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


I am vegan and I definitely do not have any nutritional deficits. I would maybe agree with your statement that someone who is vegetarian probably is not any healthier than a non-vegetarian. I was vegetarian for almost a year before becoming vegan. Vegetarians still rely a lot of dairy, which is the culprit of my nutritional deficiencies and immune problems since it makes our blood very acidic and produces mucus and many other problems. And trying to eat as close to nature as possible definitely doesn't include animal products for me.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Got to say I am healthier

Got to say I am healthier than all my non vegetarian friends... they are all on meds or battling some disease. I am 60 and have no health issues and take no medications. As a vegan I can also say I even look healthier. Check out that little experiment Oprah did and see that the results are almost immediate for MAN lost two cup sizes ...yes ... and most all lost weight and claimed to feel much better.. many say they will stick with it, but meat is one of the most addicting of all the substances. Folk who can quit smoking can not quit meat. I have heard many say they will only to fail. Some last a few weeks, some a few months but most return to meat and diary. Thats when you hear all the health stuff, oh I need the iron, or I need the protein but we all know that the protein in greens is easier to digest and a spoonful of peanut butter is equal to one steak..
I know because I have not had a vit pill in over ten years, and I have not suffered any problems, in fact it cured a couple of health problems I had back then.
It is not that they are trying to fool others it is that they are trying to convince themselves, as it is hard to admit one can not do something, especially when the life and death of animals is involved. It is hard and for that reason I say nothing when I hear someone say oh I need the milk.. I just think to one needs that milk dear, its full of garbage and is making you sick..but I know that there is no point in telling them the truth because they already know it and have chosen to ignore it.
Took me twenty years to quit smoking so I know how hard things can be even if you really want something very badly as I did to quit smoking. So folks trying to quit meat and diary is a victory of its own, they just have to keep on trying.. may take them twenty years but a victory is a victory. And I will be cheering on the side lines..

Sharon Balloch's picture

Hi Richard.. thanks for your

Hi Richard.. thanks for your concern. I am not a vegan because of health issues I am one because I love animals. I could not eat a piece of cow no matter who raised it or how kindly they killed it.. it is like ashes in my mouth. So as you can see it is not an option to eat meat, or anything that causes suffering to an animal.
As for health.. well I also have been a vegetarian for over a decade and I can tell you I am in better shape then ALL of my friends. All of them take drugs of one sort or another, most of them take more than that. Most of them have had a round of two with one disease or another, mostly cancer.
When you get bowel cancer the first thing the specialist will tell you is no more meat.. and Physicans for Responsible Medicine have been screaming this message for years.
But even if none of this was so I would still not be eating meat as God took it from me, and then drug me to the door of the Ark and showed me that when Noah and his sons sent that pleasing aroma up the the Lord the Lord was not as pleased as old Noah and his sons.. the only thing that could have displeased the Lord was the fact they were killing animals, the Lord said they had evil in their heart from their youth...not born with it but from their youth, as no one feeds a baby the Lord said OH eat meat then as if he was speaking to naughty children, but told them not to eat meat with the blood of life in it.. which effectivly is all flesh, but you know how clever man is, he kills ( Thou Shalt Not Kill) and hangs it up to drain the blood out.. just like a willful child. Kind of funny but not really.
And even if that was not so I still would not eat meat as it takes between 11 and 17.5 gallons of water a day, to keep one cow.. a day! And we all know the price of land erosion and how much grain one cow needs. How can I do that in a world of starving children. So many folks say God is letting children starve, he is not, we are, because of greed and selfishness.
I know many do not like that I say this, and yet it is only the truth. If I can go for a decade as a vegetarian and five as a vegan , and be as my daughter the RN says the picture of health, without taking any supplememts or drugs than it obviously can be done.
My only wish is that I did this when I was younger..
The fasting is now proving to be the most amazing thing, new science is telling us that the less you eat the longer you live, and that fasting not only extends your life it makes you much healthier than the folks who do not.
Guess thats why Daniel and David fasted, Jesus and his diciples and why Jesus says to fast and pray often. Leave it to Jesus to give good advise.

