The Health Benefits of Fasting

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Biology 103
2002 First Paper
On Serendip

The Health Benefits of Fasting

Will Carroll

There has been much contention in the scientific field about whether or not fasting is beneficial to one's health. Fasting is an integral part of many of the major religions including Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Many are dubious as to whether the physiological effects are as beneficial as the spiritual promoted by these religions. There is a significant community of alternative healers who believe that fasting can do wonders for the human body. This paper will look at the arguments presented by these healers in an attempt to raise awareness of the possible physiological benefits that may result from fasting.

Fasting technically commences within the first twelve to twenty-four hours of the fast. A fast does not chemically begin until the carbohydrate stores in the body begin to be used as an energy source. The fast will continue as long as fat and carbohydrate stores are used for energy, as opposed to protein stores. Once protein stores begin to be depleted for energy (resulting in loss of muscle mass) a person is technically starving. (1)

The benefits of fasting must be preceded by a look at the body's progression when deprived of food. Due to the lack of incoming energy, the body must turn to its own resources, a function called autolysis. (2) Autolysis is the breaking down of fat stores in the body in order to produce energy. The liver is in charge of converting the fats into a chemical called a ketone body, "the metabolic substances acetoacetic acid and beta-hydroxybutyric acid" (3), and then distributing these bodies throughout the body via the blood stream. "When this fat utilization occurs, free fatty acids are released into the blood stream and are used by the liver for energy." (3) The less one eats, the more the body turns to these stored fats and creates these ketone bodies, the accumulation of which is referred to as ketosis. (4)

Detoxification is the foremost argument presented by advocates of fasting. "Detoxification is a normal body process of eliminating or neutralizing toxins through the colon, liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph glands, and skin." (5). This process is precipitated by fasting because when food is no longer entering the body, the body turns to fat reserves for energy. "Human fat is valued at 3,500 calories per pound," a number that would lead one to believe that surviving on one pound of fat every day would provide a body with enough energy to function normally. (2) These fat reserves were created when excess glucose and carbohydrates were not used for energy or growth, not excreted, and therefore converted into fat. When the fat reserves are used for energy during a fast, it releases the chemicals from the fatty acids into the system which are then eliminated through the aforementioned organs. Chemicals not found in food but absorbed from one's environment, such as DDT, are also stored in fat reserves that may be released during a fast. One fasting advocate tested his own urine, feces and sweat during an extended fast and found traces of DDT in each. (5)

A second prescribed benefit of fasting is the healing process that begins in the body during a fast. During a fast energy is diverted away from the digestive system due to its lack of use and towards the metabolism and immune system. (6) The healing process during a fast is precipitated by the body's search for energy sources. Abnormal growths within the body, tumors and the like, do not have the full support of the body's supplies and therefore are more susceptible to autolysis. Furthermore, "production of protein for replacement of damaged cells (protein synthesis) occurs more efficiently because fewer 'mistakes' are made by the DNA/RNA genetic controls which govern this process." A higher efficiency in protein synthesis results in healthier cells, tissues and organs. (7) This is one reason that animals stop eating when they are wounded, and why humans lose hunger during influenza. Hunger has been proven absent in illnesses such as gastritis, tonsillitis and colds. (2) Therefore, when one is fasting, the person is consciously diverting energy from the digestive system to the immune system.

In addition, there is a reduction in core body temperature. This is a direct result of the slower metabolic rate and general bodily functions. Following a drop in blood sugar level and using the reserves of glucose found in liver glycogen, the basal metabolic rate (BMR) is reduced in order to conserve as much energy within the body as can be provided. (2) Growth hormones are also released during a fast, due to the greater efficiency in hormone production. (7)

Finally, the most scientifically proven advantage to fasting is the feeling of rejuvenation and extended life expectancy. Part of this phenomenon is caused by a number of the benefits mentioned above. A slower metabolic rate, more efficient protein production, an improved immune system, and the increased production of hormones contributes to this long-term benefit of fasting. In addition to the Human Growth Hormone that is released more frequently during a fast, an anti-aging hormone is also produced more efficiently. (7) "The only reliable way to extend the lifespan of a mammal is under-nutrition without malnutrition." (5) A study was performed on earthworms that demonstrated the extension of life due to fasting. The experiment was performed in the 1930s by isolating one worm and putting it on a cycle of fasting and feeding. The isolated worm outlasted its relatives by 19 generations, while still maintaining its youthful physiological traits. The worm was able to survive on its own tissue for months. Once the size of the worm began to decrease, the scientists would resume feeding it at which point it showed great vigor and energy. "The life-span extension of these worms was the equivalent of keeping a man alive for 600 to 700 years." (8)

In conclusion, it seems that there are many reasons to consider fasting as a benefit to one's health. The body rids itself of the toxins that have built up in our fat stores throughout the years. The body heals itself, repairs all the damaged organs during a fast. And finally there is good evidence to show that regulated fasting contributes to longer life. However, many doctors warn against fasting for extended periods of time without supervision. There are still many doctors today who deny all of these points and claim that fasting is detrimental to one's health and have evidence to back their statements. The idea of depriving a body of what society has come to view as so essential to our survival in order to heal continues to be a topic of controversy.



