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Fasting

Fasting

Definition

Fasting is voluntarily not eating food for varying lengths of time. Fasting is used as a medical therapy for many conditions. It is also a spiritual practice in many religions.

Origins

Used for thousands of years, fasting is one of the oldest therapies in medicine. Many of the great doctors of ancient times and many of the oldest healing systems have recommended it as an integral method of healing and prevention. Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, believed fasting enabled the body to heal itself. Paracelsus, another great healer in the Western tradition, wrote 500 years ago that "fasting is the greatest remedy, the physician within." Ayurvedic medicine , the world's oldest healing system, has long advocated fasting as a major treatment.

Fasting has also been used in nearly every religion in the world, including Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam. Many of history's great spiritual leaders fasted for mental and spiritual clarity, including Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed. In one of the famous political acts of the last century, the Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi fasted for 21 days to promote peace.

Fasting has been used in Europe as a medical treatment for years. Many spas and treatment centers, particularly those in Germany, Sweden, and Russia, use medically supervised fasting. Fasting has gained popularity in American alternative medicine over the past several decades, and many doctors feel it is beneficial. Fasting is a central therapy in detoxification , a healing method founded on the principle that the build up of toxic substances in the body is responsible for many illnesses and conditions.

Benefits

Fasting can be used for nearly every chronic condition, including allergies, anxiety , arthritis, asthma, depression , diabetes, headaches, heart disease , high cholesterol , low blood sugar, digestive disorders, mental illness, and obesity . Fasting is an effective and safe weight loss method. It is frequently prescribed as a detoxification treatment for those with conditions that may be influenced by environmental factors, such as cancer and multiple chemical sensitivity . Fasting has been used successfully to help treat people who have been exposed to high levels of toxic materials due to accident or occupation. Fasting is thought to be beneficial as a preventative measure to increase overall health, vitality, and resistance to disease. Fasting is also used as a method of mental and spiritual rejuvenation.

Description

The principle of fasting is simple. When the intake of food is temporarily stopped, many systems of the body are given a break from the hard work of digestion. The extra energy gives the body the chance to heal and restore itself, and burning stored calories gets rid of toxic substances stored in the body.

The digestive tract is the part of the body most exposed to environmental threats, including bacteria, viruses, parasites, and toxins. It requires the most immune system support. When food is broken down in the intestines, it travels through the blood to the liver, the largest organ of the body's natural detoxification system. The liver breaks down and removes the toxic by-products produced by digestion, including natural ones and the chemicals now present in the food supply. During fasting, the liver and immune system are essentially freed to detoxify and heal other parts of the body.

EVARTS LOOMIS 1910


Evarts G. Loomis is known as the father of holistic medicine. A homeopathic physician of international renown, he is an advocate of holistic treatment of disease, natural foods, exercise, and meditation. Loomis was licensed to practice traditional medicine in 1946, but began early in his career to diverge from a quiet or dull practice. He served as a dog-sled doctor with the Grenfell Mission in Newfoundland, Canada, worked in Algeria, as well as with the Friends Ambulance Unit in China before he founded Meadowlark, the first holistic retreat in North America. Loomis was a pioneer in the holistic health movement in the United States. He has also been a proponent of regulated, monitored 24-36 hour fasts, touting the benefits of both the water fast and the all-juice fast.

He and his partner, Fay Loomis, operate Health and Growth Associates, from their home in Hemet, California. Loomis also utilizes Dream Work and Kinesiology (the study of human movement) in his health and personal growth counseling. Their retreat is open to the public, and Loomis can be contacted at: 28195 Fairview Avenue, Hemet, California 92544; phone at: (909) 927-1768; or though e-mail at: eloomis@lasercom.net.

Jane Spear

Many healers claim that fasting is a particularly useful therapy for Americans and for the modern lifestyle, subjected to heavy diets , overeating, and constant exposure to food additives and chemicals. Some alternative practitioners have gone so far as to estimate that the average American is carrying 5-10 pounds of toxic substances in their bodies, for which fasting is the quickest and most effective means of removal.