I am Christian and I did not hear about fasting in church, nor from a minister but God had to tell me to fast.

And this stuff on here about Muslims will not come from me, as a Christian I love my Muslim brothers and sisters. They do not blame me for the crusades and I do not blame them for terrorists.
We both know that when you have millions of people you are always going to have those who wish to be nothing but evil.. but this is not the place for that..

It was very kind of you to be concerned for my health. I take it you have returned to eating meat. All my children eat meat and all my friends eat meat..except for those who were told by Doctors not to, that is the way of the world. But I love them and they love me, even though I am a nag.. and hardly anyone askes me about meat so thanks for the chance to talk about it..
If its been a while since you looked up fasting look at the new stuff on it, I think you will be surprised and pleased.. I know I was..

Louisa's picture

religion only matters for the eternity after our 100 yrs here

Good luck Chris!! I am doing the same thing, day 1 today, I was also searching for fasting benefits to motivate me, love google :) I have done one 5 day & 3 day before, I found fasting gave me so much belief in my self and my capabilities the last two times.

Been lacking self-belief since dating my ex for past 14 months. He becomes easily enraged & appears to have learned in his life that if you feel bad & you are bigger than the person you are with you can punish them(eg. When he was 12, his Dad hit a pole while parking & bashed him, or his brother got stung by a jelly fish when they were at the beach so his Dad belted them both). He claims to be Islamic. I think he unquestioningly believes the “religion” of his Dad. Whenever he has been enraged & hit me he shouts in Arabic, I am Australian, Swedish background, my Arabic is quite limited, I didn't understand most of what he said, and he knows this.. I wonder then to whom he was speaking.

People are strange. I will get self back.

I think hitting wife is allowed in Islam, though I believe for limited circumstances, plus I have read Muhammad (pbuh) did not hit his wives & believers should aim to emulate him - I guess like Christians have “What would Jesus do?” Though as far as I know Muhammad (pbuh) also married Aisha when she was 9 - perhaps not everything can be emulated into 2011.

I dont have a religion, I think they're all cooL though, I tried the belif-o-matic online [seemed sacrilegious at first, but when I thought about it - is less random than unquestionably accepting the religion you were born into]. The result it gave me was Unitarianism, not too keen, guess is lucky I wasn't born into that.

Happy Fasting! :)

Serendip Visitor's picture

Quite a fallacy Louisia.

Quite a fallacy Louisia. Respect for wife, children, friends and even enemies is central to the tenets of Islam !

Having travelled all over the world, i've noticed that when people are emotional and express themselves aggressively, they are appealing to culture like here in the US there is a f*** for everything.

Think about it !

Serendip Visitor's picture

Not True

'Respect for wife, children, friends and even enemies is central to the tenets of Islam !'

That is simply not true. Have you read the Quran and the Hadiths? Islam permits wife bashing and the total destruction or enslavement of the enemy. I dint know where you got your idea from, but certainly not from Islam. I was born a Muslim, and I understand that the Islamic Holy books don't teach what you have just written.

In Islam, respect for wife has a different meaning than it has for, say, an traditional American. Go learn, and you will find out. I pity the lady who's lover is a Muslim!

Serendip Visitor's picture


I was shocked to read all the comments about religion after this article. Great article by the way. I'm currently rounding day two and I feel great! Here's my two cents towards the Muslim comments. I'll quit Muslim bashing when Muslims quit forcing their condemnation of all other religions down my throat... the worlds throat for that matter.

Chris 's picture


A good article. My first experience was doing a four day fast; the first 2-3 days are the most difficult, as they are for me. I did a seven day fast many years ago, but did it just to see how long I can go; not really for spiritual or physical reasons. How I came about fasting is from a book I found in my parents attic that my brother left behind, by Herbert Shelton. I would highly suggest to everyone that he is the authority on fasting; as I have read several of his books on fasting. The past few years I have tried to go on an extended fast, but have given into my weakness or base desire to eat. Mostly I have went 1-3 days. I am highly active, and have a voracious appetite and lack of self-control with my eating. Now I am determined to do an eight day fast, maybe longer. It has been on my mind to do this for some time now, for my life has been exceedingly stressful, especially this year (2010). Today, this morning I began my fast, and to inspire me I googled fasting and read this article, and to inspire me to go forward. I know fasting is a great way to restore health, physical, mental or emotional, and to get closer to God. for I have experienced this, even during my 1-3 days fasts. I would appreciate your help, prayers, even thoughts to support me during this eight day fast. May God be with us, may we strive to be humble and seek to do good, be kind, and seek to help others.