1)"Dr. Sniadach – True Health Freedom 3


3)"Ketosis by Sue Reith"

4)"Nutriquest, March 11th, 2000 – Ketosis and Low Carbohydrate Diets"

5)"WebMD – Detox Diets: Cleansing the Body"


7)"Fasting – Good Morning Doctor"

8)"The health Benefits of Fasting"



Comments made prior to 2007

Great essay. Do you have one good referrence on how to stage a fast? I am looking for a safe way to stage a fast in my home. Does it require special teas or anything outside of water? ... Elie, 30 September 2005



The term for the breaking down of fat is lipolysis, not autolysis. Autolysis is the self-destruction of cells ... Paul, 3 April 2007


Serendip Visitor's picture

how to reduce weight in natural way

Actually the main concern is your weak will power.You take it as a goal and have to decided that when you are hungry you eat more vegetables and fruits. You can take 6 meals a day ,after every 2 hours in small quantity. Get rid of all sweet items,bakery products and eat whole grain cereals. Drink 10-15 glasses of water.

Alex's picture

I am so hungry

Dude try a honey and water fast. You can drink tea too and put honey in that. Honey is delicious and really good for you too. Its so easy. I started mine today and I've had no problems so far, I just feel really light and kind of euphoric. At first you might feel a little irritable but once you break through its amazing. I'm pretty determined though and I think this is essential when fasting. Just try it for three days and eat only fruits and veggies for 2 days after, preferably blend or juice the veggies. Remember that YOU always have the choice to eat and YOU can always say no. Mind over matter bro!

betty cooper's picture


I found that in order to fast, I have to start at the beginning of a day. If I ever put food into my mouth, then I cannot do it that day. But if I do not start eating, then I can do it. I think this is your problem. If you do not start your stomach working on food, then you can fast. So instead of eating something in the morning, just start your fast then and you can do it.

Serendip Visitor's picture

for me it is diffrent if my

for me it is diffrent if my mom wakes me up i can fast with ease but its worse with out eaating first mabey its because im still young

becca's picture


Yes, I must say that it is very hard to fast. I am on my second day of a fast and struggling although I have fasted on and off for years. This time I am doing a 30 day fast. You must remember that flesh is dumb and does not know whether you are feeding it or not. Also, the good thing is that your appetite will go completely away around the 6 or 7th day. I fasted 21 days 2 years ago and on the 15th day I had so much energy, I just wanted to run and run. I only drink distilled water and nothing else. There are days like today that I must just clench my fist and my teeth and grin and bear it. But when I know that all my systems are relaxing and resting and healing themselves, it is much easier. I brush my teeth often.. that helps and as soon as I get home from work I take a nice tepid bath to relax. Also, if watching t.v. I look away at food commercials. It is so very tough but the results are so worth it. My skin and eyes become very clear and it seems to clear the cobwebs away. I really can say that I enjoy it and feel that it is the best thing for healing. I hope this helps.

djescapes's picture


Hungry for sugar? You probably have yeast/fungus/parasites thus your cravings for sugar. Definitely fast-commit to healthy food choices-Do not fast on water alone! Drink freshly made veggie/apple juices, take spirulina for protein, add green powder(all natural) to your water-this is not easy-one reason fasting is also a spiritual practice-takes discipline and strong will-You are strong you can do it! Start with a day and work your way up! Try starting your fast after dinner some evening, easier when you are sleeping! Good luck

roctuff's picture

adjust slowly


yeah i too have the same issues. but i think there are ways to make it easier.. i'm 39 5'7" @143lbs. i would say to compromise. first hydration is critical when fasting especially if your active like myself. i have 32oz of green tea in the morning. then i work out in the afternoon but i too have fatigue issues but fight my way through. i start with cardio cuz it gets my adrenaline moving. il jump rope for 30 minutes and do my weight workouts. nothing extreme just light weights with hi reps. and alot resistant exercises like pushups, chin-up, sit-ups. i use weights for my legs. but here's the compromise. i usually have around 50 to 60 ouces of water that i boil than cool off. i squeeze 2 limes and put 1 tsp of himillayan salt and that really replenshes me. il have it during and after my workout. so i usually end of with 90 ounces of liquids since i work out i have to make sure to replace water and salt loss. the limes take the pings away in your stomach and really does refreshen you. i usually last 4 to 5 days then eat only soft boiled eggs for the day when i break my fast. try that.