Physiology of fasting

Through evolution, the body became very efficient at storing energy and handling situations when no food was available. For many centuries, fasting was probably a normal occurrence for most people, and the body adapted to it. It is estimated that even very thin people can survive for 40 days or more without food. The body has a special mechanism that is initiated when no food is eaten. Fasting is not starvation, but rather the body's burning of stored energy. Starvation occurs when the body no longer has any stored energy and begins using essential tissues such as organs for an energy source. Therapeutic fasts are stopped long before this happens.

Many physiological changes occur in the body during fasting. During the first day or so, the body uses its glycogen reserves, the sugars that are the basic energy supply. After these are depleted, the body begins using fat. However, the brain, which has high fuel requirements, still needs glucose (sugars converted from glycogen). To obtain glucose for the brain, the body begins to break down muscle tissue during the second day of the fast. Thus, during fasting some muscle loss will occur. To fuel the brain, the body would need to burn over a pound of muscle a day, but the body has developed another way to create energy that saves important muscle mass. This protein-sparing process is called ketosis, which occurs during the third day of a fast for men and the second day for women. In this highly efficient state, the liver begins converting stored fat and other nonessential tissues into ketones, which can be used by the brain, muscles, and heart as energy. It is at this point in the fast that sensations of hunger generally go away, and many people experience normal or even increased energy levels. Hormone levels and certain functions become more stable in this state as well. The goal of most fasts is to allow the body to reach the ketosis state in order to burn excess fat and unneeded or damaged tissue. Thus, fasts longer than three days are generally recommended as therapy.

Weight loss occurs most rapidly during the first few days of a fast, up to 2 pounds per day. In following days, the figure drops to around 0.5 pound per day. An average weight loss of a pound a day for an entire fast can be expected. Studies show that cutting back just once a month can jump-start healthier eating and help rid one's body of a lifetime of extra calories.

Performing a fast

Fasts can be performed for varying lengths of time, depending on the person and his or her health requirements. For chronic conditions, therapists recommend from two to four weeks to get the most benefits. Seven-day fasts are also commonly performed. A popular fasting program for prevention and general health is a three-day fast taken four times per year, at the change of each season. These can be easily performed over long weekends. Preventative fasts of one day per week are used by many people as well.

Juice fasts are also used by many people, although these are not technically fasts. Juice fasts are less intensive than water fasts because the body doesn't reach the ketosis stage. The advantage of juice fasts is that fruit and vegetable drinks can supply extra energy and nutrients. People can fit a few days of juice fasting into their normal schedules without significant drops in energy. Juice fasts are also said to have cleansing and detoxifying effects. The disadvantage of juice fasts is that the body never gets to the ketosis stage, so these fasters are thought to lack the deep detoxification and healing effects of the water fast.

Medical supervision is recommended for any fast over three days. Most alternative medicine practitioners, such as homeopaths, naturopathic doctors, and ayurvedic doctors, can supervise and monitor patients during fasts. Those performing extended fasts and those with health conditions may require blood, urine, and other tests during fasting. There are many alternative health clinics that perform medically supervised fasts as well. Some conventional medical doctors may also supervise patients during fasts. Costs and insurance coverage vary, depending on the doctor, clinic, and requirements of the patient.

Preparations

Fasts must be entered and exited with care. To enter a fast, the diet should be gradually lightened over a few days. First, heavy foods such as meats and dairy products should be eliminated for a day or two. Grains, nuts, and beans should then be reduced for several days. The day before a fast, only easily digested foods like fruits, light salads, and soups should be eaten. During the fast, only pure water and occasional herbal teas should be drunk. If you exercise , keep your workouts during fasting light and relatively brief, stopping immediately if you feel dizzy, lightheaded or short of breath.

Fasts should be ended as gradually as they are entered, going from lighter to heavier foods progressively. The diet after a fast should emphasize fresh, wholesome foods. Fasters should particularly take care not to overeat when they complete a fast.

