A16 A17 Myths about Bodyweight and Fasting.

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Tarek Kareem Harris

Channel: Tarek Kareem Harris

Episode Notes

TAYYIB Book, Forward by Mufti Menk

Episode Transcript

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Chapter 16 myths and truths about bodyweight.

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If you have been eating too much for too long, never taking a break to allow your guts to rest, your body will always have high levels of sugar. And as a result, high levels of insulin, it keeps going round and round your system, telling your tissues, muscles, fat cells and your organs to keep building up fat levels. As a result, one thing is clear, your weight goes up. But more than that, two other things happen. Firstly, your pancreas which makes the insulin gets overworked. And secondly, the rest of your tissues get sort of bored or desensitized of the insulin. And it's harder and harder to convince them using the insulin to take the sugar in and build the fat. When this

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happens, you're in trouble. Because your sugar levels will creep higher and higher, and you can't control them anymore. And that is type two diabetes.

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What do you do that your body is drowning in sugar, but you can't use any of it. You get tired, confused and hungry. The extra sugar in the blood damages the kidneys makes you urinate too much. You see the doctor and he checks you out. The blood test shows that you have type two diabetes. What is the communist treatment taken? Well, you're given medicines which help force the sugar into your cells. Again, you may recognize the names in your own medicine or those of people you know, Metformin, glipizide, glipizide, and so on. And if they fails, then you have to take actual insulin by injection.

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This is not there for a cure at all. It's helping you to stay alive in this dire situation. But it does nothing to correct the root of the problem. You've been eating too much sugar, and your pancreas is worn out.

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Sure, the true solution is to stop flooding your body with sugar and bring your weight down restoring your tissues normal response to insulin. So the doctor advises you to cut out the fat and get exercising advice which as we've seen, is at best vague, and at worst, misleading. There's plenty of money spent on making medicines for diabetes, but very little spent by the health system on activities that help you lose weight. Very few doctors will actually give you a prescription for diet or to pay for your gym membership. In some countries, this is changing. And in some healthcare systems, a doctor may advise you and you might be funded to go and see a dietitian.

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But we are at the tail end of many years of misleading information that losing weight is all about calories and exercise. Low fat foods,

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exercises seldom enough to be meaningful, and hours running burns as much energy as a single chocolate bar.

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Diet is far more effective in weight control than exercise. But fats are not responsible for weight gain directly. Because facts are not the cause of high insulin levels. The culprit is actually sugars and carbohydrates. Exactly the things you'll find in your low fat diet.

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Eating fat alongside sugar is a big problem. But eating carbohydrates alone makes you fat, because the body will happily convert the extra carbohydrates into fat anyway, so neither your exercise nor your new low fat diet will actually work. Oh dear. Well, the day away is about reviewing your lifestyle and moving towards a smarter way of thinking. It involves things which seemed counterintuitive, like drinking full fat milk and having butter, skipping meals altogether by fasting. Despite vague longstanding myths that fasting is harmful, or that it slows down metabolism. The world of medicine is finally catching up with us. And now we as modern Muslims can understand

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the full depth of what the Islamic approach to food actually is. And we can reclaim this wisdom for ourselves to

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chapter 17. myths and truths about fasting

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will lead to understand wrongly that fasting leads to hunger. The mind is powerful at believing our own assumptions. So when we do fast in Ramadan, many of us think we're getting hungry. But that feeling may not be true hunger, especially once we are in the rhythm of fasting. It's more likely to be one of three other things. It could be due to thirst from dehydration, or lack of water.

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It could be the emotions of anxiety, which can be confused with hunger

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or it could be as simple

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placebo effect, you have not eaten. So you believe you are hungry if you miss a meal,

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there is a big difference between fasting and starvation. Fasting is done deliberately, with a clear and proper intention, and a mindset of moderating our behavior, minding our thoughts and words, and reflecting on our habits. starvation is not deliberate. It happens when people become malnourished due to not having access to food, because of poverty or some other misfortune. It's deeply unpleasant. And may Allah protect us all from such a fate.

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You've probably been asked by your non Muslim friends, but you don't get hungry.

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This is because they like you have come to believe the same misleading information that skipping a meal is unwise, and leads to malnutrition, slow metabolism or some other bad thing.

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What I can tell you is, this is wrong. Indeed, you may get a bit hungry in the first couple of days of fasting because your body is still learning about the change to the fat burning mode. But after this point, though, if you're getting hungry, then it's worth examining what this hunger actually is.

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The single commonest cause of this false hunger in fasting is actually thirst. Depending on where you live. This can be accentuated if it's hot and dry. It's also made worse if you've been exerting yourself excessively. And if you have not drank enough water at some time,

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there is also a kind of thirst feeling that if you suddenly stopped drinking caffeine as a result of fasting, this is often accompanied by a headache. This problem can be greatly reduced by following the correct guidance and example set in Islam. The principle is that fasting ought to be a cleansing and uplifting experience, not one of needless suffering and resentment. Our Prophet peace be upon him was sent as a mercy and His ways were those that suggested an easier path. If one can take it.

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We can see how this is shown in Islamic fasting guidelines. First of all, do get up for school and drink water at that time. If your fast is in a hot place, especially then drink plenty of water. Secondly, understand and take into account the guidance to moderate your actions and be less demanding of your body, especially in the first few days. If you go to work, think about making small adjustments that see you doing less physically and where you aren't cutting out unnecessary exertions. If this is not possible, then delay the physically demanding work to later in the day when it is cooler, and you have less time to wait until it's dark.

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Thirdly, think about planning a nap time. When you come back from work, take an hour asleep. it resets your sleep wake cycle, and releases more of the hormones which encourage fat burning, giving you a second burst of energy when you wake. If you don't have paid work and are going about household or other chores, according to your own schedule. Plan a nap time into your day, early to mid afternoon is best.

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In most healthy people, the kidneys are more than capable of handling the mild stress that comes from a lack of water over the course of 12 to 24 hours, you may well feel some thirst. But if it is not harming you see it for what it is an opportunity to show your character in a time of mild discomfort. This is among the true reasons why Islamic fasting has benefits for both mind and body. It's perfectly designed for the vast majority of healthy Muslims to become more healthy, more wise, and more mindful, empathic people. So behind Allah. If you have kidney damage from diabetes or some other cause, it would be better to avoid fasting in the Islamic way. If there is a risk that you

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will become dehydrated, you can still abstain from food for the period of fasting and drink water by doing what's called a health only fast without the need or other practices of an Islamic fast. We'll talk about this in part two, but do discuss any such plans and ideas carefully with your doctor beforehand. You will need to discuss strategies for medications and how to cope with any difficulties that might arise. It is all still perfectly doable. And in fact, I would recommend it for you if you have type two diabetes.

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I stand by the medical evidence that people with type two diabetes benefit from reversal of it to a significant or even total extent as a result of planned fasting. Don't harm your body by avoiding water if your kidneys are already not functioning well enough. Remember, it is forbidden to fast in Islam. If you risk damage

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Your health or welfare of that of those who rely upon you that do consult your doctor and be mindful of making the adjustments and go ahead with a health only fast. If you feel confident and the unpredictable things are managed

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End of Chapter