Renee's picture

To Your Successful Fast

Peace be with you friend. You are in my prayers. I am certain that you will be successful in your fast. God bless you.

janne's picture

Liked the article--very

Liked the article--very interesting. I'd be interested in information as to how much juice and/or water might interfere with the benefits to the body as described in the article.

As to the religious debate, why stone anyone for adultery? Surely, God or Allah is capable of meting out correction for such behavior without out judgment on the subject. The resulting divorce, chaos in families, and societal disapproval goes a long way in aiding someone caught in such lies to change their own behavior. Let the persons involved have the opportunity to change or not to change their course.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Utterly rediculous, this

Utterly rediculous, this article was about the benefits of fasting! Not "Islam...good or bad?" Give the author a break. He was only pointing out that many religions use fasting as a means for physical healing and spiritual growth. The author said nothing good or bad about any religion so how about sticking to the point!?

Passmore's picture


To begin with, I found the article well written and informative. I am on my second five-day fast, and love the benefits of it. The cleanse that happens physically also has some great spiritual benefits. I am not a practicing Christian, Jew or Muslim, and I still get the same positive effects. I find the hardest thing is the 'hunger' day, for me day two. Once I got past that, there was no more hunger.

As to all the Islam bashing... there are good people and there are evil people. They can be of any religion. Some of the Christian right fringe advocate killing (abortion) doctors. Does that make all Christians bad? Some Islamic extremist kill innocent people. There have been many atrocities committed by Israeli border guards. I think it's time for the people who are so full of hatred to take a step back and look at the real world, not their paranoid delusion of 'us against them'.

Serendip Visitor LM's picture

Your absolutely right....I

Your absolutely right....I will add, perhaps in a more determined thought, that it is man who messes everything up within these respected religions. And yes I believe I'm more plainly restating what you've just said.

Now, toward the fasting I've never done it and I'm excited to see where it takes me (mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically). Do you have any tips or recommendations?

Towards the article, I found it to be well written, concise, attention grabbing without being overly explanatory. Good Job!

Passmore's picture

Thanks LM. I very

Thanks LM. I very successfully completed my recent 5 day fast. I have no interest in sweets, lost the puffiness around my eyes, lost 20 lbs, and gained a greater insight into my health. This time, according to those around me, I was miserable during the last two days. It wasn't that noticeable to me, but it was to others. It has been suggested in some quarters that I should go into seclusion for the last couple days. I think this might have some spiritual validity, as well as a big plus for the relationship!

Other than socially fasting as well as physically, I would suggest having some non-cream soup waiting for you at the end of the fast. Keep the water/tea intake going, get lots of rest. Don't make any plans for the duration of the fast... no work, no travel, nothing physically taxing. Good time for reading, movies, and introspection.

Once again, great article!

Serendip Visitor's picture

Well Said. So True.

Well Said. So True.

helen's picture

why bring up islam or any religion with this paper?

why does fasting have to be associated with a particular religion? this kid's paper was based on science and not religion. And advise to read about islam? seriously? is this a hidden propaganda site? well I have ready about islam and I have read that it subjugates women to a level equal to a goat.

It's disgusting. to all of you muslim's out there, stop yelling and i will listen when you show me that women are equal to men and that stoning women in public is not right, or killing them for honor...

Serendip Visitor's picture

Good and Bad Forever

Good and Bad always exist. Right or Wrong will always be part of mankind. Some people tell other to be good because they believed they're right.
Women treated like goats? Stoned?
In America we see worst than that too. Women/girls forced into prostitution, slavery, drugged, etc... yes worst than goat treatment.
Let's get back to good health topic.

Rudy's picture

America is not a religion.