Precautions

Fasting isn't appropriate for everyone and, in some cases, could be harmful. Any person undertaking a first fast longer than three days should seek medical supervision. Those with health conditions should always have medical support during fasting. Plenty of water should be taken by fasters since dehydration can occur. Saunas and sweating therapies are sometimes recommended to assist detoxification, but should be used sparingly. Those fasting should significantly slow down their lifestyles. Taking time off of work is helpful, or at least reducing the work load. Fasters should also get plenty of rest. Exercise should be kept light, such as walking and gentle stretching.

Side effects

Those fasting may experience side effects of fatigue , malaise, aches and pains, emotional duress, acne , headaches, allergies, swelling, vomiting, bad breath , and symptoms of colds and flu. These reactions are sometimes called healing crises, which are caused by temporarily increased levels of toxins in the body due to elimination and cleansing. Lower energy levels should be expected during a fast.

Research & general acceptance

The physiology of fasting has been widely studied and documented by medical science. Beneficial effects such as lowered cholesterol and improved general functioning have been shown. Fasting as a treatment for illness and disease has been studied less, although some studies around the world have shown beneficial results. A 1984 study showed that workers in Taiwan who had severe chemical poisoning had dramatic improvement after a ten-day fast. In Russia and Japan, studies have demonstrated fasting to be an effective treatment for mental illness. A few years ago, fasting was featured on the cover of the New England Journal of Medicine, although mainstream medicine has generally ignored fasting and detoxification treatments as valid medical procedures.

The majority of research that exists on fasting is testimonial, consisting of individual personal accounts of healing without statistics or controlled scientific experiments. In the alternative medical community, fasting is an essential and widely accepted treatment for many illnesses and chronic conditions.

Training & certification

The International Association of Professional Natural Hygienists (IAPNH) is an organization of healthcare professionals who specialize in therapeutic fasting. It certifies doctors who have completed approved residencies in therapeutic fasting, including conventional medical doctors, naturopaths, and osteopathic doctors.

Resources

BOOKS

Cott, Alan. Fasting: The Ultimate Diet. Chicago: Hastings House, 1997.

Fuhrman, Joel, M.D. Fasting and Eating for Health. New York: St. Martin's, 1995.

Page, Linda, N.D. Healthy Healing. CA: Healthy Healing Publications, 1998.

PERIODICALS

Kallen, Ben."The Slow Fast: Fasting May Not be for You, but a Few 1,000Calorie Days can Launch You into Better Health." Men's Fitness (April 2002): 34.

ORGANIZATIONS

Fasting Center International. 32 West Anapurna St., #360, Santa Barbara, CA 93101. http://www.fasting.com.

Douglas Dupler

Teresa G. Odle

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Fasting

Fasting

Definition

Fasting is voluntarily not eating food for varying lengths of time. Fasting is used as a medical therapy for many conditions. It is also a spiritual practice in many religions.

Purpose

Fasting can be used for nearly every chronic condition, including allergies, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, depression, diabetes, headaches, heart disease, high cholesterol, low blood sugar, digestive disorders, mental illness, and obesity. Fasting is an effective and safe weight loss method. It is frequently prescribed as a detoxification treatment for those with conditions that may be influenced by environmental factors, such as cancer and multiple chemical sensitivity. Fasting has been used successfully to help treat people who have been exposed to high levels of toxic materials due to accident or occupation. Fasting is thought to be beneficial as a preventative measure to increase overall health, vitality, and resistance to disease. Fasting is also used as a method of mental and spiritual rejuvenation.

Description

Origins

Used for thousands of years, fasting is one of the oldest therapies in medicine. Many of the great doctors of ancient times and many of the oldest healing systems have recommended it as an integral method of healing and prevention. Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, believed fasting enabled the body to heal itself. Paracelsus, another great healer in the Western tradition, wrote 500 years ago that "fasting is the greatest remedy, the physician within." Ayurvedic medicine, the world's oldest healing system, has long advocated fasting as a major treatment.

Fasting has also been used in nearly every religion in the world, including Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam. Many of history's great spiritual leaders fasted for mental and spiritual clarity, including Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed. In one of the famous political acts of the last century, the Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi fasted for 21 days to promote peace.

