Let’s be honest with ourselves, though: as pleasant as the fantasy is, there’s no magical herb growing on a rocky mountainside in some remote part of the world that — on its own — will slim you down until you’re a trim, glowing version of yourself. In order to slenderize healthily, you already know what you need to do: eat more green vegetables, reduce your sugar intake, put the pint glass down occasionally, and exercise with something resembling regularity.
It’s important to know certain situations where fasting of any kind is not advisable. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not fast, due to the nutrient demands of the developing child. Underweight people should not fast, as it could cause dangerous levels of further weight loss. People with a history of eating disorders should take precaution with fasting, as it may lead to overall emotional and restrictive eating. Lastly, it’s not advised to do a complete fast without drinking liquids and taking electrolytes. Some may choose to do a complete fast for religious reasons, but from a health standpoint, it is not advisable, especially when doing more extended periods of fasting.
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Some foods, like fennel, increase levels of melatonin in your body, a hormone that helps you drift off at night—and per University of Granada research—may help buffer weight gain and lessen heart disease risk in healthy people. Truth: you might not find fennel tea to be palatable on its own, particularly if you’re not a licorice fan. You can buy mixed weight-loss teas like this one from Celestial Organics, which combines peppermint and fennel. (Besides this weight-loss tea, we bet you didn’t know these essential oils promote weight loss, too!)
In this study, those who took the intermittent-fasting approach lost the same amount of weight, on average, as those who cut back on calories — to 75 percent of their needs — every day. Both groups dropped about 7 percent of their body weight after six months and regained about 1 percent of their weight during the six-month weight-maintenance phase.
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.