America is not a religion. America does not have a policy to force women into prostitution.

Serendip Visitor's picture


Serendip Visitor's picture

http://www.islamicperspective i hope this article will help.

jimmy rukanira's picture

reply to helen

Hi, I would like to thank God for giving me this opportunity to write this to you, in order to clarify some of the miss-understanding about what I wrote about this article. as for the issue of being my sister, I will still insist that you are my sister even you deny it, for me every women is my sister. as for the issue of equality, Women and men will never be equal, firstly, I will advice you to go back read the book of Genesis and find out the time God send Adam and Eve in the earth from the garden of even, what was the task give to each.

as for the issue of Islam to remove the Law of stoning people, that it will never happen. In Islamic religion people believe that, whatever God has put in the system of law, that is the best law to follow. for instance, if you are not capable of committing adultery, why are you afraid of that law? the law is there to protect marriage.

Finally, I would like to give you an advice of reading more about Islam not read more about Muslims...

Serendip Visitor's picture

God Put no such law into practice.

God put no such law into practice. Man wrote your holy book and it's been used by your religious/political leaders since the dawn of time to control you. If you refuse to analyze your religion with your god given brain then you have chose the path of ignorance.

It's obvious that some 'power' put all this into motion, but the Koran and Bible were not divinley inspired. God didn't write those books. Man wrote those book. Prove otherwise...ever notice the names of the authors that the top of the various books? Those books were also written over the course of several centuries. In fact the Holy Bible as organized by Constantine in Rome.

Pretty much all Abrahamic religions are based on complete and total ignorance. It's all BS and any rational person can see that.

Why is that all great religions in the east put an emphasis on discovery the truth for your self while all abrahamic religions DEMAND you follow their law. Not that I'm advocating any religion (God can be find everywhere), but at least Buddhism is willing to adapt and change with science. To date Buddhism is the only major religion in the world to fully embrace scientific scrutiny. I have more respect for their religion of tolerance and compassion than your false religion of intolerance.

You say man and women aren't equal because of Genesis? Then I say you aren't worthy of any woman on this planet. All Humans were created equal.

Serendip Visitor's picture

why do you find people who

why do you find people who cerebrate their faith so offensive? you have a very narrow perspective on Muslim. I'm from Malaysia, we are a majority Muslim nation and i can say with absolute certainty that we do not subjugate the women here. they have equal rights to opportunity and we do not do honor killings or all the non sense you have associated with Islam. When people like you associate evil things done in Islam's name, you condemn the good Muslim to sweeping generelisation and it contributes to Islamophobia. Tell me this, how does subjecting good Muslims around you to hate solves anything? Hate doesn't solve anything. for every one so-called Muslim terrorist, they are at least a thousand peaceful ones. I'm a Muslim and I'm not a terrorist. I hold the basic values as any decent human being out there. Our only fault is that we have an abundant love for our faith and people like you have made it a bad thing to express it.

Tariq Khan's picture



In Islam men and women are treated equally. There are some very bad people who claim to be muslims that treat their women very badly almost to the point that you would think they were dogs. Women in my family are treated very well, in fact better than the men. We love our women, the women are out mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins and I would never lay a hand on one of them. Please do some research about Islam..

jimmy rukanira's picture

reply to helen

My Sister, I really appreciate your comment on the topic of 10 benefits of fasting. as for my contribution to your worry, I think Women to be equal to men that is the worse ideology I have ever heard from some activists, nonetheless, women are suppose to be given the full respect according to what they deserve, but to compare women and say they have to be equal to men that is absurd. I wish you all the best and hope you will focus and find out why it's stated that women are given a comparison with equal to a goat.
When you are reading the spiritual book, you have to bare in mind that those books are written in para boles.

Helen's picture

Why is the idea that women

Why is the idea that women can be equal to men absurd? I can't believe people like you exist sometimes. You know we are made of the same material. Yes we have different physical and emotional abilities but that does not make us "unequal" as human beings. Second, I am not your sister.

"but to compare women and say they have to be equal to men that is absurd" - please explain why.

