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.

 

References

1)"Dr. Sniadach – True Health Freedom 3

2)fastingforbetterhealth

3)"Ketosis by Sue Reith"

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

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

6)"Fasting"

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

Comments

Anonymous's picture

I just wanted to ask, is

I just wanted to ask, is enema necessary for 3days fast? frankly I just hate the idea of having to do that crazy act, I am literally scared of it.
Can one get depressed during fast?

Can I break my fast with - apple juice, pear fruit, pineapple in moderation.

Implantable Contact Lenses's picture

Fasting makes you pure

In Indian mythology, fasting is regarded to purity. When a person fasts he basically rejuvenates his body and soul by giving them a break. The food we eat basically strains your abdomen and asks it to process. This never stops, do you give them a break? NO.

What if someone ask you to work 365 days a year without a break? Sounds good? no.
Its the same with your system, give it a break and it fucntions even better :-)

Malia's picture

I do juice fasts.....

**I've done juice fasts since I was 16 years old. Juice fasts are MORE beneficial to your body than the water fast. Water fasts do not give you any nutrients, vitamins, minerals or antioxidants to help flush the toxins out of your body. Pick up a book on Juice fasting and follow it religiously. I make 3 juices a day and tons of water and caffeine free tea daily.!!!
For instance my juice in the afternoon consists of: Carrots, spinach, kale, broccoli, garlic clove, and cucumber. I'm getting all the vitamins and minerals in my body and I'm not starving my body or doing my body any harm. Water fasts are dangerous but I do understand people have done them since biblical years!!
JUICE FASTING IS SAFER AND MORE BENEFICAL! *****
I'm on my third day of my juice fast and I'm planning on a 14 day fast......you're eyes, skin, hair, breath, overall feeling is spectacular! That is why you need to juice fast instead of water fast.....the juices contribute to all of your shiny hair, clear eyes, etc. It's all the vitamins and minerals going into your system!!!!!!

ali's picture

fasting

everyone here try to fast only water and excersices i bet after 2 week you will lose atleast 5kg

Julie's picture

fasting

Well, after six days and absolutely ZERO exercise, I've lost ten pounds (exactly 4.55kgs). I imagine with two weeks on only water, exercise would be next to impossible. I don't know if anybody will recommend going more than ten days on just water. (That's what I'm doing.)

Mohammad Haroon's picture

Re: thank God people are

Yes, dear brother Muhammed Salim, you are absolutely correct. What amazes me is that the religion of Islam encourages healthy self and healthy society. Apart from fasting (which is enforced not only for the well being of self but also well being of society in total), drinking alcohol is absolutely prohibited as it is a social evil and causes personal, familial and social damages. In the same manner the religion prohibits illegitimate intimate relationships as they lead to several social and mental problems. I invite everyone to have an unbiased investigation of this divine religion, which reinforces the same principles as brought down by major religions but have long been forgotten or ignored.

Anonymous's picture

With all due respect to

With all due respect to Islam, please keep your preaching about your faith off the forum. This is a discussion about FASTING, not the overall benefits and advantages of one faith. Moderators, I believe the last two posts would be appropriate to delete, as they don't particularly pertain to the discussion here. Thank you.

admin's picture

wider context re fasting

We published the comments about Islam and fasting as part of the larger context of exploring why people choose to fast. Other points of view on this question are also welcome.
Anonymous's picture

Faith and Fasting

faith and fasting. why not? I think it goes hand in hand we are working towards becoming better people the body and the spirit go hand in hand.this is coming from a new york jew who supports faith through whatever religion works for you.

AmeriMuslim's picture

Thank God, that people are

Thank God, that people are seeing the wisdom that God has taught us so long ago in his holy books. Im Muslim and this is the start of our holy month, Ramadan. During Ramadan, for about 30 days, we abstain from food, drink and sexual activity. Our fast lasts from sunrise to sunset, during this summer season that is about 12-14 hours. I encourage all of you to investigae Islam and the healthly lifestyle that it encourages. God says in the Quran "we have ordained fasting for you as those before you(jews, christians etc) so that you may become pious." Of course being pious is the awareness of God and his centrality of our lives. With this awareness we find out health is directly related to your spirit-since each is a precious gift from our Creator.