Fasting has been used in Europe as a medical treatment for years. Many spas and treatment centers, particularly those in Germany, Sweden, and Russia, use medically supervised fasting. Fasting has gained popularity in American alternative medicine over the past several decades, and many doctors feel it is beneficial. Fasting is a central therapy in detoxification, a healing method founded on the principle that the build up of toxic substances in the body is responsible for many illnesses and conditions.

The principle of fasting is simple. When the intake of food is temporarily stopped, many systems of the body are given a break from the hard work of digestion. The extra energy gives the body the chance to heal and restore itself, and burning stored calories gets rid of toxic substances stored in the body.

The digestive tract is the part of the body most exposed to environmental threats, including bacteria, viruses, parasites, and toxins. It requires the most immune system support. When food is broken down in the intestines, it travels through the blood to the liver, the largest organ of the body's natural detoxification system. The liver breaks down and removes the toxic by-products produced by digestion, including natural ones and the chemicals now present in the food supply. During fasting, the liver and immune system are essentially freed to detoxify and heal other parts of the body.

Many healers claim that fasting is a particularly useful therapy for Americans and for the modern lifestyle, subjected to heavy diets, overeating, and constant exposure to food additives and chemicals. Some alternative practitioners have gone so far as to estimate that the average American is carrying 5-10 pounds of toxic substances in their bodies, for which fasting is the quickest and most effective means of removal.

Physiology of fasting

Through evolution, the body became very efficient at storing energy and handling situations when no food was available. For many centuries, fasting was probably a normal occurrence for most people, and the body adapted to it. It is estimated that even very thin people can survive for 40 days or more without food. The body has a special mechanism that is initiated when no food is eaten. Fasting is not starvation, but rather the body's burning of stored energy. Starvation occurs when the body no longer has any stored energy and begins using essential tissues such as organs for an energy source. Therapeutic fasts are stopped long before this happens.

Many physiological changes occur in the body during fasting. During the first day or so, the body uses its glycogen reserves, the sugars that are the basic energy supply. After these are depleted, the body begins using fat. However, the brain, which has high fuel requirements, still needs glucose (sugars converted from glycogen). To obtain glucose for the brain, the body begins to break down muscle tissue during the second day of the fast. Thus, during fasting some muscle loss will occur. To fuel the brain, the body would need to burn over a pound of muscle a day, but the body has developed another way to create energy that saves important muscle mass. This protein-sparing process is called ketosis, which occurs during the third day of a fast for men and the second day for women. In this highly efficient state, the liver begins converting stored fat and other nonessential tissues into ketones, which can be used by the brain, muscles, and heart as energy. It is at this point in the fast that sensations of hunger generally go away, and many people experience normal or even increased energy levels. Hormone levels and certain functions become more stable in this state as well. The goal of most fasts is to allow the body to reach the ketosis state in order to burn excess fat and unneeded or damaged tissue. Thus, fasts longer than three days are generally recommended as therapy.

Weight loss occurs most rapidly during the first few days of a fast, up to 2 pounds per day. In following days, the figure drops to around 0.5 pound per day. An average weight loss of a pound a day for an entire fast can be expected.

Performing a fast

Fasts can be performed for varying lengths of time, depending on the person and his or her health requirements. For chronic conditions, therapists recommend from two to four weeks to get the most benefits. Seven-day fasts are also commonly performed. A popular fasting program for prevention and general health is a three-day fast taken four times per year, at the change of each season. These can be easily performed over long weekends. Preventative fasts of one day per week are used by many people as well.

Juice fasts are also used by many people, although these are not technically fasts. Juice fasts are less intensive than water fasts because the body doesn't reach the ketosis stage. The advantage of juice fasts is that fruit and vegetable drinks can supply extra energy and nutrients. People can fit a few days of juice fasting into their normal schedules without significant drops in energy. Juice fasts are also said to have cleansing and detoxifying effects. The disadvantage of juice fasts is that the body never gets to the ketosis stage, so these fasters are thought to lack the deep detoxification and healing effects of the water fast.

