(Jae Berman/ Washington Post) — Fasting is an ancient practice sparking new interest in both pop and scientific culture. Entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and a variety of celebrities have extolled its virtues in helping them lose weight, while medical experts are intrigued by the possibility that it may enhance cognitive functioning and longevity and help treat and prevent some diseases.
As researchers study the different fasting mechanisms to try to determine the ideal protocol for a variety of outcomes in a variety of populations, however, the general public must proceed by trial and error.
That leaves dietitians such as myself concerned that the hype around fasting could encourage people to follow harmful plans that severely restrict nutrients, cause stress or unsuccessfully treat serious conditions. (…)