Muhammed Salim

Anonymous's picture

Do you need salt for pH balance when going on an water fast

I was reading somewhere that it could be dangerous if you dont have enough salt in your system, I was wondering if this was true and if so should I sprinkle some sea salt into my water. I'm planning on a 21 day water fast for religious reasons and wanted to know if this was something that I needed to do.

Joshua Mathias's picture

Fasting with salt and vitamins

It's true that it's necessary to have some salt in you, since it's part of what humans are made of, and they also put Iodine in salt to avoid iodine deficiencies. However, I wouldn't say it's completely necessary to have salt during a fast just from reading the comments here. No one has said they've died from salt deficiency yet. On a related note, I was wondering whether it would be good to fast with vitamins. Water + vitamins = healthy?

Anonymous's picture

Irony

"No one has said they've died from salt deficiency yet" LOL

Audrey's picture

Hey all I am a twenty eight

Hey all I am a twenty eight year old woman who has recently lost her job. I am depressed and fat. I weigh 246 pounds and have ulcerative colitis. I am starting a water fast today seeing as I'm not working I will be able to rest the first few days if necessary. I am christian and will rely on God for strength. Thank you for all your comments as it does give motivation. Good luck to all.

Merry's picture

hey! hope you did it!

hey! hope you did it!

hsn's picture

Oh, and, where do you get

Oh, and, where do you get the protein to build up during a 21-day water fast? Or will I have to give my biceps up?

hsn's picture

Working out on a fast?

Hey all

I'm a 17 year old and I take good care of my body by abstaining from excessive fat/sugar, processed stuff and so on. This has enabled me to work a lot on fitness and I do something like 70 pushups 3 times a day, everyday. I normally have a lot of carbs to sustain the energy level required for this, so I was wondering what effect a 21-day water fast would have on my energy levels and if I'd still be able to continue my regiment? A lot of people here have said they were bursting with energy after starting the diet, so I guess its worth asking...

Will appreciate anyone who can lay a finger on this.
Thanks!

Anonymous's picture

Hi I wonder if you guys stop

Hi
I wonder if you guys stop drinking coffee also during fasting.

Brian T.'s picture

Fasting is great!

Hello All,

I turned 51 earlier this month. I fasted regularly in the past. Sometimes 3-5 days.
My longest fast was 15 days, and two weeks ago after my birthday a have decided to do a complete house cleaning and go for a 40 day waterfast.
Today is my 14th day, and I am doing very well. It is really a calming experience. I live a normal life, and work during this period.
Good thing that Nature gave us this healing power, so I do not have to deal with Doctors and Hospitals.

Regards,
Brian

Tomred's picture

Fasting for health

Hello All,

I am a male and I am 51 today, I have decided to give fasting a try to improve my health. Many people say I look much youger than my years, not bad for someone who has four teenagers at home. I have often done the odd 24 hour fast and have felt better for doing it especily if I felt bloated beforehand.
I have read that fasting makes your hair feel more healthy but is there as risk that I might weaken or loose my hair by just drinking water for long periods?

Regards from Ireland.

Anonymous's picture

Fasting

Hello all. Just wanted to thank you all for your comments re fasting. I have just finished an entire day of fasting!! I know it probably doesn't sound like much but this is something I NEVER thought I would be able to do. I am really pleased with myself and eager to see if I can stretch this out to a 2-3 day thing to start off with.

The information in your comments and on this site has been fantastic and I am feeling really confident about the whole thing. I have no doubt as to the health benefits of fasting as I am already feeling really great. Not sure if this is just a mental thing because I feel like I have achieved something and developed some will-power (finally!) but I will be interested to see how things progress over the next few days.

Thanks again for all the info and please keep posting with your progress.

M Aris Zamroni's picture

Fasting Makes Me Feels Lighter

As addition to my compulsory Ramadhan fasting, I use to fast 1 day/week. Other than for religious matter, I like to fast because it gives me lighter sense, especially in my stomach. My tips for fasting are:
- Brush your teeth and clean your tounge before the fasting time starts
- Then drink a lot of water, at least 500cc.

In Islamic teaching, King/Prophet David was known to fast every 2 days.

bridget's picture

Fasting

I sometimes have iron deficiency due to being a thalasemia trait (b-thal) and about to begin a 21 days fast, I would like to have some advice as to how to proceed with this without any problems.

