New Delhi: Fasting during Navratri doesn't always have a religious meaning. There are many who observe nine-day fast for religious reasons, but others, especially youngsters, do so to abstain from oily food and detoxify their bodies. But experts warn that extreme starvation can play havoc with your system.

Twenty-four-year-old Nitin Mohan is not a religious person, yet he is observing the fast and is restricting his diet to liquids and fruits. The main reason for this is to get his abs in shape.

"My family observes the fast and I also do so. But I am doing so to get rid of the flab around my tummy. Hence outside binging is cut down a lot during these days," said Mohan.

"I am on strict liquid and fruit diet. Also, I will be doing cardio and ab-crunches to get better results," he added.

Noida-based fitness trainer Aamit says his young clients are fasting and asking him for quick results.

"Some of my clients confess that fasting is just a way to detoxify their bodies. But the main aim for most of them is to drop some kilos. They suddenly want you to focus on their problem areas like abs and thighs because they are consuming lesser calories than before," Aamit told the media person.

So far so good. But Mumbai-based clinical wellness specialist Namita Jain says one shouldn't adopt extreme methods as this can lead to adverse results.

"I know a lot many people who observe the fast just to lose weight. But don't misinterpret the word detoxification. It doesn't mean starving or stripping off nutrients from your body. People literally starve aimlessly during these days and as soon as the fast is over, they binge on food like never before and the end result is you pile on double weight," Jain told the media person.

"A real detoxification process involves drinking a lot of liquid to flush out toxins from your system. Eating light food that is easily digestible, eating frequently, sipping herbal teas and coconut water and doing a few breathing exercises is what detoxification is all about," she explained.

During the fast, people are either completely off food, or they gorge on "Navratra special" fried stuff and snacks and unknowingly consume double the number of calories than they would on a regular day.

"If you are having a big bowl of chips as your lunch, then you are playing with your system. It is not going to do any good to your body as chips are very fattening and loaded with cholesterol," nutrition consultant Geetu Amarnani pointed out.

"One has to watch what one is eating during the fast. You can't just keep on eating fasting snacks and potato chips all the time. They are laden with calories - much more than your daily normal intake of food.

So, one shouldn't just blindly eat (these special snacks) just because one is fasting," she added.

(Agencies)