In your "world" you are lucky you were born a man, otherwise you would be the one compared to a goat. Yes you might say that women are frail and need caring but that goes to be said for men too. There are a lot of various personality out there that belong to both sexes.

Nonetheless, my final point is that I still don't understand why this blog is so focused on religion when the kid's paper brings up scientific evidence related to worms. I believe in God too, but my God is caring and does not ask for people to be stoned - whether they are male or female.

Serendip Visitor's picture

what are you talkin about?

Women are superior, hehe!!! Just kidding...kinda :)

Serendip Visitor's picture


Being compared to a goat is a compliment. They provide milk for their children & caretakers. They are intelligent, amusing, protective of their young. They provide fertilizer for their caretaker's garden & keep the grass cut by eating it. It is in the WEST that women are treated like slaves. We have to go out & work for money & then return home & care for the house. We are forced to go to government schools ( & not one of our choosing ). If we don't wear the same fashion of clothing or hairstyle or lie for the boss or participate in gossip at work - we are ostracized. In pure Islam women are on a pedestal..treated better than men.

Serendip Visitor's picture

are u sure u can read?

if u actualy read the Qu'ran and Hadith u will find out Islam does not subjugate women, but rather protects them and uplifts them.

Panic's picture


panic is not the way to go. i think, people are the reason why we have stoning and others. misinformed people and purists. or opportunists which uses the bible or quoran for thier own purposes

Helen's picture

Then why stone them or kill

Then why stone them or kill them in the name of honor? please explain that - there are youtube videos of women getting stoned in public - and it is always men stoning them. Please explain to me how stoning a women to death is acceptable.

Ayub's picture


Hi Helen, stoning in Islam does not apply to women only but whoever committs adultery. I would advice you to read the Islamic Law before making your judgments. Islam is not there to oppress women but respect them.

Steve's picture

Where are them men who

Where are them men who commited adultery with them? Why not stone them as well? or were ALL these men single? Having sex out of marriage? is that punishable by stoning? Is there a double standard? It is interesting, who spoke about the 'act'? The guy at the local bar? Hey I just had sex with (blank) "I know we had 'become one flesh' for a bit and developed enough of a relation for sex but she commited adultery with me so lets stone her to death" And why is he having sex with a married woman anyways?

And if she is a prostitue why is he having sex with her? Is that act punishable by stoning?

My bottom line, fast to keep your self healthy and enjoy YOUR spouse as he/she enjoys you (in a loving way not a sick way) NOT someone elses spouse.

melissa's picture

Everywhere around the world

Everywhere around the world there are videos of PEOPLE, not just women, being stoned or subjugated..... to blame one culture is to be ignorant.

Just to let you know, I'm an american with no set religious belief. But I stand up for the muslim culture because just like many other cultures, I have read and understood their own beliefs before I put my two cents in and try to judge them.

WOMEN ARE EQUAL TO MEN, and it is true men really do praise and take care of their women a great deal in the muslim culture. I have bare witness to this.


Serendip Visitor's picture

hate not

As u said its done in the name of misplaced sense of honor. its not what islam is. there is a big difference between what Islam is and what is done in its name. people that needs an excuse to hate and discriminate can always find something bad done in Islam's name and use it to fuel the hate. I believe all the major faith in the world be it Islam, Christianity, Jadaism, Buddhism or what not preach the same words on peace & freedom. anybody that says otherwise is to me a terrorist.

naila khan's picture

i m a muslim

i m a muslim alhamdulilah.before today i used to fast jus because it was a relogoius activity .but from now onwards my belif in fast..Allah and Quran has become more stroner....jazal Allah

Ali's picture

hello i am a muslim.i live in

i am a muslim.i live in iran.
thanks for this article.
islam fill of bestest command for life,that fast is one of many command.
zakat,khoms,haj,pray and etc.

i can english a little ,sorry for mistake in note.


Pieter's picture

When proof is not really proof......

With the start of Ramadan,newspapers and magazines throughout the Muslim world echoed exactly the points mentioned in this article - how good fasting is for the body.

However, the article above clearly indicates that true physical fasting (lets disregard any spiritual benefits now) only starts between 12-24 hours after a fast commences.