MajorFoodAddict's picture

My Hunger Management Story

I have been "IFing", eating & fasting on alternate days, for approximately 3 months. Today I finished a 45-hour fast during which I drank only non-caloric liquids. My discomfort during fasts is not due to hunger, but rather to my love of food and boredom in the absence of it. Simply put, food, and carbs in particular, are my drug of choice, period.

In my  personal experience, the fewer carbs that I consume during eating days, the less hunger I will have on my fasting days. Conversely, the more carbs I eat, the hungrier I am. The secret for me, in limiting my food weaknesses, is to avoid carbs as much as I can. Sometimes I do better than others. I accept that this is a lifetime struggle with my food addictions and, sometimes, I fall off of that wagon. It is not easy, and sometimes I have to take one day at a time.

I hope that my experience is of some value to you. Keep your chin up. Good luck!  :-) 

Serendip Visitor's picture

water Fasting

Hi, I have read your story , which was quite touching, and would love to help. ~You need to increase the intake of water - at least 8 glasses spread out during the day , while eating more fruits instead of sweets. There may be a deficiency in your diet if the craving continues. Try changing your diet to higher levels of protein and fibre such as oat meal( if you are not wheat intolerant) and try and increase your level of greens and salads. Ensure you start your day with protein or porridge that is a slow release carbohydrate,that is makes you less hungry. Each time you feel hungry , try having a glass of water or fruit juice( fresh juice), you may get more advise on Thanks

scott's picture

intentions of fasting

To put simply fasting is considered spiritual when you intentions are good. Try saying to the Creator " please accept my intention to fast "Creator" or whatever you concieve him to be and watch your life transform. Also he doesn't want you to starve so just do it during daylight or night time. Good luck as this builds faith regardless of religion.

Serendip Visitor's picture

I am having a hard time with

I am having a hard time with my water fast. I am on day 15 of a 30 day water fast. The reason I am doing it is because I am terribly obese and I need to create a better eating habit and this will teach me control and patience. Back to my question, my weight lose has hit a plateau. I havent lost a pound in many days. What could be happening. The sole purpose of this water fast is not to lose a ton of weight really fast but I am a bit worried because I'm not eating anything. I've still been experiencing hunger pangs is my body telling me that I've taken it too far. I really would appreciate a speedy response. I dont want to make things worse for myself.

Roxanne's picture


I have fasted for years (water only), There once was a fasting farm in New York State and I went every 6 months religiously and learned much about fasting under the owner-physician's supervision. Since it closed, I do it on my own. That is why I know that when fasting, usually you hit a plateu of weight wherein you do not drop a pound but seem to stay the same. It lasts a few days but weight loss resumes. Always check your tongue. If a white coating appears on the tongue, it is time to stop the fast as that is a warning that the next step is starvation, which stage you never want to enter. I also learned there that everyone has a "fasting limit." and each body is different - some can go a week, 3 weeks, etc That is why you check the tongue;;the white will appear when your particular body has reach its fasting limit. The fasting farm broke our fast with oranges.

Serendip Visitor's picture

White coating on tongue

I'm not sure who has told you that white coating on the tongue means break the fast it means starvation. I think there is a reason your fasting farm closed down.I know you said it was under the care of. Physician but from my experience there are many/ most GP's that know about nothing about nutrition let alone fasting!! I am now studying holistic nutrition and already studyied Ayurveda and detox in India. . The white coating does not mean starvation! Please stop telling people this. When you do a fast toxins come out from everywhere, in your body including the tongue. In Ayruveda the white coating means you have Ama , which is undigested food in your digestive system. When doing a fast( or even if your not) You should scrape your tongue and then gargle with rock/ sea salt to kill the bacteria. IF ANYTHING you should break the fast when your tongue is CLEAR of the white oating. Also your system is fragile after fasting, it should not be broken with oranges! They are far to acidic for a sensitive system, it should be broken with some non citrus fruits, vegetablse, and veggie soups( no dairy or meat) for approx 3 days. Then you an add in other foods slowly but avoid sugars , processed , fried and fatty food. No fast food! Fasting can be dangerous if not done properly, please everyone do your homework , talk to someone QUALIFiED before going on a fast. There are many " fasting farms" jumping on the trendy money wagon and not teaching how to do things properly.