Medical supervision is recommended for any fast over three days. Most alternative medicine practitioners, such as homeopaths, naturopathic doctors, and ayurvedic doctors, can supervise and monitor patients during fasts. Those performing extended fasts and those with health conditions may require blood, urine, and other tests during fasting. There are many alternative health clinics that perform medically supervised fasts as well. Some conventional medical doctors may also supervise patients during fasts. Costs and insurance coverage vary, depending on the doctor, clinic, and requirements of the patient.

Preparations

Fasts must be entered and exited with care. To enter a fast, the diet should be gradually lightened over a few days. First, heavy foods such as meats and dairy products should be eliminated for a day or two. Grains, nuts, and beans should then be reduced for several days. The day before a fast, only easily digested foods like fruits, light salads, and soups should be eaten. During the fast, only pure water and occasional herbal teas should be drunk.

Fasts should be ended as gradually as they are entered, going from lighter to heavier foods progressively. The diet after a fast should emphasize fresh, wholesome foods. Fasters should particularly take care not to overeat when they complete a fast.

Precautions

Fasting isn't appropriate for everyone and, in some cases, could be harmful. Any person undertaking a first fast longer than three days should seek medical supervision. Those with health conditions should always have medical support during fasting. Plenty of water should be taken by fasters since dehydration can occur. Saunas and sweating therapies are sometimes recommended to assist detoxification, but should be used sparingly. Those fasting should significantly slow down their lifestyles. Taking time off of work is helpful, or at least reducing the work load. Fasters should also get plenty of rest. Exercise should be kept light, such as walking and gentle stretching.

Side effects

Those fasting may experience side effects of fatigue, malaise, aches and pains, emotional duress, acne, headaches, allergies, swelling, vomiting, bad breath, and symptoms of colds and flu. These reactions are sometimes called healing crises, which are caused by temporarily increased levels of toxins in the body due to elimination and cleansing. Lower energy levels should be expected during a fast.

Research and general acceptance

The physiology of fasting has been widely studied and documented by medical science. Beneficial effects such as lowered cholesterol and improved general functioning have been shown. Fasting as a treatment for illness and disease has been studied less, although some studies around the world have shown beneficial results. A 1984 study showed that workers in Taiwan who had severe chemical poisoning had dramatic improvement after a ten-day fast. In Russia and Japan, studies have demonstrated fasting to be an effective treatment for mental illness. Fasting has been featured on the cover of medical journals, although mainstream medicine has generally ignored fasting and detoxification treatments as valid medical procedures.

The majority of research that exists on fasting is testimonial, consisting of individual personal accounts of healing without statistics or controlled scientific experiments. In the alternative medical community, fasting is an essential and widely accepted treatment for many illnesses and chronic conditions.

Resources

ORGANIZATIONS

Fasting Center International. 32 West Anapurna St., #360, Santa Barbara, CA 93101. http://www.fasting.com.

KEY TERMS

Ayurvedic medicine A traditional healing system developed in India.

Toxin A substance that has poisonous effects on the body.

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fasting

fasting In fasting, individuals or whole communities abstain from food and drink, usually for a specific reason and a specific amount of time. Fasting differs from dieting or avoidance of certain foods, in that it implies complete abstinence from food, with only small modifications such as time limits or subsistence liquids. Documented in a wide array of cultures and throughout history, the motivations for fasting are many. Religious tenets have most commonly instigated fasts, but so have rites of passage, special occasions, political beliefs, and health ideals.

All of the major religions have called for some form of fasting. Though many factors motivate religious fasts, successful fasting demonstrates one's ability to subsume physical needs to spiritual desires, and has been thought to bring the faster closer to the divine. According to Islamic precepts, Moslems undertake Ramadan, a month-long fast (no food until after sundown), as well as other lesser fasts, such as Ashura. Buddhism requires ascetic behaviour, including fasting, by its monks, but not from other followers. Hinduism encourages fasting on the eleventh day after a new moon, after the full moon, and every Monday in November.

