In this article I’m going to talk about fasting, if it’s healthy and the pros and cons to it.
Fasting has been around for centuries. For example Moses fasted for 40 days when he received the commandments in the Holy Bible. There is fasting in the Muslim religion with Ramadan and Gandhi has fasted in protest.
Now there is a thing called the 5:2 diet. Eat a normal diet for 5 days and 2 days eat 25% of what you would normally eat.
Is it healthy going without food? First let’s talk about the negatives. The first thing that comes to my mind is OK eating healthy is hard enough as it is and most people can’t even do that. Going without food or 25% of what you normally eat is even more difficult. It’s almost like those crazy new years resolutions that nobody follows through with.
The next negative is that it’s unpleasant. You know you are going to feel a little miserable for the days you don’t eat.
The good news is there are many health benefits to going without food for a few days. Researchers say fasting “flips a regenerative switch” which creates brand new white blood cells, essentially regenerating the entire immune system. This can be done in 3 days.
According to USC News two studies showed a short-term fast starves cancer cells and helps chemo therapies better target the cancer.
Researchers at the Inter-mountain Medical Center Heart Institute found that men, who had fasted for 24 hours, had a 2000% increase in human growth hormone, which regrows cells. They also had significantly reduced their triglycerides, boosted their HDL cholesterol and stabilized their blood sugar.
Next children who suffer from epileptic seizures have fewer of them when placed on caloric restriction or fasts. You might think that when you go without food you can’t think as clearly.
One study in the National Library of Medicine looked at females that were deprived of food for 24 hours and tested how sharp their mind was.
None of the tasks – including sustained attention, attentional focus, simple reaction time or immediate memory were found to be impaired.
However, performance on a low processing load tapping task was significantly poorer when the subjects were deprived of food for 24 hours prior to testing. I’m not sure what that means.
Plus memory is improved when someone is deprived of food. The United States National Library of Medicine tested 50 people before and after they had a 30% reduction in calories. They found a significant increase in verbal memory scores after caloric restriction.
Also restricting the amount of calories you consume can enable someone to live longer. Japan has more people living past 100 than anywhere else and many practice the art of eating until 80% full. Restricting the calories of rats, yeast, flies fish, monkeys and worms have shown them to live longer.