Fasting, the practice of voluntarily going without food for a period of time, dates back centuries, and has often been performed as a religious or cultural ritual. However, people want to know: is fasting good for your health?
For many years I have practiced single-day fasts, as well as fasts lasting up to 14 days, as a way to benefit my health and the health of my patients.
After my heart disease diagnosis, I fasted every Monday. This helped me lose weight. My cholesterol dropped, and so did my weight.
Often, I fast for religious reasons, but, as a physician, I cannot help but notice the more practical benefits that accrue with fasting.
In terms of weight loss, fasting is obviously beneficial simply because going without food for a long period of time, even a day, reduces the amount of calories you take in over the longer term. So you’re already giving your diet a head start.
But there’s more to it than just saving calories. Being in a state of semi-starvation puts your body on alert; it starts using stored fat for energy. For example, the body begins drawing on fats stored in the blood. As a result, cholesterol and triglycerides begin to disappear. Fasting also cleanses the body and gives your organs a break from constantly metabolizing food. As a result, immune response appears to improve, blood pressure goes down, and people report feeling more clear-headed when they are on a fast.
If you’re doing a multiple day fast, you’ll get hungry for the first few days. I find the third day is the hardest. After that, your body becomes accustomed to it. During a fast, I drink water or juice. Also, for fasts lasting longer than a few days, you’ll want to consult your doctor, of course, and this is also true if you have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes.
Dear Dr Chauncey,
I used to be a smoker when young. More than 10yrs ago during an X-ray Dr found bullae in my left lung which hs grown quite big now. Is there any alternative cure besides surgery?
Thank you for your advice.
surgical intervention is the only real treatment for correction, however many people have this condition without treatment and do well, always get another opinion from a new physician to see if the treatment you are getting is correct