Judaism also calls for regular fasting as a part of its doctrine. The major fast, Yom Kippur (Fast of Atonement), the holiest Jewish holiday, falls on the tenth day of the Hebrew month of Tishri. The Old Testament specifies at least six other minor fasts. During all of these except Yom Kippur, which demands abstinence from sunset to sunset, faithful Jews fast from sunrise until the first night stars.

Most sects within Christianity have also advocated periods of fasting. The early Church called for voluntary fasts, but by the fourth century specific fasting practices were enumerated. In the past, the Roman Catholic Church required numerous fasts, including all Sundays during Lent, Easter week, and all Fridays except from Christmas to Epiphany and from Easter to Ascension. Today, the Church recommends only a few fasts. Adults (those over 21) and youths (those over 14) are expected to conduct limited fasts on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, as well as a one hour fast before communion. The Greek Orthodox Church lists over 250 fast days, including the 40 days before Christmas and Easter. The Eastern Orthodox Church proscribes meat during the first week of Lent and then precludes other foods, including fish, cheese, oil, butter, and milk, for the duration.

In all faiths, religious ascetics, especially saints and holy figures, have undertaken extreme fasts as a path to spiritual perfection. Hindu Yogis, Greek priests, and Christian martyrs all fasted. Recently, historians have taken great interest in the fasting practices of medieval women. Rudolph Bell suggests that the fasting rituals of such figures as Catherine of Sienna mirror present-day anorexic behaviour. Others suggest that though the behaviours may appear similar, their meanings, deeply rooted in each era's specific prescriptions about women, food, religion, and the body, make them distinct phenomena. Medieval saints fasted to receive God and to offer service to others, while modern anorexics fast for a complicated set of more individualistic reasons, including a desire for self-control and slenderness.

Many cultures have marked rites of passage and special occasions with fasting. Puberty is often accompanied by fasting, as for example among Sioux boys and some Africans, while Orthodox Jews fast before the marriage ceremony. Initiation in the cults of the ancient Isis and Mithra required fasting, and fasting has commonly accompanied grieving and mourning customs. Certain special occasions, such as celebratory feasts or, on the other hand, crises, provoke fasting — often in order to appease the gods.

Political activists have used fasting or ‘hunger strikes’ to gain attention, dramatize their cause, or force the hand of their opponents. The modern hunger strikers in Ireland protesting against British rule in Northern Ireland were preceded by the tradition of ‘fasting on’ someone to force them to make legal restitution. Mahatma Ghandi made effective use of political fasts, as did the British suffragists, who brought hunger strikes to the American suffrage movement.

Fasting to ‘purify’ health has long historical roots, especially among utopian societies. A number of such nineteenth-century American communities, led by such figures as Sylvester Graham and John Harvey Kellogg, recommended various dietary restrictions, including fasting. The health movement of the 1960s and 1970s, combined with the ‘cult of slenderness’ spawned new fasting fads (juice, liquid formulas, fruit only, etc.), including Alan Cott's Fasting as a Way of Life.

While dieting or abstaining from particular ‘fattening’ foods differs from strict fasting rituals, many who want to lose weight undertake fasts. It is this type of fast that is perhaps most common in modern Western cultures, where, even among the faithful, religious fasts are commonly evaded. Many fast intermittently for aesthetic reasons (to slim the body to fit beauty ideals) without incident, but such rigid weight-loss regimens have also contributed to the increase in eating disorders among young females.

Margaret A. Lowe

Bibliography

Brumberg, J. (1988). Fasting girls: the emergence of anorexia nervosa as a modern disease. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.
Bynam, C. W. (1987). Holy feast and holy fast: the religious significance of food to medieval women. University of California Press, Berkeley.


See also dieting; eating disorders; religion and the body; starvation.