Serendip Visitor's picture

If I were you I would seek

If I were you I would seek medical advice before continuing the fast further. I am NOT an expert on fasting, but I have been reading a lot about it and in one highly scientific (sounding) paper, a doctor said that extended fasting for morbidly obese people may be dangerous, because although you have ample fats to burn, your muscle mass may not be high. You do lose some muscle mass during fasting and it may be hard on your heart muscle to do this for extended periods of time. Take my comment with a grain of salt because I know very little on fasting. I applaud you on your 15 days!

Raymond's picture


I've been fasting on and off since I was 40 years old. I am 71 now. Fasting is really needs a lot of well power and faith. I started on distiled water alone but I found out that you can do juice fasting also. What I do I mix a little amount of fruit juice to a glass of distiled water. If you are christian and you believe in god then think all the time that our body is the temple of our soul. Our soul belongs to god and so therefore, our soul deserve a clean temple. I always put in my mind that Jesus Christ fasted 40 days and forty nights. He is a living being like us. Gandhi fasted also for many days to liberate India from colonizer ( England). Also put in your mind that walk by faith not by sight. I am going to start fasting again tomorrow. I feel that I need it again. Make a habit to fast one day a week. If you want to know more about fasting then buy book. I recomend " The Miracle of Fasting" by Paul Bragg. Go to his website and buy book.

Serendip Visitor's picture

When in doubt, eat something.

When in doubt, eat something. Don't just NOT eat because you didn't get a fast response.

15 days without eating?! Thats extreme. Why don't you try intermitten fasting. One day on, one day off.

I made a simple calculator in excel that estimates how long it would take me to drop anywhere between 1 - 100 pounds.

You can do the same thing. But for fucks sake... eat something dude.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Wikipedia "starvation" I

Wikipedia "starvation" I remember reading something about plateaus during a fast, and typically there are different periods of "starvation" mode that your body goes into, and they explain how to monitor this. Technically, they say, a healthy person should be able to go 30 days, drinking water only, with no impact on body function, immune function, etc. You may have an underlying health condition that is keeping you from reaching your goal, or , you may just be going through an adjustment which is normal. The body does not burn fat at the same rate all the time.

Serendip Visitor lisaemc2's picture

In Reply to the Article

I tried getting as much info about fasting as I could before I started fasting. As anyone can tell you, there's good, bad & some down right criminal advice out there so it's hard to find relevant & helpful info on the subject. Thank goodness for growing awareness of fasting in the medical world & people wanting to share their experiences. I hadn't fasted until a few years ago because I used to smoke a great deal, loved to drink & was sure I would do it wrong. My 1st fast was for 4 days & I thoroughly enjoyed it. I no longer smoke but that wasn't the reason I started to fast. I feel extremely lucky as after 30 yrs of smoking I just said one day "I'm gonna quit. Doc, what'cha got for me?" I was on the patch for 2 weeks then just forgot to put them on. It's been 4 yrs in June. I still drink but when I plan to fast I stop completely for a week before I even begin my preparation. I lose 1-2 lbs from that alone. I'm on a 14 day fast right now. It's day 6. I continued to work out (yoga, elliptical & dynamic weight lifting.) but have eased up on that a lot. I do my entire yoga routine but just my joint therapies. I did 2 days of juice then water/lemon/honey & cayenne pepper 4x a day. I'm drinking a ton of water & still feel I'm not drinking enough. Lots & lots of green tea. I have an alarm set for every hour for 6 hours of the day to make sure I drink my H2o. I did a colon clease yesterday. The body temp they talk about is for real. I usually do @ 20 mins on the elliptical & my heart rate would be in the 180s. Now it's hovering around 145 & I don't break a sweat. I'm having a hard time w/ cravings because my boyfriend doesn't know how to cook for himself so I do it. Plus my down stairs neighbour fills the hallway w/ aromas of red meat, cookies & home made soups. I've found that if you really try you can have tunnel vision when you're in the kitchen, in the pantry, in the fridge. I know what my water & honey look like so... They say you experience bad breath, check. Slimy skin (more than just perspiration), check. Pimples, check. What I haven't experienced is the foul body odor. I just smell like me, no better no worse. I'm doing all things mentioned in the article & am doing well. Believe me when I tell you a hot soak in Epsom salts, a loofah scrub down & a massage puts the cherry on the cake? Cherry on the yoghurt. The whole experience calms my mind, eases my discomfort & makes me a nice person to be around. I've read a lot about breaking the fast. Some people say raw fruits & veggies. Some say cooked veggies because they are soft. What I do is for the 1st 2 days I drink broth like miso. Then I go on to soft fruits & veggies, tofu. Pears, plums, bananas, watermelon (no skin of course & no citrus, this means tomatoes too) avocados. I mix in yoghurt. Almond butters. Rice. Tempeh. Then I move to all the raw veggies & fruit. And finally eggs & raw fish. I don't like sweets & I'm not a fan of meats but they are so easy because they are always around. My weaknesses are crackers & cheese, popsicles & pasta. Oh lord, give me the strength to know the difference between craving & real hunger. Good luck to everyone. I hope you find what you're looking for.

