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Fasting: Just The Facts

The why, the when and the way to do it healthily!

We all fast all the time – every night when we sleep we go without food for several hours, and when we wake up in the morning we break the fast – that’s where the name comes from!

Fasting is not eating for a set period of time – 24 hours, or between certain times such as sunrise and sunset. Sometimes fasting can include drinking water or eating a small, simple meal but sometime nothing can pass your lips during your fast, it depends on the type of fast and its purpose.

Why do people fast?

  • For religious reasons
  • Before a medical procedure
  • To raise money by being sponsored

It’s best not to fast when…

  • When you have exams – as lack of food will affect your ability to perform
  • When you have a period – because you need to be hydrated, and lack of food might increase stomach cramps – ouch
  • If you are diabetic or have other long-term conditions – because missing meals may affect your medication, which may effect your health
  • If you have a cold, flu, sore throat, headache – because you need high levels of energy to fight infection and food in your stomach will help absorb medication quicker
true or false
Fasting is a great way for young people to lose weight
TRUE FALSE
Sorry - it's false! Fasting is not a good way for young people to lose weight – as a general rule if you are still growing you shouldn’t be considering fasting; this includes the 5:2 diet. This is because your body needs to have regularly meals and planned healthy snacks daily to meet your vitamins, minerals and calories intake to grown properly.
Yup! Fasting is not a good way for young people to lose weight – as a general rule if you are still growing you shouldn’t be considering fasting; this includes the 5:2 diet. This is because your body needs to have regularly meals and planned healthy snacks daily to meet your vitamins, minerals and calories intake to grown properly.
true or false
You can still have your immunisation vaccines if you are fasting
TRUE FALSE
Correct! It is safe to have your immunisations if you are fasting, but it’s best to tell your school nurse before the immunisation, and to drink plenty of water throughout the day, and to eat at the next opportunity.
It's actually true! It is safe to have your immunisations if you are fasting, but it’s best to tell your school nurse before the immunisation, and to drink plenty of water throughout the day, and to eat at the next opportunity.

How to get help

If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your public health nurse.

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