To Eat or Not to Eat

To Eat or Not to Eat

OP. DR. YUNUS DOĞAN



Belly rolls and stomach rumbles

Spring is coming and if you’re researching plastic surgery in Istanbul, you might be aware that the Muslim holiday Ramadan has just begun. This month-long holiday centers around generosity and selflessness, symbolized by devout fasting during the day. Depending on a Muslim’s geographical location, daylight could last up to 16 hours, subjecting them to what is known as intermittent fasting.

This fasting can symbolize spiritual discipline and empathy toward those less-fortunate, but intermittent fasting is not just for religious purposes. Per healthline.com, there are science-based health benefits of fasting:
  • Reduces blood sugar levels and controls insulin resistance
  • Fights inflammation
  • Improves heart health
  • Prevents brain disorders
  • Aids weight loss by limiting calories AND boosting metabolism
  • Increases growth hormones
  • May help you live longer
  • May prevent cancer and enhance benefits of chemotherapy
Remember when we advised you on making a quick recovery after your plastic surgery with proper nutrition? Then we told you that your long game should include the right fuel for your new body to keep it in peak operating condition. Finally, we revealed how to support your end game with a detailed list of excellent edibles.

But maybe you don’t need to eat as much as you think. Can you heal properly from plastic surgery while fasting? Were we wrong to set the table with all our nutrient-dense recommendations? Do you just need a little water for hydration? Read on to learn about the different kinds of fasting methods as well as whether they will boost or bust you.

How to fast

There are many different ways to fast. You can ask your doctor, your personal trainer and that neighbor that runs past your house every morning; they each have a different idea about “the best” method. Mindbodygreen has a great article defining a few different techniques and providing the benefits and bummers of each. In addition to the aforementioned intermittent fasting, there are also:
  • Circadian fasting, where your meals make like the Earth and revolve around the sun. When the sun’s up and your body’s cortisol levels are high, you eat. As the day progresses, cortisol drops and melatonin takes over. Your body will need less food and you absolutely need to stop eating by 7 PM.
  • Alternate-day fasting (ADF) or modified ADF, where you fast every other day. There are varying degrees of commitment to this technique: some fasters adhere to a strict 36-hour window of zero calories taken in, while others modify their ADF and limit their calories to around 500 on “fasting” days.
  • 5:2, where you eat a regular diet five days a week and restrict your caloric intake to 500-600 calories on the other two days. Water and black coffee are usually the only acceptable things you can put in your body during fasting times.
In addition to fasts defined by duration of time, there are also various ways to restrict certain aspects of your diet, such as strictly juice or water fasts. Pour a tall glass of water and sit down to research all the options before you decide which type of fast you’re interested in.

When (or if) to fast

Internationally known American Johns Hopkins University Medicine identified four groups of people who should not fast under any circumstance, including children under 18 years old, pregnant or breast-feeding women, insulin-dependent type1 diabetics and people with a history of eating disorders. Note that post-surgical patients are not included in this disclaimer.

The very first thing a patient recovering from plastic surgery should do is talk to their doctor about fasting. Your ability to safely and effectively fast will be determined by your overall health and individual situation. Explain to your doctor why you’re considering fasting and keep an open mind.

In your post-surgical state, any relief you can get from inflammation (swelling) will be welcome. There’s also some data driven from laboratory-tested animals indicating that fasting improves overall tissue health and healing. As bokdoc.com suggests, fasting can improve your immune system, which will help you fight off infections and promote healing.

It also promotes autophagy - the process where your body automatically removes damaged or unwanted cells - further promoting healing. Hydration revives your tissue and is not an issue during a fast as long as you continue to drink water, even when you’re not eating.

On the other hand, while fasting, you may put your body into a dangerous deficit of the nutrients and vitamins it needs to repair itself. Adversely, bokdoc.com also claims that you may delay wound healing by fasting, although this website fails to quote any official studies.

The last stitch

Depending on where you are in your plastic surgery journey, you may have heard conflicting advice and suggestions for anything and everything: how many stitches it takes to close an extended tummy tuck, what type of compression garment and pillow are best for your BBL (Brazilian butt lift,) when you can start exercising after your breast reduction… each surgeon has their own opinion and experience.

Likewise, there is no clear direction on whether or not you should try fasting after your plastic surgery. If you can appreciate the benefits and understand how to manage your caloric intake, consider fasting to boost your healing as long as your surgeon agrees to its benefits. Just make sure to consume all that good good when you’re able to eat. A little bit of fasting may reap results everlasting.

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