Thank you

Anonymous's picture

Fasting expert

Hi I have been fasting and detoxing for over 15 years. I am 48 healthy as an ox and I get asked out by 25-33 year olds. I am called the "prettiest women in (my county)". I have fasted 10 - 20 days per month every single month this year. I always start fast at at 3pm because it is easy to start a fast when it is half a day. I call this day one so that on day two it is easier. I do day two on watermelon juice (without fiber so you need a juicer) this prevents sugar imbalances from making the fast two difficult. Next I move on to lemon water with stevia and celtic salt. Using this formula allows me to work while fasting. The celtic salt keeps minerasl in the body, lemons supply all the nutrition you need and stevia makes it taste good. I finished a 10 fast two weeks ago while running 10 miles a day and working full time.

Anonymous's picture

10 plus day fast while working/exercising

I'm a relative beginner in fasting, though over the years, I've had 1 to 3 day fasts, on several occassions. I am in my first day of what I intend to be a 10 day water fast. Actually, I had coffee today, which I will stop going forward. I'm 53, weight train and am beginning to cycle. I'm very interested in the 10 mile a day running you mention as it relates to retaining energy. So, question is, would you expect to loose energy to the point where your excercising would be compromised, if you went on a straight water fast, without the celtic salt and lemon. It would appear the celtic salt and lemon, are not a compromise to what can be acheived by the fast. Thanks for commenting on this.

melissa mancia's picture

fasting

Hi, I am amazed, I was curious how you feel during workouts or runs? Also, do you have any book recomendations on fasting? Do you feel that you gain a lot of weight back after each fast? Do you feel that you have less wrinkles do to your years of fasting?

Anonymous's picture

do you think juice fasting

do you think juice fasting gets rid of wrinkles and/or helps tone skin

Ryan's picture

First 6 hours

Well...

There are many reason's I've decided to fast.

Cleansing
Fat loss
Spiritually
Physiological benefits

Seeing as I did nothing to prepare for this and my only background knowledge is extremely limited, I am finding out all that I can now.

I’m a very scientific person and understand the human body pretty well.

I’m 5’11 175 lbs 22 years old.

So far what I am leaning toward is a 4-5day water fast. With possible longer attempts in the future when I’m better prepared.

My relatively obvious question is if I’m water fasting, what else am I allowed to drink?

I would love to be able to drink ISOPURE which is a protein drink - Aspartame Free, No Preservatives, Lactose Free, Fat Free, 0carbs-
It’s pure protein and I’m considering incorporating that into my fast because I don’t want to lose any muscle mass.
Also should I still be taking vitamin’s during the fast?
Good idea? Bad idea? Or anywhere in between?

I am also concerned about a slowed metabolism… and fast weight gain afterwards.
I do plan on an extremely healthy diet after the fast and reoccurring monthly or semi monthly fast’s.

Any story’s or advice or research articles would be greatly appreciated.

Ahmed's picture

Hi, I am a Muslim and we

Hi,

I am a Muslim and we Muslim use to fast the month of Ramadan each year, I was looking for scientific information about fasting because I know from our prophet Mohamed that fasting is very good for health,

Anonymous's picture

Might Clear Arterial Placque

After major dental surgery, I lost 20 pounds on a juice and yogurt diet lasting 4-6 weeks. I was totally drugged out on pain pills, so I can't really remember how long it took to graduate to scrambled eggs and such. Since then I've had smaller follow-up surgeries, and I would lose 5 lbs at a time during 1-2 week recuperations.

The interesting thing is that before my big surgery, I was having recurrent heart palpitations - every few minutes my chest would do a thumpity-thump-thump. After the fasting, it completely disappeared. I recently saw a doctor on TV say that fasting causes the body to draw out the plaque that's collected inside your arteries. I never heard this before. Anyone ever experienced anything like this?

By the way - I now have fabulous teeth! And no thumping.

SamSyd's picture

Fasting and Weight Loss

According to my BMI I am excessively overweight.

