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Ancient Therapy Of Fasting And Its Benefits
Fasting, observing, and being strict are all words derived from the old English word ‘feastan.' Fasting is the most ancient, most effective, and least expensive method of treating natural disease. It is a period of complete voluntary abstinence from all foods for a set period of time.
Throughout the procedure, the body is in reserve (Dr. Herbert M. Shelton). Medieval saints highly emphasized this method. The sacred books and writings of the ancient Greeks contain numerous references to fasting.
Fasting, according to Naturopathy, does not cure the disease; rather, it allows the body to heal on its own. Weight loss is a fairly consistent finding among fasting people, according to a review of intermittent fasting studies.
What Is Fasting Therapy?
Fasting, observance, and strictness are all words derived from the old English term ‘Feastan.' In Sanskrit, ‘Vrath' means ‘determination,' and ‘Upavasa' means ‘close to God.' In terms of what one fasts from, a fast can be complete or partial, and it can be continuous or intermittent in length.
Fasting is a useful therapy for keeping one's health in check. The length of the fast is determined by the age of the patient, the nature of the illness, and the number and type of medications taken previously. Patients who fast will not suffer harm if they rest and receive sufficient medical attention.
Water, liquids, or raw vegetable juices are used too fast. Lime juice fasting is the best, safest, and most effective way. The body burns and excretes massive amounts of accumulated waste while fasting.
Drinking alkaline drinks can aid in the cleansing process. Juice fasting is the ideal form of fasting since the sugars in juices strengthen the heart. All juices should be made from fresh fruit and consumed right away. Juices that have been canned or frozen should not be used.
Emptying the bowels by enema at the start of the fast is a preventative procedure that must be followed in all cases of fasting so that the patient is not troubled by gas or decaying waste created from the excrements lingering in the stomach.
Enemas should be used at least every other day during the fasting phase.
A total of six to eight glasses of fluids should be consumed. During the fast, a great deal of energy is expended by removing accumulated toxins and poisonous waste materials. It is consequently critical that the patient receives as much physical and mental relaxation as possible throughout the fast.
The fast's success is mainly determined by how it is broken. The critical rules for breaking the fast are not overeating, eating slowly and thoroughly chewing your meal, and gradually returning to a regular diet over several days.
Is Fasting Safe?
Fasting for a few days won't harm most healthy people as long as they don't become dehydrated.
To stay healthy, your body requires vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from food. Fatigue, dizziness, constipation, dehydration, and an inability to tolerate cold temperatures are all symptoms of not getting enough. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, people who have a chronic disease, the elderly, and children are among those who should not fast.
Before starting a new diet, especially one that involves fasting, consult your doctor to see if it's right for you. Intermittent fasting has been shown in several studies to have a variety of health benefits. Intermittent fasting has been shown to improve disease control in humans with chronic diseases in studies.
These studies, on the other hand, are only conducted for a few months. If the diet is followed for the rest of one's life, it's unclear whether the benefits will last.
You can also request a referral from your doctor to a registered dietitian who can help you create a healthy eating plan.
What Happens When We Eat?
We consume more food energy than we can utilize right away when we eat. Some of this energy must be saved for later use. Insulin, which rises during meals, is a critical hormone involved in storing and utilizing food energy. Both carbs and protein stimulate insulin.
Fats do so to a lesser extent, although they are rarely consumed independently. Insulin serves two purposes. For starters, it enables the body to utilize food energy immediately. Carbohydrates are quickly absorbed and converted to glucose, causing blood sugar levels to rise. Insulin permits glucose to enter most cells directly, allowing them to use it as an energy source. Proteins are broken down into amino acids and absorbed, turning any leftovers into glucose.
Proteins do not cause blood glucose to rise but can cause insulin levels to rise. The effect varies, and many individuals are surprised to learn that particular proteins can stimulate protein as much as carbohydrate-rich diets.
Fats are absorbed straight as fat and have little influence on insulin. Insulin, on the other hand, aids in storing surplus energy. There are two methods for storing energy. Glucose molecules can be joined together to form glycogen chains, which are subsequently stored in the liver. However, the amount of glycogen that can be stored has a limit.