The true physical benefits of fasting can therefore not be experienced with the way fasting takes place during Ramadan. In fact, to fast during the day, only to eat tremendous amounts of food after sunset and until the early hours of the morning - a common practise in many Muslim countries during Ramadan - fails to bring about a good physical fast.

So please check all the articles during Ramadan that quote "scientific proof" of how good fasting is for the body.....such proof was surely gained from other types of fasts over prolonged periods of time, but surely not the "day-time" fast only.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Islamic fasting start from

Islamic fasting start from dawn to sunset .. this means it lasts up to 18 hours a day in some place at certain times of the year.. not only 12 as u stated .. for us in Gaza, plaestine.. we fast up to 14.5 hours a day now.. concerning bad eating habit of muslim during night of ramadan, these habit r not related to islam..
prophet mohammed told in a hadeet that " we (muslim) a nation that don't eat until we r hungry, and if we ate we shall not get full "
a second statement of prophet mohammed ( a hadeet) that show the true eating habit of a muslim : " a man never filled a vessel ( or a container) worse than his stomach. it is sufficient for human to eat only some pieces of food to sustain his health but if it is a must (to eat) then leave a third for food a third for fluid and a third for breath"

pardon me, the hadeets above is my own translation from the arabic original source which may have some inaccurcy..

Leone2-0's picture

Fasting and more...

O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed upon you as it was prescribed on those before you so that you may learn self-restraint [2:183]

Revelations in following order:
Revelation to Adam, Suhuf Ibrahim (Scrolls of Abraham), the Tawrat (Torah or Pentateuch) of Moses, the Zabur (Tehillim or Book of Psalms) of David, and the Injil (Gospel) of Jesus, the holy Qur’an (Quran) of Muhammad (S.A.W).

Fasting not only has spiritual benefits but it also has immense physical benefits as well. The medical community acknowledges that regular fasting flushes toxins from the body, thus purifying it.

Intermittent fasting (IF): A specific form of IF is alternate day fasting (ADF), which is a 48-hour routine typically composed of a 24-hour fast followed by a 24-hour non-fasting period. (ADF is also sometimes referred to as every other day (EOD) fasting, or sometimes every other day feeding (EODF).

David (PBUH) fasted every other day. 'Abdullah Ibn 'Amr Ibn Al-'As narrated: "Allah's Apostle (PBUH) said to me: 'The most beloved fasting to Allah was the fasting of (the Prophet) David, who used to fast alternate days. And the most beloved prayer to Allah was the prayer of David, who used to sleep for (the first) half of the night and pray for one third of it and (again) sleep for a sixth of it."Sahih Al-Bukhari

anonymous's picture

Fasting is beneficial for humans coz

It sets our body clock if done regularly for a month.Being a muslim i can say that Since muslims fast from dawn to dusk everyday and eat at fixed times this helps the body to detox and rejuvinates better than other types of skipping meals whatsoever.Moreover fasting is prescribed by Allah the Almighty the creator who has more knowledge of his creatons than anyone in this universe.So follow his commands and be healthy phisically and spiritually,for doing this all one needs is determination.

Randal Copley's picture


First off, this is an excellent article. As a Christian, I've learned that anything that Christ taught his disciples to do was not only good for their overall well being but spirirually good for them. I struggle with a Hypothyroid condition so fasting is difficult for me but as long as I take suppliments, proper juices and vitamins, I should not have problems but once again, it's a good article.

ali reza's picture

my religion indicate fast beauty

Im very glad about your topic!
Im muslim
In my religion(shia) fast is one of our duty
I feeling very please during fast period
I think GOD award us a fast till grow our status
Because he love his creature
Because he is gracious
Because he is kindly
I feeling healthy when doing GOD directions.
Be successful dears

Jasmine's picture

Fasting 30 days

Now is Ramadan..
I love the fasting month. Fasting is food for the soul.

When the soul is satiated thru fasting, praying, thru love - husband, kids, family, the soul doesnt need other kind of food eg going to pubs, discos, n such entertainment

mohamedali jinnah's picture

The Health Benefits of Fasting

Ramadan Kareem
If a person does not avoid false talk and false conduct during Fasting, then Allah (God) does not care if he abstains from food and drink.