Im on my second day of a water fast. Hunger pangs aren't bad and I am keeping hydrated. I have even begun doing light exercises for about an hour a day (100 sit ups and about 50 laps in the pool).Though my main intention in this fast is to loose a significant amount of weight I am also young and want to start getting into healthy eating habits. I've been doing A LOT of research on water fasting and my main concern is the weight that you nearly always gain back after a fast. I am aiming for a 21 day water fast. I was wondering if there is any possible way too keep off a high percentage of the weight loss. Any advice would be extremely helpful.

Casey's picture

Fasting and Weight Loss

How did your fast go?

I am 29, 5ft 3in and about 235-240lbs. I look like Im pregnant because all my weight is mainly in my midsection. I want to fast to not only clean my body but also to lose weight.

I would really like some advice and tips on water fasting.

Thanks

lin's picture

religious fast

i really enjoyed this article. i (water) fast about every other month for religious regions (Isaiah 58) and there are both spirtual and physical benefits. if i have hunger pains i pray and think about the sacrafices made for me (through Christ). although i am overweight i don't do it to lose weight, but to detox my system. i don't think you'll keep off any weight unless you fast reguarly, b/c youre body may hold on to all the things you deprived yourself from. at least that's what happens when you are mildly dehydrated.

martina's picture

fasting - colitis - stenose

I have been having colitis ulcerosa for about 22 years and with the help of fasting and ayurveda medicine I am able to handle it. Now they found out that there is a stenose with scares on the tissue (which might have happened couple of years ago) and makes some problems. Of course the allopathic medicine wants to operate. My question is if anyone is having experience of fasting and stenosis in the sigma in the large intestine. Is the body able to make the stenose more open or more soft through fasting.

Anonymous's picture

water fast

I'm a 17 year old female and i want to go on a 6 or 7 day water fast. I'm sure I could do it but I fail at my attempts, I think I'm scared to do it but i really want the detoxafiying and weight loss benefits. I'm also afraid of gaining weight after the fast, could anyone put me at ease about this and some advice? it would be appreciated!

Anonymous's picture

Fasting to lose weight is

Fasting to lose weight is dangerous and almost always counter-productive. Any weight loss is very temporary, and you're likely to gain it back more quickly because of a slow metabolism after. You're stuck with a weight loss plan like taking a loan with high interest. Every time you lose weight, you gain back more. You'll have learned to lose weight by not eating, thus if you try to keep this extra weight off by fasting more then you're starving yourself of necessary nutrients way too often. This is why anorexia can lead to very serious health issues. It can be done in a somewhat healthy fashion, but there are much easier ways to lose weight (still no magic solution - look up Body For Life).

Anonymous's picture

helpful hints on fasting

Hello,

What a great article on what happens to your body during a fast. I have fasted a few times a year for 10 - 20 days at a stretch. I always found taking 2 weeks before the fast as a prep very helpful in maintaining a longer fast and helping me in the first few days of water only.

2 weeks out I start taking a little more vitamin ester c powder supplement everyday a few times a day (careful not to overdue this as it results in watery stools) and eliminate all meat and fish supplementing the protein with protein shakes eating only veggies and fruit as much as I want, and a grain dish once a day like oatmeal, brown rice etc. The next week I start reducing the amount of veggies and fruit going to 1 protein shake a day, juices, water, tea, and miso soup. By the time I'm ready to start fasting on water only (no supplements) I've eliminated my need to chew as many times I pickup food just because it's there or I'm anxious, bored or whatever.

I personally have never had much success on juice fasts. I seem to not be able to drink enough juice to keep my stomach from growling.

I've found this prep approach has helped me with headaches and a general feeling of being extremely tired during the first 3-4 days of water, and reduced my stomach growlings. Usually after the 4th day when I get into a steady pace of water my stomach growlings disappear.

Once I end the fast I reverse the prep starting with juices teas etc, then working my way into veggies and fruit.

The benefits are amazing for months after a fast I generally cannot stand the site of any type of junk food.