Ali's picture

when breaking your fast, eat

when breaking your fast, eat 2-3 dates, they can be found at many supermarkets or middle-eastern stores

Serendip Visitor's picture

Thank You

I appreciate your article, very informative.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Basis of Fasting

While one may find examples of fasting in many disparate 'religions', fasting traces its root back to ayurvedic medical principles (as far back as the written word can trace it, via sanskrit). It likely existed long before that, as common sense dictates that if your health or mental wellbeing are out of balance via food, then perhaps a break from said will aid in restoring balance.

Currently on day 11 of a 45 day fast, and then a two week tapering long as knawing hunger does not return.

Reasons? Uncontrollable anger (sugar rage) has cost me my family. I was slightly overweight, but weight was not the reason. With fasting my body has balanced blood glucose to normal within days, whereas it was in the mid two-hundreds before. Clarity of thought and balanced reactions to lifes occurences have also returned.

Via fasting I wish to get rid of all glucose stores and re-establish a valid baseline going forward.

As to 'spiritualism', do you know that the word Faith in Sanskrit means...Reason?

Danny's picture

Heres Hoping

Hi. My name is Danny. I am on the 2nd day of a "Water fast." I am doing it for 4 key reasons. First, I am constantly angry and I hear fasting helps to help with things like that. Second, I have never been a spiritual person and I have been so lost since my mother passed. I am hoping that during my fast something will happen to help me find a point. Third, I have never really completed anything in my life. So if I complete this, I am hoping it will boost my confidence. Lastly, I weigh 324 pounds... Hears hoping to change that.

Elizabeth lutz's picture

Seek Jesus

I was deeply moved by your desire for help! I too have struggled with emotional issues and weight issues. Life can be very difficult. I tried so many things and it wasn't until I began reading the Bible (good old fashioned holy bible) that I found real help!!! Jesus is real and He will help you!!! If you have never prayed before I would love say/type a pray for you:
Heavenly Father,
I pray right now for Danny. God I ask that you would reveal yourself to him. I pray that he would come to know how much you love him. I pray you would make what Jesus did on the cross a reality for him. I thank you God for your awesomeness and strength. That you God help those who call to you. Please comfort Danny and give him a hope and a future according to your word.
In Jesus name amen.

I am going to continue to pray for you. I believe it was no accident that I stumble across this webpage. I know God has a plan for your life:)

Your friend,

Serendip Visitor mory's picture


I can't encourage you enough with this, Danny. I used to be 265 lbs, at 5'4". I now fast 3 days a week for health-- no idea how much I weigh, but I have a 34 inch waist. but it's not about wt loss, it's about health, happiness... Might also encouage you to consider Jesus--- not nessarily any denomination, but just Jesus. It's written "He knocks at the door of heart"

Laughing Buddha's picture

Good luck Danny, believe in

Good luck Danny, believe in yourself and you can achieve anything! Just take it one step at a time.

Scientist's picture

Thank you

for the author for an informative article, and I'm sorry for my negative burst. I'm just sad to see these parasitic religious people try to make every decent place into their playground of psychotic madness.

Scientist's picture

Effing religious freaks

What the eff are you discussing your sick bullshit in here for? This is not a religious forum. Go spread your schizophrenia somewhere else.

- Not religious, on my 7th day on fast now. I feel very peaceful and calm, except just now, when I saw your bulls*it.

-Sincerely, a fasting atheist who is quite happy with her life without imaginary ghosts up in the sky.

betty cooper's picture

your hate?

I wonder why you atheists expect US to be tolerant of you and sin, and yet you have none for us, who love Jesus and people? When WE speak of our God and his love and help for others, we speak out of LOVE. Why do you hate this love? Why are you so mad at US for speaking what we know and feel, and expect to be able to spew out your venom? When you enjoy food, air, water and life, you are existing on the very things Our God made; yet you hate him. God is everywhere, in the air he made, so why not speak of him everywhere? You have no exclusive right to have it your way all the time.

Nick's picture

a rather foolish comment

As I have researched the topic of Fasting, I have found that most people who do this consider themselves "Believers" of a Divine Being. As for me, I absolutely believe in a Heavenly Father, Some call him God... With this is mind, I believe your comment is the equivalent of an atheist walking into a Church and saying "You effing religious freaks need to quit bothering me with your BS". Wouldn't it be foolish to do that? Many of the people who fast, and comment on these forums are having a deeply religious experience. I would say that an atheist who fasts is certainly in the minority, hence the analogy of walking into a Church...