The body begins to convert glucose to fat when this threshold is achieved. This newly formed fat might be deposited in the liver or the body's fat reserves. While converting glucose to fat is more complex than storing it as glycogen, the amount of fat that can be produced is unlimited.
What Happens When We Fast?
When we fast, the process of utilizing and storing food energy that occurs when we eat reverses. Insulin levels fall, prompting the body to begin burning fat reserves.
The most easily accessible food source is glycogen (glucose stored in the liver), and the liver stores enough to last for around 24 hours. Following that, the body begins to use the stored body fat for energy.
As a result, there are only two states in which the body can exist: fed (high insulin) and fasted (low insulin). Either we're storing dietary energy, or we're consuming it. There is no net weight increase if eating and fasting are equal.
If, on the other hand, we spend most of the day accumulating food energy (because we are fed), we will gain weight over time. The only way to restore equilibrium is to increase the time we spend burning food energy (by going into a fasting state). So, when we fast, what hormonal and physiological changes occur?
Insulin levels, for example, decrease. Lowering insulin levels regularly enhances insulin sensitivity, which means your body becomes more responsive to insulin. Insulin resistance, the polar opposite of insulin sensitivity, is the core cause of type 2 diabetes and has also been connected to a variety of other disorders, including:
- Heart Disease
- Alzheimer's Disease
- High Cholesterol
- High Blood Pressure
- Abdominal Obesity
- Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (fatty liver disease)
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Because insulin induces salt and water retention in the kidneys, lowering insulin helps the body to get rid of excess salt and water. That's why low-carb diets promote diuresis or excessive water loss. Water accounts for a large portion of the early weight loss on a low-carb diet. Some people report decreased blood pressure as well.
Types Of Fasting Therapy
Various religions have practiced fasting for centuries. Many people use this practice to detox their bodies or kick-start a weight-loss regimen. Fasting entails abstaining from solid food for a set time, drastically lowering calorie consumption, or eliminating certain foods. To compensate, the individual must drink enough water to avoid dehydration. Fasting status can be achieved in as little as 16 hours and as long as 3 weeks, depending on the procedure.
1. Regular Fasting
Short fasting periods are thought to keep you cooperative; if you get hungry on a fasting day, just look forward to the next day, when you can “feast” again. Some individuals say I can do anything for two days, but cutting back on what I eat for seven days is too much.
For certain persons, a 5:2 diet may be more effective than calorie restriction for the entire week. However, The FastDiet authors advise against fasting on days you plan to undertake a lot of endurance exercise.
Assess whether this form of fasting will work with your training schedule if you're preparing for a bike or running race (or running high-mileage weeks). Alternatively, consult a sports nutritionist.
2. Time-Restricted Fasting
You choose an eating window with this sort of IF every day, which should ideally leave a 14- to 16-hour fasting time. When liver glycogen is depleted, fasting stimulates autophagy, a natural ‘cellular housekeeping' process in which the body clears trash and other items that get in the way of mitochondrial function. Doing so may aid fat cell metabolism and insulin function.
For example, this method allows you to set your dining window from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It's perfect for someone with a family who already eats a late meal. Then there's the fact that much of the time spent fasting is spent sleeping. (Depending on when you set your window, you may or may not have to “miss” any meals.)
However, this is contingent on your ability to stay consistent. Daily periods of fasting may not be for you if your schedule is constantly changing or if you need or desire the freedom to go out to breakfast on occasion, go on a late date night, or go to happy hour.
3. Overnight Fasting
This is the most straightforward method and entails fasting for 12 hours daily. As an illustration, choose to stop eating at 7 p.m. after supper and resume eating at 7 a.m. the following day with breakfast. At the 12-hour point, autophagy still occurs, but the cellular benefits are minor; this strategy has the advantage of being simple to put into practice.
You also don't have to skip meals; all you're doing is avoiding a late-night snack (if you ate one, to begin with). However, this approach does not take advantage of all of the benefits of fasting. A shorter fasting window means more time if you're trying to lose weight.
