The Muslim Fast and our Body–Ketosis
So what actually happens during a fast? A long enough fast will result in ketosis. The body will run out of its glycogen, the constant energy supply that the body produces from foods eaten and, the body starts dipping into its reserve supply stored in the fat. The body however, no matter how fat a person is, is very reluctant to dip into the stored fat, some long ago mechanism for survival of the human I suppose and will let the blood sugar level really drop, as well as let the body metabolism slow down before it actually starts to dip into the stored energy reserves. Does a person who totally fasts for about 14-18 hours in a day go into a ketosis state? This is an individual thing and, can only be determined by doing a ketone test on the urine or the breath. Some of the experiences of the faster come from reflex actions by the body. Do we feel hungry because the body does not have enough food? More often that not, the hunger pangs we get are reflex, because we eat at a certain time, so we regularly feel hungry even though our body may not need the food! When the blood sugar goes down, we may feel dizzy, and, we will not be able to stand the cold as much as when we are not fasting.
Many people get a headache when they fast, even a few hours into the fast.. The headache comes on for many reasons, some of it may have to do with a gastric reflex action, and, some of it may be due to toxins that start to get released into the blood stream because of being released from the cells. The waste matter that has been trapped in the cells and in our fat cells, start to find its way into the blood because we have given the cells time to process the metabolites in the cells by not eating. The cells start to deal with the accumulated waste products and throw them back into the blood so that they can go to the liver and the kidneys, and the skin and lungs to be released from the body. This gives rise to the smelly breath, smelly sweat, pungent urine and smelly stools the faster may experience. It may also make the faster experience diarrhoea a few days into the fast and these increased toxins in the blood, on their way out, also gives rise to the lethargy, body ache and weakness, besides the headache and dizziness that the faster experiences. It sounds bad, but leaving the toxins in the cells is much worse because there they cause the cells to degenerate and age faster. A person who has done some detox before the fast will experience much less problems from these annoying symptoms besides being simply tired and hungry.
The other reason for the gastrointestinal problems besides indiscreet breaking of the fast, is eating food that has been in the refrigerator, or worse still, kept on the table for long periods of time. Asians for example would cook rice and leave it in the pot for long hours in the hot weather and not realize that germs would
have been breeding in the rice. Or they would eat leftovers from the break fast meal for the pre dawn sahur again paving the road for ingesting germs! My advice here would be to cook enough for one meal, and to quickly refrigerate leftovers if they are to be eaten again and, to throw away the bacterial cultures and fungal
cultures that you may discover in the refrigerator after a week of fasting and accumulating left over foods, lest a hapless member of the family raids the refrigerator at night and ends up sick!