“Anytime you’re stressed, you probably go for food,” Dr. Seltzer says. (Have we met?!) That’s because cortisol, the stress hormone, stokes your appetite for sugary, fatty foods. No wonder it’s associated with higher body weight, according to a 2007 Obesity study that quantified chronic stress exposure by looking at cortisol concentrations in more than 2,000 adults’ hair.
Bloating is directly attributed to water retention, which is something that cucumbers are known to prevent. Water rushes out of the system when cucumbers are consumed consistently. They are especially good for handling weight gain due to a menstrual cycle. Cholesterol is combated by oranges, which also assist the immune systems functions. The other citrus fruits in this blend emphasize a deep intestinal cleansing. Meanwhile, the mint fosters fast nutrient absorption and energy conversion. In general, it also quickens and eases digestion, especially for those who have ulcers or hernias. This recipe focuses on functionality over flavor, but it still has a decent taste.
How does fasting produce these benefits? Professor Valter Longo of USC, one of the leading researchers on fasting and longevity, hypothesizes that fasting forces your body to recycle many of its immune cells, particularly white blood cells. Then your body works hard to replenish its white blood cells, essentially re-setting parts of your immune system. Longo is also the inventor of the fast-mimicking diet, where you eat a special diet for 5 days every month, one that makes your body think you're fasting even though you're getting adequate calories and nutrients. (See Alice Walton's story in Forbes for more about that.)
Fasting is an age-old practice that is often carried out for religious reasons. But these days, when people have become more concerned about their weight, fasting is more often practiced to lose weight, than for religious reasons. During fasting, people eat little to no food. It is true that fasting results in weight loss but there are also some negative effects for the same.
With this new-found popularity, the number and type of cleanse diets has soared, from food-based "liver detoxes" to liquid-only fasts for several weeks and everything in between. While the extreme cleanses often get a bad rap—Beyonce confessed that drinking the maple syrup-lemon-cayenne pepper concoction made her "cranky"—many women swear by cleanse diets to lose weight, increase energy, and even help clear up acne.