4. Eat Stop Eat Fasting
Eat Stop Eat was founded by Brad Pilon, who came up with the plan while doing graduate research on short-term fasting at the University of Guelph, according to his website. Brad also published a diet book in 2007 (he published an updated version of the diet book in 2017).
Eat Stop Eat entails fasting for 24 hours twice a week, then eating “responsibly” for the remaining five days, but not necessarily “dieting,” according to Brad's website. As he puts it, “You can eat three or twenty meals per day. I'm fine with any meal pattern that works for you as long as you eat responsibly and keep your overall intake in check.”
5. Whole-Day Fasting
You just eat once a day here. Some people choose to have dinner and then not eat again until the next day's dinner. Fasting periods with whole-day fasting are 24 hours (dinner to supper or lunch to lunch), whereas fasting periods with 5:2 are practically 36 hours. (For example, you might have dinner on Sunday, then “fast” on Monday by eating 500 or 600 calories before breaking the fast on Tuesday with breakfast.)
If you're trying to lose weight, the benefit of whole-day fasting is that it's tough (though not impossible) to consume a whole day's worth of calories in one sitting. The problem with this strategy is that it's challenging to receive all the nutrients your body requires to perform at its best with just one meal.
Lastly, sticking to this strategy is challenging. By dinner arrives, you may be ravenous, leading you to consume less-than-healthy, calorie-dense foods. Consider this: When you're hungry, broccoli isn't precisely the first thing that comes to mind.
Many people drink too much coffee to satisfy their appetites, which can interfere with their ability to sleep. If you don't eat, you may get cognitive fog throughout the day if you don't eat.
6. Alternate-Day Fasting
Krista Varady, Ph.D., a nutrition professor at the University of Illinois in Chicago, promoted this strategy. People may fast every other day, with a “fast” consisting of 25% of their daily calorie requirements (about 500 calories) and nonfasting days being typical eating days. This is a popular weight-loss strategy. Alternate-day fasting has been shown to reduce body mass index, weight, fat mass, and total cholesterol in overweight people.
On fasting days, you may be concerned about feeling hungry. Dr. Varady and colleagues observed that by week two, the adverse effects of alternate-day fasting (such as hunger) had subsided, and individuals began to feel more content with the diet by week four.
The negative was that study participants reported they were never truly “full” during the eight weeks of the experiment, which can make sticking to this technique difficult.
7. Calorie Restriction Fasting
A Calorie-Restriction Fast is the most basic sort of fast. When most people hear the word “fasting,” they immediately think of this. It simply entails going without eating for some time. Fasting for this purpose usually lasts between 18 and 48 hours.
To make this type of fast work, ensure the person who is fasting has ingested enough calories in the days leading up to the fast. Then choose a day, eat dinner early, and fast for the amount of time specified. To support the fasted state, simply drink water and keep activity levels low during the fast.
8. Macro Nutrient Restrictions Fasting
This sort of fast entails limiting a specific macronutrient (The three macronutrients are proteins, carbohydrates, and fats). These fasts are usually protein deloads. These fasts are great for athletes who need a lot of protein and are constantly putting their intestines under stress.
The athlete will last 2-3 days a month, eating only high-quality fats, carbs, and fully cooked veggies. The decrease in protein consumption will allow the gut to rest and recover. Keep in mind that it's still critical to ensure their activity is kept to a bare minimum during this time.
9. Seasonal Eating Fasting
The third form of fast is seasonal eating, which isn't fast. This type of fast necessitates a trip back in time to see what our food supply would have been like in different seasons. Summer was allocated for fruits and leaner meats, while winter was reserved for fattier meats and tubers.
Only consume what is naturally available throughout that time of year to eat seasonally. While we have excellent modern food access, most northern civilizations would not have access to ripe bananas in January. Seasonal eating is based on individualized nutrition, which entails figuring out what works best for you.
10. Diagnostic Fasting
It's not something most people choose to do; this fast may be a little more challenging. Before a medical treatment such as surgery or a blood test, your doctor may advise you to fast. For safety and reliable test results, it's critical to follow the suggested protocol.
