Many people will be fasting this Holy Week, but admittedly, some may not be doing it for religious reasons, so let’s get this out of the way: fasting is not a good way to lose weight.

Doctors and experts say that fasting is not the way to go if you want to properly shed pounds. “The appeal is that [fasting] is quick, but it is quick fluid loss, not substantial weight loss," says founder and director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Weight Loss Management Center Dr. Madelyn Fernstrom on WebMD. “If it's easy off, it will come back quickly—as soon as you start eating normally again.”

In fact, fasting for long periods can slow down your metabolic rate, which can actually make the way you normally eat more fattening.

Although you may need to find other ways to lose weight, the upside is that it’s possible for fasting to actually assist your system in cleansing itself. There are still several debates regarding this, but Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of Fasting and Eating for Health, notes that when done right, fasting can flush out toxins.

When you regularly eat processed food, toxins accumulate in your body. “So you see a buildup of waste products in the cells, AGE, advanced glycation end products, which] lead to atherosclerosis, aging, diabetes, nerve damage, and the deterioration of organs,” explains Fuhrman. "Fasting allows the body to most effectively remove these waste products. The body is designed to fast; we do it every night."

Whatever your reason may be, the key to right fasting is being nutritionally healthy before and after you do it. One should eat right and have the right vitamins and minerals present in your body. It’s important get a go signal from your doctor before doing any kind of fast, as several conditions – including pregnancy – may not be viable for it.

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