Fasting Health : Fasting Health Information Benefits & Risks

by Robert Dave Johnston


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In this page we will talk about fasting health in general terms from my perspective as a nurse and medical professional. My name is Lauren E. Porter, I am a registered nurse and the medical consultant here at Fitness Through Fasting.

fasting health

Our aim in this website is to arm you with information you can use to adopt a healthier lifestyle permanently - one day at a time.

Nevertheless, if not handled appropriately, fasting could, in some cases, produce adverse effects with some people. It is not a panacea and there could be risks involved.

It is therefore important for us to discuss in this series of articles how the body reacts when it is deprived of food, and what impact this can have on persons with pre-existing conditions.

For a specific discussion on the positive side of fasting, go to the Fasting Health Benefits page.

Please visit Fasting & Diabetes for an expanding talk on fasting insulin - fasting glucose tolerance tests and how juice and/or water fasting can help avert diabetes and, in some cases, cure it.

Fasting for Healing

There are many documented cases of persons with terminal cancer having been healed after going on an extended fast. You can visit our dear colleague Tom Coghill's St. Theodore's Hospital of Sagada website. The medical reports suggest that depriving the body of solid food for a season allows it to detoxify and therefore fight off the disease on its own.

That the "source" of the illness was actually a polluted digestive tract. There is much to say about the premise that Disease Begins in the Colon. I have found this to be absolutely true in my practice as a nurse.

Nearly every person I come across with a terminal illness is overweight or has abused his or her body in other ways; cigarettes, drugs, alcohol etc. This, of course, is not the case every time. But, sadly, it is the majority.

As a nurse I do believe in the power of fasting. However, I also insist that persons launching this undertaking should receive medical attention before, during and after they fast. Long-term fasting health benefits can be ensured when there is certainty that it is not causing other complications.

Water Fasting

This is specifically related to extended periods of water fasting because, in this case, vital organs as the brain and heart do not receive any type of glucose (food). Fasting glucose levels can go down dramatically during a water fast, causing the person to feel very weak and possibly even faint.

Nobody amidst a water fast should continue to exert him or herself if at all possible. If you simply cannot take the time out to fast, then I suggest you stick to juice fasting for the time being. You will still receive fasting health benefits.

Yes, with water fasting the weight loss is faster and more dramatic, but so is the demand on the body. The withdrawal can be very taxing and unpleasant, especially if you have never attempted fasting before.

Fasting with fruit & vegetable juices, supplements and broth is more realistic in my opinion. Try it for awhile until your body grows accustomed to going without solid food. Then, later on, you can start evaluating whether or not you wish to attempt a water fast.

As a nurse this is the most practical and down-to-earth advice that I can give you.

Fasting Precautions

In another section of this website, reference is made to moving forward and eventually attempting a water fasting campaign of 21 to 40 days. One of our colleagues here has himself completed such a feat and the results in his life were amazing, both physically and mentally.

My concern with Water Fasting for longer than three days, as I mentioned before, is that it can destabilize blood sugar levels.

For this reason the person should be watched and, if the symptoms become acute - including fainting spells - the fast should be broken immediately. You can still attain substantial fasting health benefits with a juice or partial fast, at least until you feel better.

For the most part, what I can say from experience with hundreds of patients is that almost everyone would be better off if they fasted regularly - at least for three days at a time several times a year.

Take your time, but do it! Move up the fasting ladder with certainty and caution. Shoot for a water fast of 21 to 40 days down the road. But don't set out to do it tomorrow if you are not ready. And even if you start and later find you cannot bear it, you lose nothing by stopping.

The fasting health benefits can be gained a little at a time.

Don't give up and keep trying.

Be Practical

This is not about who is stronger and can keep a straight face while water fasting. This is about health, freedom and healing. So hang in there. Do it at your own pace. By the same token, do not allow your body to be the one who controls you.

There will be times during fasting in which the body will give you very uncomfortable symptoms - even severe. Yet in most cases these symptoms pass and you will end up feeling better than ever.

You must learn to listen to your body and discern when it is asking you to break the fast because there is trouble, and when it simply is going through the natural course of detoxification.

In truth, the body actually welcomes the break, especially the liver and digestive system. I personally think water fasting once or twice a week would be perfectly safe medically for most people. Longer water fasts of one week to 40 days would require caution and should not be done hastily.

Fasting Side Effects

Dizziness, weakness and headaches are normal when fasting. Headaches can be especially acute if you are a habitual coffee drinker. You can continue to drink coffee if absolutely necessary, although I do suggest that you water it down to maximize fasting health benefits.

One cup a day is fine, but if you are drinking multiple cups a day, then you must evaluate whether or not you are using it as a replacement for genuine energy that will only come with proper fasting and detoxification.

Hunger pains can be minimized by drinking more juice or broth, performing mild exercises and/or doing affirmations. The point of these is to take the focus away from the hunger pains. You can also drink seltzer water with lime to help settle stomach acids which cause a great deal of pangs and discomfort.

Fasting & Colloidal Silver

I also have found it extremely helpful to take at least ten drops a day of the supplement colloidal silver while fasting. Colloidal Silver continues to be studied as a very strong and natural antibiotic that helps the body fight infections.

According to the various studies performed, colloidal silver kills the enzyme that viruses and bacteria need to thrive. So, in essence, the silver aids in the destruction of disease-causing organisms in the body and also in food. This adds to the fasting health benefits of detoxification.