(Prophet Muhammad as reported by Bukhari & Muslim)
Ramadan Kareem
May Allah grant us all a life changing Ramadan this year. Ameen!
Make dua at times where your duas are most likely to be answered – before breaking the fast, during your salah, Qiyam ul layl, the last 10 nights etc. May Allah answer and grant all of your duas. Please make dua for me too!

Lana's picture

I'm a busy mum of 3 little

I'm a busy mum of 3 little boys and have a husband who likes his food. I enjoy cooking, and now the boys are on summer holiday.
I started my fasting last night and went to the gym this morning (spinning class) so far, so good.
I have fasted for about 40 hours many times mainly to shrink the gut and kick start the diet, which worked many times especially after having all the babies.
Regarding people who go on about healthy eating and exercising.
Now there is my grief!
I exercise A LOT and properly and all it does it fuels my metabolism and I can't stop eating in the evenings, so I put on 5kgs in the last two months which is why I'm back into my starvo mode.
So to help myself mentally, this is the first time I actually looked into benefits of fasting and as a born again Christian know all about it in the Bible (fasting that is, not the benefits). I am amazed with the fact fasting is actually healing as well and that it's no big deal to do it
Can someone here who's done it for more than a day please tell me what phases you go through say are there any crisis moments and how to overcome them, especially bearing my very hectic family scenario.
So I just don't know how to strike a balance!
Anybody any tips?
I'm super fit and am not a glutton.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Tips on Fasting

I know you wrote this a while back, but if you get this reply, I just wanted to note a couple of tips for longer terms of fasting. 1) prepare your body before the fast. If you plan to fast for more than a day (say 7 days or more), prepare your body by eating smaller portions and cutting out sugar/grains. Eat leafy veggies and small portions of meats (try to avoid the denser red meats). If you eat fruits, eat berries only (low glycemic impact) and eat all fruits and veggies raw if possible. 2) During your fast, drink LOTS of water. If you are feeling horribly hungry or extremely weak, a small cup (no more than 3-4oz) of chicken broth/stock usually does the trick. Avoid milk as it is considered a food (protein) and will restart your digestive cycle, making you hungry all over again. 3) If it's for spiritual reasons that you are fasting, not just physical reasons, have some bible verses handy and make sure you are keeping your schedule cleared of activities so that you devote appropriate time to prayer, meditation and reading.

As a Christian, I cannot tell you of the numerous blessings I received and witnessed from fasting. If you want a recommended book other than the bible - read Fasting by Jentesen Franklin.

Hope your recent fasting went well and many blessings to you and your family!


Gary's picture

Very good advice I am a

Very good advice
I am a Christian and in the 7th day on a 21 day fast
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

Asenath's picture

I have three boys also, and a

I have three boys also, and a husband who loves to it, but I am not the best at cooking. I have found that it comes down to wisdom with fasting. There are different types of fast. Some people will only consume raw fruits and vegetables; or only juice; or only water; or even only cooked vegetables. A person could also fast from t.v,and other distractions. In the past I did a three day juice(from my juicer)fast, and the only way I could stay focus is because I desired to be clearer spiritually. When I feed the kids, I felt hungry because that is a usual feeling for the first 3 days. But I was aware of how certain emotions triggered a desire to eat also, and I would pray and pull from my Creator to keep focus. I have never had to fast for my weight, but I do it for spiritual purposes and it has and continues to be very beneficial. There are also sites like the Hallelujah diet, and raw food/living food sites that you could gain some helpful knowledge from. I hope this was helpful.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Hi there! First of all I

Hi there!

First of all I would like to say that I am a practicing Muslim (like some others on this forum) who fasts every year an entire month from sunrise to sunset. This fast involves abstaining from all types of food and drink. That includes water as well.

Nonetheless I agree with some of our fellow friends who have commented that fasting is indeed really good for the body and the soul. It really does make a person feel rejuvenated and refreshed. And for all of us who fast for religious purposes it does indeed make you feel closer to your religion and God.

Awesome work on a great article!

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