Fast Facts About Fasting


Fasting is the willing abstinence from eating or drinking for a set amount of time. The practice of fasting has been around for centuries and appears in almost every culture and religion. Here are some facts about fasting that you may not have known, including benefits, types, and risks. If this article interests you, ask your doctor if fasting might be healthy to add to your health routine.


Intermittent fasting is the hot new trend, and it is popular for a reason! Fasting for short periods can boost your metabolism and make you feel great. Eating all of your calories within an eight-hour window can help reduce inflammation, decrease blood pressure and heart rate, lower cholesterol, and help regulate blood sugar. Be careful not to try to get too much of a good thing. Fasting for extended periods can have the opposite effect as your body starves for vital nutrients.


Is fasting safe for you? The only person who can decide if fasting is appropriate for you is your healthcare provider, please feel confident in asking them for help. Remember, fasting is thousands of years old; this is not Dr. Fastus’ snake oil. Those who are pregnant, recovering from surgery or illness and those with serious diseases such as diabetes are cautioned not to practice fasting.

Weight Loss-

Intermittent fasting boosts Human Growth Hormone (HGH) levels leading to weight loss and easier muscle gain. Try an intermittent fasting schedule of 16-hour fasts every day or two 24 hour fasts a week. Be careful not to overdo your abstinence, or it will reverse the benefits you receive from appropriate fasts.

Diet vs. Fast-

Simply put, a diet focuses on what you eat, while fasting is defined by how long you don’t eat. With a diet, you still consume nutrients but are amending the quality and quantity of your food. When fasting, a person is starving their body of nutrients by not eating anything. If you are looking to lose weight, a diet is the clear choice, but feel free to add intermittent fasting to your diet routine to boost your results!


Fasting can take many forms depending on your purpose and personal characteristics. The most strict type of fast is for medical reasons, usually for procedures using anesthesia, where no food or drink may be consumed. Next to a complete fast is a water fast, where only pure water is consumed. A juice fast allows only the consumption of water and liquids from fruits and vegetables. There are many aids to be used during a cleansing fast, which encourages only consuming foods that will purify the body. The more lenient, but still incredibly important fast is a partial fast or dietary exclusion. This method requires you to omit foods that might not agree with your body, like those to which you have food allergies or sensitivities.


Not eating is serious, and you should always approach it as a life or death decision because it is. Fasting can cause drops in blood sugar, weight gain, dizziness, headaches, malnourishment, abnormal heart rhythms, and low blood pressure. Severe anorexia will lead to death.
Please speak to a healthcare provider before starting any new fasting or diet routines. If you have an eating disorder and want help, please call the National Eating Disorders Association at 800-931-2237 or visit their website to chat online.


Dehydration is always a concern with fasting as we remove a source of water by eliminating juicy foods. If possible, continue to drink water throughout your fast to not become dehydrated, and limit activities that cause sweating like saunas and exercise.
Always consult your doctor when changing serious health routines, especially if you have underlying health concerns or plan to fast for more than three days.

Medical Reasons-

Your doctor may ask you to fast before blood work, cholesterol screenings, and surgery. Food and drink may interfere with test results as your body still digests, sending byproducts throughout your bloodstream. It is essential to fast before any surgery involving anesthesia as it can make you nauseous. Aspiration of vomit is a real life-threatening concern you do not want to add to your operation.

Religious Reasons-

Many religions encourage fasting for reasons such as purity, humility, focus, and offerings of dedication. Purifying the body and spirit can take the form of a fast to remove all outside contaminants from the body or temple. By experiencing voluntary hunger, one remembers those who suffer unwillingly and learns to be humble. No one is very far removed from destitution. Religious focus and clarity may come when all worldly influences are removed from the body, and the spirit is allowed to communicate freely. Some Christians believe that gestures of devotion, like fasting, are essential to connect to the suffering of Christ.

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