Meanwhile, if you are diabetic, I strongly encourage you to learn more about Glyconutrients. 'Glycol' means sugar, the very substance diabetes sufferers aim to avoid. But glyconutrients are 'good sugars' and can strengthen a diabetics system. Glyconutrients do not convert to sugar; they are not glucose or sucrose.

fasting health shipwrecked

Shipwrecked

We are by no means attempting to give here a full medical review on fasting. Again, this is our experience, strength and hope. As we have mentioned before, it is very important that you visit a doctor before launching any fasting program.

As a health care professional, I do want to repeat that if you are planning a water fast longer than three days, you should be be supervised by a physician, or at the very least a family member. There definitely should be some accountability.

Please do not isolate or try to be a lone ranger. It is my belief that the body was actually designed to fast. Fasting health benefits, in my opinion, are in the very thumb print of who we are. The less one eats, the better and healthier one usually feels. That is one heck of a clue.

In CPR classes, they mention what is called the 3-3-3 Rule.

It basically says that the human body can go 30 days without food and three days without water, but only three minutes without air. If we look at this "equation" of creation, we can see that you will NOT drop dead if you fail to succumb to your body's every whim.

Not eating, or eating less, is at the very heart of fasting health benefits.

Missing a meal here and there can do you a world of good. Imagine if you were shipwrecked on a desert island with no food for several weeks. Would you die?

Well, as medical professionals we are taught that the answer is no. You CAN survive weeks without food. Time, of course, will vary depending on your body weight.

Out of Gas

Be ready to feel the weakness when you enter the second and third days of fasting. Fasting health benefits are around the corner, but this is the tough spot because you will feel like you are out of gas. It may be difficult to get up and perform tasks.

When one has a cigarette or alcohol addiction one can stop smoking or drinking completely. But with food, the tables are turned because, after all, food is needed to sustain life.

The point is that fasting is not intended for starvation, but to pause and give the body time to cleanse itself and heal.

Then the idea is that when the person starts eating again, he or she will do it with a new sense of responsibility and commitment to drop destructive habits.

PERMANENT change is the true core of your fasting health benefits.The key is learning to eat to live, not live to eat.

Fasting Health Weight Loss

Ketosis

Your brain uses glucose for calories (fuel). Even if you are not doing anything, the body needs calories to support the senses and bodily movements. Glucose comes from carbohydrates; rice, starches, beans, salads, fruits, cereals and corn.

How long can the reserves adequately supply the vital functions of important organs such as the brain, heart and kidneys, to name a few? Where does the energy come from when you do not eat? How many days of energy does the body store in a long fast? Well, good questions.

When the body stops receiving food for a season, it actually begins to burn fat for energy in a process called "ketosis." Stored fat does have a lot of toxins, but it also serves as energy to keep the body going even though you stopped feeding it.

So, amazingly, the hunger pains you feel when you are fasting are NOT really hunger pains because -- in reality -- you are not starving. However, once ketosis has burned all the available fat, the body will start actually eating living tissue. This is the beginning of starvation.

Fasting should be broken immediately at this point. Many persons who have done water fasts for longer than 30 days say the hunger pains go away completely, only to return with a vengeance around day 40 to 60 - depending on their body weight. That 2nd hunger is the real hunger - starvation. There are no fasting health benefits in pushing oneself to this point or beyond.

Somebody who is thin can probably not go 40 days without eating. The energy reserves are scant.

Fasting & Exercise

Weight loss is a very simple equation. Calories in - calories out. If the activity level you have uses up more calories than you are eating, you are going to lose weight - and vice versa to gain weight.

Fasting health benefits will be short-lived unless this reality is internalized and acted upon. The best solution, in my mind, is to increase activity when not fasting. If you are fasting, limit your physical activity to walking.

But our culture often does not want to hear about exercise, diet and fitness. We want fasting health benefits, but not the sacrifice that is required to obtain them and keep them. Millions sit in desks all day, snacking, at a computer, sedentary and then go home and gorge on a huge meal - then go to bed. Very few calories are used.

Aging & The Metabolism

You have to take into account, also, that as one ages, the metabolism slows down. More discipline may be required to keep the fasting health benefits because the tendency will be to gain weight faster.

A 20 year old couch potato that eats an average diet will use the same amount of calories as a 40 year old person who has moderate daily activity, or a 60 year old who has high activity levels. Just walking every day for 15 minutes to 30 minutes is sufficient to probably make a huge change in your life.

If you do so, the odds are on your side that you will sustain your weight loss and not revert to binging. Of course, fasting health benefits must be maintained by wise and structured eating once the fast is over.

The bottom line is that the time is NOW to get up and do whatever it takes to lose dangerous pounds and add years to your life. Fasting is a very effective way in which to accomplish this. There is no reason for procrastination, except perhaps apathy or fear of hunger and detox pains.

But if you look at all the fasting health benefits you can gain, and the sickness that looms if you do not make any changes - then the option comes much more into perspective. I hope that these articles give you the motivation and pep you need to take action toward your weight loss and overall health. You are very much worth it!

Return from Fasting Health to Fitness Through Fasting Home.

Lauren E. Porter - RN/ASN/Medical Consultant
Robert Dave Johnston
Fitness Through Fasting - Editor


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