Why Does Fasting Work
People who take prayer seriously will know how powerful fasting is. But what is it about missing meals that makes prayer so potent? Is it a form of hunger strike? Blackmailing God like a spoiled child holding his breath till hes blue until he gets what he wants? Obviously not. So what is it about fasting that touches the heart of God?Yeshua gave us some important guidelines about not boasting about fasting, but there seemed no doubt in his mind that those he was talking to did indeed fast from time to time. The people of Israel were no strangers to fasting there are several mentions of it in the Hebrew Scriptures.
The Secret Benefit Of Fasting
Executive Editor, desiringGod.org
Were prone to think of fasting in negative terms. Its understandable. Fasting is abstaining. Its going without food and drink, or some other otherwise good gift from God. Perhaps the reason so many of us fast so infrequently is because we think of fasting mainly as what were going without rather than what were getting.
But Christian fasting is not only going without. It is not simply abstaining. The goal of Christian fasting, in fact, is not going without but getting. Our abstaining always serves some greater end and purpose some eventual gain, not loss. Christian fasting is abstaining for the sake of some specific Christian purpose, or it is not truly Christian.
Jesus did not waffle as to whether his church would fast. When you fast, he said not if . They will fast, he promised . And so the early church fasted , and for two millennia Christians have fasted. And when we have done so in truly a Christian way, the end result has not been loss but gain. But in order for Christian fasting to become a spiritual feast, we have to rehearse its purpose and benefits.
The 14 Health Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is typically associated with weight loss. But, it offers more than just that. Fasting can improve your overall health as much as it can aid weight loss.
The modern diet industry is now crowded with new methods for losing weight and body fat. Yet, there are only a select few that people stick to. This is usually because of the various other health benefits they offer. Also, there are only several diets that actually work and can be sustainable.
Diets are now often used as a lifestyle rather than just a weight loss tool. Intermittent fasting being a method many intervene with their current eating habit and lifestyle. The fasting methods involved with intermittent fasting can offer 14 incredible health benefits:
You May Like: What Is The Best Way To Do Intermittent Fasting
What Is Spiritual Fasting
But days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them. They will fast in those days. Luke 5:35
In our modern world fasting has become a huge health craze. Their has been multiple studies on how fasting can be benefical for our health especially intermittent fasting. But when a the Spirit of God leads a believer to fast it has more than just health benefits, it has spiritual benefits that can transform us.
A spiritual fast is when we obstain from food or a select type of foods in order to draw closer to the Lord. The word, fast in the Hebrew actually means to shut the mouth or cover the mouth.
tsûwm, tsoom a primitive root to cover over , i.e. to fast:× at all, fast.
Usually the times when one would be eating would be replaced with time praying and seeking the Lord.
This why you always see the term, prayer and fasting. They go together
I love this quote by Dallas Willard.
Fasting confirms our utter dependence upon God by finding in Him a source of sustenance beyond food.
I do want to point out that some consider removing other things from their life as a type a fast. An example would be fasting social media, or watching TV. These types of fasting are not in scripture. And some debate if this truly a form of true Biblical fasting since the Hebrew is clear its about covering the mouth, pertaining to food.
Side Effects Of Fasting
Although fasting has been believed to be a natural and effective method of helping the body get rid of harmful toxins, it is also vital to be well aware of its possible side effects and hitches.
During fasting, the body continues losing salt and water through sweat, urine, and breathing. If the body isnt hydrated before the fast, it may become dehydrated easily. If such symptoms occur, it is vital to drink water mixed with salt and sugar to compensate for the loss.
Headaches while fasting could be caused due to hunger, restlessness, or the sudden absence of caffeine or nicotine in the body. Drinking plenty of fluids, eating in moderation, and avoiding direct sunlight may help prevent headaches.
Diabetics should be very cautious and should always discuss fasting with a medical professional before starting. They are strongly recommended to monitor their blood glucose since a drop in blood sugar can prove to be fatal and may lead to fainting. In the case of dizziness or sweating, it is advisable to consume fluids containing sugar as soon as possible.
Heartburn can be caused as a result of the production of stomach acids, which otherwise aid digestion. Avoiding greasy, spicy foods and eating in moderation can help control belching, vomiting, and heartburn. Reduction in caffeine consumption and smoking, as well as sleeping with your head raised can also prove beneficial.