Anonymous's picture

BMR

I have been on a water fast for two days now and don't know how long I plan to go, at least one more day. I am just worried that my BMR will decrease. I'm a female, 18 years old and just recently got back home from my first year at college. I gained about 5 lbs but more importantly I let go off my healthy diet habits. I really want to cleanse my body and get back in the routine of exercise and eating healthy. Any reccomendations about how long I can/should go before my BMR goes down? I'm scared because it is pretty hard for me to gain lots of weight and I don't want to mess that up. Thanks

Rosa-Lena's picture

Hi, I am 18, 5'8 or 9,

Hi, I am 18, 5'8 or 9, 130-135 lbs. I am deciding to go on a 40 day fast.
first 10 days water, and then *every other day* for 30 days I will allow myself to slowly eat (1 fruit or vegetable/day.)
I am a caffein addict, and I hate the thought of not having coffee.
I dont see the problem with having 2-5 cups of coffee/day with a small ammount of skim milk, or black. During my fast. Considering I am mainly doing it for weightloss purposes.
Does anyone have any comments about the caffein?
CAffein, I heard, is also an appetite supressant, so it might even make the fast easier.

Anonymous's picture

Cut the caffeine

Caffeine withdrawal only lasts for about a week during which time you'll likely be tired, headachey, irritable, and possibly a bit nauseous. Asprin helps. You probably want to get off of caffeine before your fast. I can't imagine how caffeine could be an appetite suppressant, since it increases your metabolism. Further, until you develop tolerance caffeine also acts as a diuretic. While caffeine doesn't have the negative traits that other drugs like nicotine and alcohol do, it IS an addictive drug whose benefits do not seem to outweigh its costs.

Muhammad Imran's picture

hai,rosa.

congratulation to you as you are able to complete yor fasting period in 40 days.I pray for you to finish it.I am a muslim and wanna to share about my experience in fasting during ramadan month.Actually for one reason it make your body become smaller naturally and exactly ewill decrease your weight.definitely,but as you keep on fasting you will fill very different when you see from other perspective.we will consider toward those persons that have nothing to eat,such as at poor countries.this feeling actually make you realize that you have something that other persons can not get it.

Angela's picture

Fasting for Psoriasis

I am 22 years old and weigh 250 lbs. I have had Psoriasis since I was 16 and now currently take 50mg weekly injections of Enbrel to help with my psoriatic arthritis. I am starting a water fast today May 22, 2008 and plan on at least completing 21 days. Hopefully this will help heal my intestines and in turn help purge my body of the toxins causing the plaques of psoriasis. I'll update one week from today. Cheers!

Angela

Jasai Madden's picture

Your fast

I just read your comment on the brynmawr page and was interested. i have student ( I am a yogini) who has the same issue as you and i have recommended fasting to her. I wonder if you have had great success with your fast?

you can check out my blog (www.thenewfastgirls.blogspot.com) and i also lead a yahoo group of women who fast weekly called FastGirls. We fast for 24-36 hours between monday-tuesday.

best,

jasai

Dave Krug's picture

well seasoned faster...

I am 21 years old and have been regularly fasting for a few days every month. This was a decision that I made after doing some extensive collegate research on fasting for a health related class-I'm trying to get my PhD in clinical psych and a undergrad in nutrition and health sciences. I want someday be able to integrate various psychotherapies with nutrition therapy and other holistic and natural approaches (like fasting, light and sauna therapy, and esp. exercise therapy) in a clinical setting all as a part of a wholistic healing program for people who want lasting change. So, fasting has fascinated me.

After the first time I fasted, I lost an good amount of water weight and fat. Before my fast, I was athletic and muscular, running 3-6 miles a day, and working out a few times a week on a consistent basis while maintaining a 198lb body weight at 5' 9" body height- I was never obese, but I just had this small amount of belly fat that despite my exercise wouldn't leave my stomach and oblique areas in addition to some water weight. After my first 3 day fast, I lost 6 lbs of body fat (not including some water weight) that has stayed off ever since. And ever since that first fast (and the proceeding once-a-month fasts), I have continued to loose more fat in those sections of my stomache that had fat that I couldn't seem to get rid of in the midst of athletic exercise and training. Now, I am 179lbs and haven't lost any muscular strength and can lift the same or more weight than before. I have absolutely no belly fat now (unlike before). I also have more cardiovascular endurance. I'd contribute this change to consistent monthly fasting and not as a psycho-somatic effect brought about through auto-suggestion, hetero-suggestion, or stress (...we can't forget about how a change in our emotional states affects us on a molecular and cellular level as quantum psychology has recently been illuminating.)

