to have some effect on cancer. Future research may determine its hows and whens and whys and so on, if the widely spread claim holds water enough to count. [Cf. Wikipedia articles on phytonutritiens]
Also worth some thought is that some cuisines, like the Mediterranean, are believed to be healthier than others, perhaps due to more use of olive oil, onions, many spices, garlic and so on (see Helstosky 2009). However, there are caveats here too. (WP, "Mediterranean cuisine")
Guidelines for a Decent Life
Health is helped by some foods and can be deranged by other foods. It may benefit a person to know something about them, so as to eat for health, The factor that is called "regular consumption" may play a crucial role then, like "Often, but not often" and "adequate and suitable amounts" and so on.
Seek out helpful foods. Many common foods have it in them that they may prevent certain diseases or troubles, alleviate some, and may also sustain healing efforts. Figs, for example, is a good source of calcium, and thus may help in strengthening bones. As for coughs and sore throats, Curtis et al suggest a small handful of blackcurrant leaves added to a teapot and cover with boiling water and left to "soak" (infuse) for a few minutes [say, five]. The herbal tea can be strained and drunk for weeks, even. As for citrus fruits, "regular consumption can . . . boost good digestion." (Curtis et al, 2011, 26, 31, 40).
It suggests there are some things a self-help guy may try as long as it does not interfere negatively with proper diagnoses and treatments by qualified persons. Foods, spices, herbs do have helpful effects. Even coffee has. Some knowledge might be good against much, recurrent dependency.
General guidelines: There are quite general, official guidelines as to what to eat and what to eat most. They are summed up by so-called food pyramids. They illustrate that our health in time may benefit from eating more plant than animal foods every day, and "Following the guidelines will help to reduce the risk of certain diseases and make you healthier in the long term (Buller 2011, 12)."
Buller also writes, "Scientific studies have found that people in Mediterranean regions have long, healthy lives and relatively low rates of chronic disease. Their diet may be the reason (Ibid. 13)."
Things to consume less or or avoid: "As important as getting into healthy eating habits is eliminating bad ones, such as consuming too much salt, sugar, and alcohol. (Ibid. 14). How much is too much? It is in part individual. People differ a whole lot.
Buller also mentions "bad fats". "Margarine, developed in France, was once hailed as a healthy alternative to butter. However, health experts now agree that the process by which some margarines are made - hydrogenation - creates an unhealthy type of fat that can raise cholesterol levels (Ibid. 20)."
Buller, Laura. 2011. Eyewitness Food. London: Dorling Kindersley.
Curtis, Susan, Pat Thomas, Dragana Vilinac. 2013. Healing Foods: Eat Your Way to a Healthier Life. London: Dorling Kinderley.
Farndon, John. 2007. 101 Facts You Should Know About Food. Thriplow, Cambridge: Icon Books.
Gilman, Sander L. 2008. Diets and Dieting: A Cultural Encyclopedia. London: Taylor and Francis.
Goldstein, Myrna Chandler, and Mark A. Goldstein. 2010. Healthy Foods: Fact Versus Fiction. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Press.
Helstosky. Carol. 2009. Food Culture in the Mediterranean. Westport CT: Greenwood Press.
Joseph, James A., Daniel A. Nadeau, Anne Underwood. The Color Code: A Revolutionary Eating Plan for Optimum Health. New York: Hyperion, 2002.
Longe, Jaqueline, ed. 2008. The Gale Encyclypedia of Diets: A Guide to Health and Nutrition. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale.
Murray, Michael T., and Joseph Pizzorno. 2012. The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. 3rd ed. New York: Atria Paperback.
Smolin, Lori A., and Mary B. Grosvenor. 2010. Basic Nutrition (Healthy Eating: A Guide to Nutrition). 2nd ed. New York: Chelsea House.
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