Fasting has many benefits for many people, atheists and non-atheists alike. We can respect each others perspective without being negative. Please don't insult other people for sharing their positive experiences.

Serendip Visitor's picture

I would wager that anyone who

I would wager that anyone who starts a comment with "effing" is not "quite happy with her life."

Serendip Visitor's picture

religion has nothing to do

religion has nothing to do with ghosts up in the sky! lol i doubt that you know anything about religion

Serendip Visitor's picture


Take a chill pill. Your little rant came across just as religious and pretty intolerant. My advice: take all that stored "fat" and metabolize it into something more beneficial... maybe say like a... more comprehensive vocabulary where you don't find yourself having to resort to obscenities and profanity in an attempt to make your point. Have a better day!

Serendip Visitor's picture

Raw Food Detox Retreat

I am planning to attend an upcoming raw food detox retreat in Sedona, so, I really enjoyed this article. My weight goes up and down, and I'm definitely an emotional eater. I eat mostly for entertainment and out of boredom. I'm not depressed, by, being fat makes me feel depressed.

So, this Bodymind healing retreat is coming up, April 6-10, 2011 in Sedona, and I'm going. I'm looking forward to detoxing, and using this as a jumping off point to change to a healthy lifestyle.

There's still open space in the Body Mind Healing Retreat. Here's a link to the info for anyone who's interested Maybe I'll see you there!

Charles's picture


Nice to read this article. Fasting in our modern world is not "hot" but has got a lot of benefits. Maybe a new trend in 2012 ?

Ajay's picture

Very Good Article.

Very well written article on a complex subject. All the biological benefits of fasting are laid out in an articulate manner. And as one pointed out, once in a week is also one of the best ways of fasting.
However, the turning of comments from physio/psycho-logical benfits to an argument over religious practices and preachings, is very sad. Appreciate the author for this brilliantly informative blog.

gpbilion's picture

Very good advice I am a

A good way to get started fasting is to
'prefast'- eliminate caffeine sugars carbs and red meat for a time varying on your bodies toxicity level. The headaches and sickness that come when people start to fast happens because of toxins in there body. I have done quite a few fasts and I used to not be able to get beyond the 1 st day and a have and I have learned to do up to 21 days water fast.
It's is also crucial in how you break your fast. I have found activia yogurt is a great way to restart the digestive process, I do that for a day then veg soups then salads and lastly breads and meats
Break your fast wrong and you will hurt yourself physically

Acts 2:38, Ephesians 4:5's picture

Just my input, fasting is for

Just my input, fasting is for you to focus on God and what you are asking him to do. We fast so we can put our attention on a problem we have or something we want from God. Somethings only come by fasting and praying the Bible says. We should strive to fast, also to pray and to read the Bible when we do. The Bible says that he is the living water and also that he is the bread of life so we should pray and read when fasting. It also gives opportunity for God to speak to us through his word (the Bible) and when you are talking to him in prayer.

Sharon Balloch's picture


I am a Christian and I have fasted many times, I have done a forty day fast and many twenty days. I was told that I would be weak and tired in my fasting, and yet on my 40 day fast I had to exercise two hours a day just to burn off my excess energy.. I have never felt better in my life. I also do the Daniel fast that Daniel did in the bible.. that is veggies and water, while this fast seems like it would be easier it is not but it is a good fast for those who can not do a no food fast. And those who do it, just wait until you see how your body is actually supposed to work.. it is wonderful.

Josephine's picture

Other suggestions

Hi Sharon, I was planning to go on a 40 day water only fast like Jesus did. Twice I attempted (as a start) a 7 day fast only to give up twice by the end of the third day. This is because by the middle of the third day, I would have a combination of vertigo, headache and vomitings even though I have not eaten for almost 3 days. When the vomiting starts, any liquid I consume will come out through my mouth.
I tried just a fruits and vegetable diet as a suggested preparation but after 2 days of the fruit and vegetable diet, I was already feeling slight dizziness and vertigo, and I haven't even started on the fast.
It would help if you have any other suggestions?