Question: I know that there is a direct correlation (and possibly a cause and effect relationship) between sodium toxicity and excess water weight--that the body intakes more water to dilute toxic amounts of sodium--or as sodium levels rise, so does water weight. Is there the same relation between excess fat stores and toxins--that the body stores fat as an attempt to ("dilute" or) keep other toxin percentages low--that as fat soluble toxins increase, so does body fat. In your opinion/knowledge is this true or possible? Thanks for your time.

Anonymous's picture

Negative, osmotic pressures

Negative, osmotic pressures consistant with higher water to sodium ratios causing bloating are not analogous to the relationship between fat storage and toxicity ratio. An individual with a low Body Mass Index can still have a high toxic ratio even with less body fat accumulation, though one is able to metabolize generally all energy sources more effiently which makes up for it. After about 3 days of fasting, the body converts and flushes those toxic stores much more which is contributed to both the aforementioned benefits of fasting, and gently breaking fast, respectively.

Shanyese's picture

Fasting for a longer, healthier lifestyle...

I am a 22 year old African American women embarking on a 40 day fast. I am 5'9" and weigh 250 lbs. While weight loss is a big motivator for the fast, I am going to implement a healthier lifestyle that I will follow afterwards. So I've decided not to weigh myself until I commence on a juice fast for 10 days following.I have currently completed the first 5 days successfully on just water,and finally I have no hunger. I did an extensive amount of research on fasting: the good, the bad, and the ugly. I figured the good outweighed the bad tremendously. As long as I keep track of my blood sugar, my blood pressure, and my heart rate, I figure that I will be able to sucessfully finish the fast. So far everything looks good and I still have all the energy I had before the fast plus more. To all who are trying a fasts, whether its for spiritual, weight loss, or overall health, just stick with it. Good Luck!

Mitzi's picture

So did u finish?

Well I am a 30 yr old AA female . I weigh 232 lbs. Just curious to know if u were able to complete your fasts is so, great job! If not, then keep at it. Please contact me. I wouldn't mind being an encourager or motivator to assist in your weightloss. My strength and biggest encouragement comes from my relationship with God. I'm convinced that's the only reason why I've been able to go from 247lb to 232. It's been about 2 months so far. So I'm on my way and I don't want to give in. Anyhow god bless. Hope to hear from you soon. O.k. ~~Mitzi

krystal's picture

what was the outcome of your fast??

did u finish the fast.how much weight did u lose?

Anonymous's picture

first time fasting

Hello, I have only fasted for 3 days with water & tea. I am amazed at the toxins that came out. Likewise, I was also a smoker. Not now. I would love to go on a longer fast. This is my first time to ever fast. I too lost some weight, but not a lot. I'm small anyway & my main concern was getting the toxins out. My trouble was - feeling weak, sometimes feeling shaky, upper stomach pains, & now burning in urine. I went off my fast & ate - ate quite a bit actually - however -- all good foods. But I am going back on the fast. My concern is hurting kidneys, etc, by doing so that soon. I am curious if this is normal. And would love any advice or personal experiences to be known. Many thanks in advance. I plan to restart the fast again tomorrow. I also highly recommend it for all kinds of reasons. Esp.. with getting off sugar caffeine & quitting smoking. It's nice to feel clean, but I do know it takes more than 3 days - more than 1 or 2 weeks of water fasting in order to be completely cleaned. And my diet from now on will be -- mostly vegan.

RE's picture

On day 7 of a water fast

I have attempted fasting before with only water but only made it to day 4 at which point I began to feel dizzy and so I began eating again. Even so the fast proved useful and I retained a diet of mainly vegetables raw, and water or tea which resulted in more energy and huge weight loss. I do worry about people trying this and going for a while and gaining more weight back after resuming normal eating. Being on day 7 I am having trouble keeping my stomach from hurting (especially during any type of activity or even getting up) and so I am wondering what the issue could be here. I do feel fine otherwise and am hopeful it will pass soon as I intend to go 25 days or so. I know now that you must resume eating very slowly after a long water only fast and I do agree that there are many health benefits although I do not instantly support most types of holistic or natural medicines because of the many false claims out there.
Any input would be nice
Thanks

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