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fasting

fasting, partial or temporary abstinence from food, a widely used form of asceticism. Among the stricter Jews the principal fast is the Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur; in Islam the faithful fast all the daytime hours of the month of Ramadan. Fasting is general in Christianity. The most widely observed fasts are Lent and Advent. Both of these are preliminary to seasons of great rejoicing, and traditionally the vigils of several feasts were also kept as fasts, e.g. (in the West), those of Christmas, Easter, Whitsunday, the Assumption, and All Saints. Ember days were also fasts in the West. Protestants have generally abandoned fasting, but in New England an annual Fast Day was proclaimed (in Massachusetts until the 20th cent.). In the late 1990s there was renewed interest among evangelical Christians in the United States in fasting and prayer as a means of spiritual revival. The Roman Catholic Church differentiates between fasting (eating only one full meal and little else in a day) and abstinence (eating no flesh meat). In 1966, Pope Paul VI issued Poenitemini, an apostolic constitution reorganizing the discipline of the Catholic Church. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are now the only required days of fast. The observance of Fridays as days of abstinence is now urged rather than, as formerly, made a matter of obligation. Roman Catholics are asked to abstain from food and drink for one hour prior to receiving communion. Fasting and hunger strikes have also been used by various political and social activists to bring attention to the causes they support.

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Fasting

Fasting

The term fasting refers to voluntarily or involuntarily going without food. A person may fast voluntarily because of an eating disorder , as a dietary practice related to religious proscriptions , or for health reasons, such as weight loss or internal cleansing. There are, however, no nutritional benefits to fasting.

During a full fast a person abstains from all foods except water or other liquids. A person may also engage in a partial fast, during which particular foods are avoided. Extended fasts lasting longer than a few days can be dangerous because intake is not supporting growth and maintenance. Fasting also promotes the development of ketones , which can be harmful to body organs if they accumulate in the body. Ketones are acidic compounds produced from the incomplete breakdown of fats when there is insufficient carbohydrate intake, and they can disturb the body's acid-base balance.

see also Dieting; Religion and Dietary Practices.

Judith C. Rodriguez

Bibliography

Anderson, J., and Deskins, B. (1995). The Nutrition Bible. New York: William Morrow.

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fasting

fasting Going without food. The metabolic fasting state begins some 4 hours after a meal, when the digestion and absorption of food is complete and body reserves of fat and glycogen begin to be mobilized. In more prolonged fasting the blood concentration of ketone bodies rises, as they are exported from the liver for use by muscle and other tissues as a metabolic fuel.

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"fasting." A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. . Retrieved December 13, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/fasting

fasting

fasting •matting • exacting •Banting, ranting •parting •enchanting, planting •everlasting, fasting, lasting •narrowcasting •letting, setting, wetting •self-respecting, self-selecting, unreflecting, unsuspecting •tempting •unconsenting, unrelenting •excepting •arresting, unprotesting, unresting, westing •bloodletting • trendsetting •pace-setting • typesetting •photosetting •grating, plating, rating, slating, uprating, weighting •painting •pasting, tasting •undeviating • self-perpetuating •unaccommodating • self-deprecating •suffocating • self-regulating •undiscriminating • underpainting •unhesitating •beating, fleeting, greeting, Keating, meeting, self-defeating, sweeting •easting •fitting, sitting, unbefitting, unremitting, witting •printing, unstinting •listing, twisting, unresisting •shopfitting • marketing •telemarketing • pickpocketing •weightlifting • side-splitting •carpeting • trumpeting •uninteresting • visiting •backlighting, lighting, self-righting, sighting, unexciting, uninviting, whiting, writing •infighting • prizefighting •dogfighting • bullfighting •handwriting • screenwriting •scriptwriting • copywriting •skywriting • signwriting •typewriting • songwriting • knotting •prompting •costing, frosting •self-supporting, unsporting •malting, salting •ripsnorting • outing •accounting, mounting •coating •Boulting, revolting •posting, roasting •billposting • disappointing •shooting, suiting, Tooting •sharpshooting • footing •off-putting •cutting, Nutting •bunting •disgusting, self-adjusting, trusting •blockbusting • linocutting •woodcutting • disquieting •disconcerting, shirting, skirting

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"fasting." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 13 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"fasting." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 13, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/fasting

"fasting." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved December 13, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/fasting