Therapeutic fasting means no solid food, only juice and broth. This is supposed to cleanse the body and help lose weight. But then why do many doctors warn against the fasting cure? Here’s what you should know about therapeutic fasting.
For many, “therapeutic fasting” means hitting the reset button for once, relieving the bowels, and gathering new energy.
Here you can find out what really lies behind the phenomenon of therapeutic fasting, how you should prepare for it, and what the pros and cons are.
What is therapeutic fasting?
Therapeutic fasting is, according to the dictionary, a form of non-religiously motivated abstention from conventional food.
There are different forms of therapeutic fasting:
- Buchinger therapeutic fasting: vegetable broth, juices, honey for energy, vitamins, and minerals – done.
- Fasting according to F.X. Mayr: Bread rolls and milk are the basis.
- Juice fasting: Only fruit and vegetable juices.
- Fruit fasting: Only fruits, vegetables, herbs, and nuts.
- Whey fasting: 1 liter of whey, 0.5 liter of fruit juice and 3 liters of non-carbonated water, and a glass of sauerkraut or prune juice every morning.
- Panchakarma: Ayurvedic therapeutic fasting
- Alkaline fasting: Fasting with fruits and vegetables. The aim is to counteract the over-acidification of the body and to lose weight.
- Fasting cure variants: with protein substitution, with healing earth, with curd cheese – depending on the provider.
Therapeutic fasting according to Buchinger
This is certainly the best-known form of therapeutic fasting and goes back to the German physician Otto Buchinger (1878 to 1966).
In a self-experiment, he freed himself from his rheumatism suffering with a fasting cure, then intensively studied the subject and subsequently opened his own fasting clinic.
His approach was to cleanse the body of toxins and stimulate its self-healing powers.
Instructions for therapeutic fasting
If you want to fast according to Buchinger, you can do it alone at home, but: In the following, very briefly listed phases of fasting, there are – depending on your personal conditions – a number of things to consider.
Therefore, we advise you to seek the care of an experienced physician or alternative practitioner.
- The start: On 1-3 relief days before the actual fasting period you should eat a lot of fruit, steamed vegetables, and rice or potatoes, but avoid protein – a total of about 500 calories per day. In addition: drink a lot (about 3 liters per day), namely tea, water, juices, and vegetable broth.
- The fasting period: in the morning (herbal) tea, if necessary with some honey. At noon, vegetable broth or juice; in the evening, fruit juice, vegetable juice, broth, or tea. Spoon all liquids slowly and “chew” them. On every second day of fasting, the intestines are emptied, supported by Glauber’s salt or enemas, for example.
- After fasting: The first day, the “breaking of the fast”, should be started with an apple (in the evening of the last day of fasting) and a vegetable soup (with contents/for lunch on the first build-up day). Subsequently, too, should be eaten slowly, moderately, and consciously.
Who is allowed to fast – and who is not?
Depending on whom you ask, there are true hymns of praise for therapeutic fasting from doctors, but also strict warnings. Many fasting brochures contain contraindications, i.e. information on when fasting should NOT be used.
Ideally, you let certify from a physician or an experienced welfare practical man that welfare chamfering is not precarious for you. You should refrain from fasting if you suffer from
- Depression, burnout, psychoses
- Eating disorders, especially anorexia
- kidney and liver insufficiency
- Pregnancy and lactation
- Diabetes Mellitus Type 1
The Arztegesellschaft Heilfasten & Ernahrung e.V., an organization clearly in favor of therapeutic fasting, always points out that certain points are essential.
These include rest, relaxation, laxative measures, sufficient fluids, physical exercise, fast-supporting measures such as liver wraps, sauna or Kneipp applications, and – very important – mindful fasting.
According to the AGE registered association welfare, chamfering works lindernd on a broad spectrum of diseases.
From nourishing experts and physicians of different fields on the other hand often before the negative effects of welfare chamfering one warns:
It comes to muscle dismantling because the body must get amino acids from the muscles if it does not get protein supplied.
The welfare chamfering zehre thus maximally at the system, and drakonische laxative measures such as Glauber’s salt are on top of that for the sensitive intestine climate an unnecessary imposition.
The decrease effect is short term and the inevitably occurring Jojo effect is made impossible.
Before we let experts come to the word: Perhaps you do not want to fast at all in this radical way.
For all those who would prefer a softer variant, we can recommend the so-called intermittent or interval fasting.
Here you alternate a short eating and a longer abstention phase within a day or, for example, two fasting and 5 eating days within a week.
Pros and cons: What experts say about therapeutic fasting
“Therapeutic fasting regenerates and strengthens the immune system” – this is the favorable opinion of Dr. Andreas Buchinger, chief physician of the Dr. Otto Buchinger Clinic in Bad Pymont, internist and expert in naturopathic treatments.
Buchinger sees the following benefit in the welfare chamfering:
- After a few days, fats are the “main fuel” for energy production – this indirectly leads to protein breakdown being stopped. It pleads for moderate movement during the
- Fasenphase: in such a way muscles remain more efficient and are not too strongly diminished any longer.
- Protein degradation products from strong meat nutrition, deposits in the vessels, the substances originating from allergic reactions, uric acid, and environmental toxins – all this is excreted more strongly
- Buchinger therapeutic fasting serves as an initial spark for beneficial lifestyle changes
- Positive effects: Weight reduction, normalization of blood pressure and blood lipids, regulation of digestion
Healing chamfering Gegenstimmen
Chamfering critic Seven David Mueller, medicine journalist, Diätexperte, non-fiction book author (“health risk welfare chamfering”) places itself vehemently against the welfare chamfering practice – by the welfare chamfering very strongly muscle mass is diminished and the heart can suffer from it.
In addition, he is of the following opinion:
- Although 300-400 calories per day are consumed during therapeutic fasting, it is nevertheless a “zero diet”. The body lacks essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
- Undesirable side effects: Muscle loss – which is additionally even intensified by intensive exercise. It is therefore not possible to build up muscles during the fasting phase.
- To build up the lost muscle mass again after two weeks of fasting, six months of hard training in the fitness center are required.
- Over-acidification of the body is promoted, instead of fighting with the welfare chamfering
- For very overweight people with cardiovascular problems, fasting is downright dangerous, because the heart muscle is not spared from muscle loss.
The chamfering critic Mueller guesses against it to one chamfering day per week. For core-healthy humans, one chamfering day can be already very helpful, in order to switch its body to zero and to return afterward with healthy nutrition, more movement, and relaxation to normal life.