11. Juice Fasting
Juice fasting, also known as juice cleansing, is a 3-5-day liquid fast. It's frequently done to detox or lose weight. Organic, detoxifying fruit and vegetable juices are used in juice fasts.
12. Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is when you fast and eat simultaneously on the same day. This pattern can be repeated every other day, for a few days at a time, or you can choose to incorporate this fasting approach into your daily routine for a prolonged length of time. While intermittent fasting, the food you eat may not vary, or people may feast throughout the eating window.
Some folks simply eat all of their meals in the afternoon or evening in a narrow window of time. An intermittent fast can be done in a variety of ways. Religious Intermittent fasts often prevent eating between the hours of sunrise and nightfall, with meals only being consumed in the evening.
To get the most out of their fast, athletes, dieters, and bodybuilders tailor their intermittent fasting plan to their daily schedule. According to some data, fasting for extended periods increases weight reduction and improves blood glucose and insulin balance.
13. Extended Fasting
Extended fasts typically last 48 hours without food, although they can continue for a week or longer. This fast can be done several times a year or once a month. People with a high BMI or who have trained their metabolism to respond to long periods of fasting are the only ones who can do these fasts. Depending on how long you've been fasting, you might need to supplement your water with nutritional supplements to keep your vitamins and minerals in check.
14. Ketogenic Fasting
Fasting on a ketogenic diet puts your body in a fat-burning state known as ketosis. A ketogenic fast is comparable to a partial fast because it includes a tiny amount of food. The types of food consumed by the two are different.
You only eat fatty foods during a ketogenic fast to put your body into ketosis. For a vegan version of this fast, see my ketogenic fast. You can try it for five days to see whether it works for you, or you can go for three weeks.
The Health Benefits Of Fasting Therapy
Fasting is a centuries-old practice that plays a central role in many cultures and religions, despite its recent popularity.
Fasting is defined as abstaining from all or some foods or beverages for a set period. There are a variety of ways to fast.
In general, the majority of fasts last between 24 and 72 hours.
Intermittent fasting, on the other hand, involves cycling between eating and fasting periods that can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
Fasting has been shown to have a variety of health benefits, ranging from weight loss to improved cognitive function.
Here are twelve scientifically validated health benefits of fasting:
1. Supports Blood Sugar Management
Fasting has been shown in several studies to improve blood sugar control, which could be especially beneficial for those at risk of diabetes.
In fact, a study of ten people with type 2 diabetes found that short-term intermittent fasting reduced blood sugar levels significantly.
Meanwhile, another study found that intermittent fasting and alternate-day fasting were equally effective at reducing insulin resistance as calorie restriction.
Insulin resistance can be reduced by increasing your body's sensitivity to insulin, allowing glucose to be transported more efficiently from your bloodstream to your cells.
This, combined with the potential blood sugar-lowering effects of fasting, could help keep your blood sugar stable, preventing blood sugar spikes and crashes.
Keep in mind, however, that some studies are more conclusive than others.
2. Help Disease Prevention
When you change your eating habits, your body appears to have more time to focus on other vital processes, such as illness prevention. As a result, it may increase the body's ability to regulate chronic inflammation and lower the risk of diseases like heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
3. Delay Aging And Support Growth And Metabolism
Fasting, especially eating a low-protein diet, has been linked to a longer life expectancy in animal experiments. Fasting also appears to increase human growth hormone levels, a hormone involved in growth, repair, metabolism, weight reduction, muscle strength, and exercise performance. Because most current longevity research focuses on animals, further research is needed to understand how this may affect human aging fully.
4. Help To Lose Weight
Fasting has become popular among dieters as a convenient way to lose weight. Studies have shown that controlling when we eat or fasting for a brief period helps with weight loss, fat loss, and blood lipids. Fasting has also been demonstrated in previous research to improve the ability of overweight persons to switch their metabolism to fat burning, preserve muscle mass, and improve body composition.