Serendip Visitor's picture


Hi I just read your comment on the of fasting. I am curious about the type of fast ,other than the Daniel fast, that you have done. Did you go w/o food & water & was it just w/o food? I am getting ready to begin a no food/water fast & I am seeking insight on it. Any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Serendip Visitor's picture


Hi, my name is Matthew Statham, I live in New Zealand Auckland. I've done water fasts, juice fasts and partial fasts. The answer to you question depends on what you are trying to achieve with your fast. Are you trying to break an addiction? Do you want to loose weight? Maybe you want to have a deeper spiritual connection with God? Believe it or not, fasting can achieve all of these goals to one degree or another. But the kind of fast will determine the intensity and longevity of your experience. A water only fast will cause you to loose weight very quickly, detox your body, bring you into a deeper spiritual awareness very quickly, and help you break physical, emotional and psychological addiction. The Psychosomatic benefits associated with my own fasting experience have been profound and very beneficial so i want to encourage you to try water fasting. Prior to your fast you should ideally spend three days preparing. Begin with a partial fast on day one, a juice fast on day two and three, and then begin a new water only fast. If it's your first time then 5 to 10 days is more than enough.

Tina's picture

That is awesome

@Sharon, you did a 40 day fast? I would love to do a 40 day fast but I am a little scared to do it. I am on a 14 day fast right now but I was so encouraged by reading your comment. I really want my body to be heathier and I would like to get my weight under control. Please let me know how you were able to do it for 40days. I know our Lord, Jesus was able to do it but with every day life it seems almost impossible sometimes! I am encouraged!!!

Multi's picture

Fasting for 40 days

I usually do a long fast once a year. By now my body automatically shifts into the fast wehn it gets around a year or so. I have done 10 - 40 day fasts.
The most important part is how you mantain your eating afterwards.
I have done it with water only, and with juices.
or soup brouths.
I fell most comfortable having powdered green drinks and juices. It almost seems like you are not fasting and not restricting yourself.
I have always gained back all the weight I lost.
I am a healthy 61 years old,
fasting is a big part of my health program I think. I rarely exercise.

Sharon Balloch's picture


Hi Tina.. It is a long story on how I came to be fasting but in the end it was God told me to fast, and because I knew nothing about fasting except that Jesus did the 40 days in the desert that is the one I chose. Had I known that there were other kinds of fasting I probably would have chosen one of those because I admit I was a little over whelmed by the thought of 40 days. Because I had to still take care of my Mom the Lord had me drink Tomato juice which is the one juice I hate.. would rather have been prune juice.. but the Lord was right, the tomatoe juice cleaned me up inside and it because if its content my bowels never shut down as they do in many fasts. By the day 36 I was a little shaky but got over that and finished up fine. It made me feel great..
I admit I could not have done it without the Lord..and when I finished the first thing I ate was the bread for communion on sunrise service Easter morning..

Not sure if you are a born again or not but I will tell you I was healed twice during the time I was fasting, and it was amazing. I have never done 40 days since as it seems very daunting now. But I have just devoted the next year of my life to fasting the first ten days of every month so that will be a third of my year fasting.

You must be careful as I have found others not as blessed as myself and fasting was not a blessing to some.. if you find you health is not up to it the Daniel fast is the way to go.. and it makes you feel like a million bucks after a few weeks.

For weight control the ten days fasts are better than a 40 day fast as after a week or so your body shuts down into starvation mode and you lose very little weight, but ten days at a time it loses and then you stop and you do not eat as much for a while. With the Daniel fast you lose interest in food after a while as it is soooo boring. When you start to eat because your body demands it then you know you are on the road to recovery..

Hope you get what you need... and my God Bless your fasting.. and other than being born again nothing has brought me closer to God than fasting.
Your friend Sharon

Tina's picture


Sharon, I am a born again Christian! I love the Lord Jesus and believe that he is the only true and living God. So we are fellow(ladies) believers in Christ. (:
In your reply to my email you said you fasted for healing as well. My problem is that I have been trying to loose weight for many years now, going back and forth, yo-yo dieting. So I feel that its a major problem with me and I need to be healed from overeating, gluttony! So I began this journey fasting because I know that Jesus can heal us from anything but we must be willing participants as well and just not overeat because we feel like. In other words, I want to be totally set free from overeating and emotional eating. I have fasted in the past and I have noticed when I am done fasting that I don't really crave alot of food, but I actualy want to eat healthy and I really start to like vegetables, they don't even have to be seasoned. I just like the plain taste, which is actually amazing to me because I am use to eating food that has got to be well seasoned and taste really good! But after I fast, its like I receive new taste buds and I am fine. But as time goes on I began to go back to eating the way I use to and I gain even more weight back.
I guess I am saying I want a new lifestyle, a new way of eating this time around. I am water fasting for 15 days to really change the way I view food. I want to kinda change my desire for more healthy food instead of fatty foods. I am encouraged by your email because you said you were healed twice and I want to be healed from a lack of self control when it comes to eating, to becoming more disciplined with my eating. I would like to just have self control.

Danielle 11's picture

Currently on a fast and God is really working things out.

I am so encouraged to know that I am not alone in fasting to improve my faith. I am getting close to the end of a 42 day fast. This fast is awesome and God has blessed me everytime I have done this fast. He is just soooo Good. Check out these two websites and .(copy and paste them if they don't come up as a link) The thing I love about this particular fast is that the spirtual aspect is explained throughly. The fast it just a further extension to cleanse the body.If you follow this program there is NO way your spirit can't be changed. Please check this out and be blessed.

Your Sister in Christ.

Sharon Balloch's picture

Well you are not alone in

Well you are not alone in this problem Tina. I also find that I tend to eat to much when I eat.. and while fasting is great it takes a stonger will to stop eating the wrong way. I am a vegan and I still over eat.. darn potato chips!

Some day when I am not taking care of my Mom I will try a water fast.. looking forward to that. Hope you get the healing you are looking for.. and I have to say I never felt closer to God than when I was fasting.

When I am fasting I like to think of all the Christians, Muslims and Jews who are fasting at the same time as I am.. then we seem like a mighty army!

Never thought of asking for healing in the way I eat.. maybe I shall do that next time. I am going to fast the first ten days of every month starting the month Lent is in.. and continue for a year. That should be fun.. The bible says try not to look sad when you are fasting.. I have to try and wipe the smile off my face. Let me know how it goes for you.. be interested to hear..

Tina's picture

It has been 8 days now...

Sharon, I have water fasted for eight days now and it has been quite amazing. The first few days I had a lot of discomfort and upset stomaches but now I am very fine. Around about the sixth day I finally felt like my digestive system was relaxing and no more upset stomach. I truly want this fast to be a time for me to get healed from all the over eating and emotional eating.

My pastor has said before that we have to get to the "root" of the problem. In other words the very reason why we tend to over eat and emotional eating. So that is the questions I am asking myself during this fast and praying about it.

You said you were a vegan, what is it that you eat? I would really like to avoid red meats and of course all those potato chips as well!

I am aslo thinking about fasting the first 5 days of each month!!! Hope I can do it, this water fasting can make you feel very weak at first but as the days go by you actually get engerized.

Sharon Balloch's picture

glad you are over the hump..

Hi.. sorry to take so long to answer, I live on the top of snow mountian as we like to call it and sometimes the interent is just down. I had no power at all for a week before Christmas.. that was fun.
It is rough trying not to over eat sometimes.. and well potato chips actually call my name.. Did you see the show Oprah did on being vegan. A friend had me watch it and it was pretty good.

Guess we will be fasting together for the first few days of April... that will be fun.. and yes I got that energized feeling also from fasting, the opposite of what I thought it would be.

Richard 's picture

fasting, veganism

I would like to chime in here about these subjects, of which I have quite a bit of personal experience. First periodic fasting can be beneficial. You should also be careful with it, because if you are not eating well between fasts, u could develop nutritional deficiencies. I think the ideal would be something like once a week. Have you ever heard of Paul Bragg? His recommendation is once a week. I think 10 days of every month is probably too much. I think a longer one (7 days) plus probably shouldn't be done more than 3-4 times per year. If you're really serious about improving your digestion system, u might also want to look into intestinal cleanses. I would use a program recommended by a naturopath doctor. Be careful about all of those products out there. About vegetarianism and veganism, you also should be careful. I was vegetarian for 10 years, and I don't think I was any healthier than my non-vegetarian friends. I believe u can develop nutritional deficiencies with a vegan and vegetarian diet (especially veganism). You should check out the work of Weston a price. There is a Weston Price foundation that has a lot of info about diet and the concerns of veganism/vegetarianism. About eating disorders and God, I think it is really good to seek Him with all of your heart about the reason you turn to food. I believe we turn to food instead of him when we feel bad about something. There also might be emotional wounds that make us feel bad, especially when triggered by a similar event that caused the original trauma. I think seeking God in prayer and the Bible and in good Christian fellowship can be very helpful. If u can afford it, a good Christian counselor can be helpful, but u want to make sure they don't downplay our own propensity to be selfish and self-centered. Our response to what happens to us in life is almost always the source of our problems. As far as diet conclusions for me- try to eat as close to nature as u can. Avoid packaged food made in a factory. Try to eat organic meat if you are going to eat meat as it is healthier and the animals are treated ethically. Juice vegetables. Reduce all forms of sugar, even the so called healthy sugars. Limit caffeine. Exercise, but don't over do it. Too much constant intensity cardio is not optimal and can cause problems. Ideally, find something u really like doing for exercise.

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