5. Improve Mental Function
The harmful elements in your blood and lymphatic system are reduced when you fast, making it easier to think. While fasting, the brain has access to the energy that would normally be used to digest food. You won't notice this mental shift until the first few days of a fast because your body takes time to adjust.
At the start of the procedure, you may experience headaches or pain points. When your body is free of toxins, your brain has access to a cleaner bloodstream, which leads to clearer thoughts, better memory, and sharper other senses.
6. Healing Rejuvenation
When you fast, your body goes through a regeneration process. It eliminates unhealthy cells, leaving only healthy tissue. In the body, there is also a significant shift in nutrients. The body holds on to vital vitamins and minerals while processing and eliminating old tissue, poisons, and unwanted materials.
7. Increase Willpower
Fasting takes mental fortitude and the willingness to forego immediate enjoyment to accomplish long-term goals. You'll likely feel immense joy and a renewed sense of accomplishment if you choose to partake in such a challenging workout and succeed.
8. Reduced Inflammation
Although clinical trials are few and far between, animal studies suggest that both IF and general calorie restriction can lower inflammation levels. The authors of a study published in Nutrition Research wanted to see if there was a link between fasting and obesity in humans, so they looked at a group of 50 people fasting for Ramadan.
This Muslim holiday involves fasting from sunrise to sunset and eating overnight. According to the study, pro-inflammatory indicators, blood pressure, body weight, and body fat were lower than usual during the fasting phase.
9. Lower Cholesterol
Various variants of IF, such as alternate-day fasting and 5:2, can help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, as well as other measures of cardiometabolic health, such as blood pressure, according to a review published in the Annual Review of Nutrition in October 2021.
According to the CDC, LDL cholesterol can increase your heart disease or stroke risk. According to the Mayo Clinic, IF also lowered triglycerides, lipids found in the blood that might cause stroke, heart attack, or heart disease. However, not all researchers agree that IF lowers cholesterol levels significantly.
According to a study published in the Journal of Patient-Centered Research and Reviews in the summer of 2020, there was no difference in cholesterol levels between individuals who used statins and those who didn't.
10. Better Outcomes For Stroke Survivors
Lowering your blood pressure and maintaining a healthy cholesterol level (two of the benefits mentioned above) are essential factors in lowering your risk of stroke. However, that isn't the only prospective stroke advantage of IF.
Fasting may provide a protective mechanism for the brain and increase recovery after a stroke, according to a study published in the journal Nutrients in October 2019. This is mainly due to IF's anti-inflammatory effect. The researchers drew this conclusion based on animal studies, noting that human studies on the effects of IF on stroke are lacking.
11. Boosted Brain Function
According to Dr. Gottfried, IF can help with mental sharpness and attention. And there's some preliminary evidence to back it up: Fasting every other day may improve memory, according to a study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry in November 2021.
However, this research was limited to animals. In a review published in September 2021 in Nutrients, researchers looked at how IF affects human brains and discovered that while it doesn't appear to contribute to short-term cognitive improvements in healthy people, it may help prevent the development of a neurological condition.
12. Cancer Protection
According to a review published in November 2018 in Nature Reviews: Cancer, a fasting diet may reduce cancer risk by reducing cancer cells' ability to adapt and spread and increase the benefits of cancer treatment. More research is needed in this area as well:
More high-quality randomized clinical trials are needed to confirm this association, according to a paper published in November 2021 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. People who are undergoing cancer treatment should, of course, consult their healthcare provider before making dietary modifications.
Fasting can be used to treat a variety of illnesses. If you are slim and healthy, you can enjoy it once a year as a preventive measure, for example, to treat risk factors like obesity (especially abdominal), hypertension, type 2 diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, smoking, lack of exercise, and stress.
Fasting also has a variety of therapeutic applications, which are increasingly being documented by scientific research. Joint complaints and rheumatism, chronic digestive disorders, migraines, and many other conditions are indications.
I trust you enjoyed this article on the Ancient Therapy Of Fasting And Its Benefits. Please stay tuned for more blog posts to come shortly. Take care!
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