Read Also: Is Intermittent Fasting Good For Endomorphs
Fasting Is Good For Your Heart
At a time when more people are dying from heart diseases than from any other disease, it is great to know that you can reduce the risk of developing heart diseases through fasting. Fasting has a number of benefits for your heart.
First, we already saw that fasting can help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
This is important because people suffering from diabetes have an increased risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
During fasting, the body also burns up some of the LSD cholesterol in the body to provide fuel.
This is good on two fronts because LSD cholesterol is a major contributor to decreased insulin sensitivity and diabetes, and because it also contributes to increase in blood pressure, both of which are risk factors for developing heart disease.
Fasting also helps reduce several other risk factors associated with an increased risk of developing heart diseases, including blood sugar levels, inflammatory markers and blood triglycerides.
One study conducted by researchers from the University of Illinois found that alternate day fasting for a period of about 8 weeks reduced levels of triglycerides in the body by 32% and reduced the level of LDL cholesterol by 25%.
Another study also found that fasting leads to reduced blood pressure and reduced levels of triglycerides and cholesterol in the body.
Yet another study found that fasting leads to reduced risk of developing coronary artery disease.
May Help Prevent Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimers disease is the worlds most common neurodegenerative disease.
Theres no cure currently available for Alzheimers, so preventing it from showing up in the first place is critical.
In a series of case reports, a lifestyle intervention that included daily short-term fasts was able to significantly improve Alzheimers symptoms in 9 out of 10 people .
However, more research in humans is needed.
Studies in animals suggest that intermittent fasting may be protective against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers disease.
Also Check: How To Do Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss
Enhances Recovery From Injury
You would think that fasting after injury, especially one to the glucose-hungry brain, would make recovery even more difficult. But the opposite seems to be true. In animal studies, intermittent fasting after injury improved brain function from stroke and diseases that affect the brain. At this time, the mechanism is not yet understood, so further investigation is required before your health care practitioner can start recommending intermittent fasting for recovery.
About Susan Puckett Paboulder Medical Center Internal Medicine And Ent Departments
Susan Puckett is a physician assistant in both the Internal Medicine and Otolaryngology departments. A PA since 1993, Susan joined Boulder Medical Center in 1997. She is originally from Texas and has lived in Washington, Florida and New Mexico. In her spare time, Susan enjoys scuba diving and snow skiing. Susan is married with a son and daughter.
Read Also: What Should You Eat Intermittent Fasting
Has Benefits For Your Brain
Whats good for the body is often good for the brain as well.
Intermittent fasting improves various metabolic features known to be important for brain health.
Intermittent fasting helps reduce:
Intermittent fasting may have important benefits for brain health. It may increase growth of new neurons and protect the brain from damage.
So Is Intermittent Fasting As Good As It Sounds
I was very curious about this, so I asked the opinion of metabolic expert Dr. Deborah Wexler, Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Diabetes Center and associate professor at Harvard Medical School. Here is what she told me. “There is evidence to suggest that the circadian rhythm fasting approach, where meals are restricted to an eight to 10-hour period of the daytime, is effective,” she confirmed, though generally she recommends that people “use an eating approach that works for them and is sustainable to them.”
So, heres the deal. There is some good scientific evidence suggesting that circadian rhythm fasting, when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle, can be a particularly effective approach to weight loss, especially for people at risk for diabetes.
Read Also: What Is The Fasting Diet Plan
How Do I Try Intermittent Fasting
There are four popular fasting approaches: periodic fasting, time-restricted feeding, alternate-day fasting and the 5:2 diet. Time-restricted feeding, sometimes called daily intermittent fasting, is perhaps the easiest and most popular fasting method. Daily intermittent fasters restrict eating to certain time periods each day, say 11 in the morning to 7 at night. The fasting period is usually around 12 or more hours that, helpfully, includes time spent sleeping overnight. Periodic fasting will feel most familiar: no food or drinks with calories for 24-hour periods. Another type of fast, alternate-day fasting requires severe calorie reduction every other day. Lastly, the 5:2 method was popularized by author Kate Harrisons book The 5:2 Diet” and requires fasting on two nonconsecutive days a week.
Fasting Helps You Lose Weight
For those looking to lose some weight, fasting is one of the quickest and safest ways to get you there.
Normally, when you eat, your body burns the food you ate to provide fuel for your body.
Any extra food that does not get used up as fuel is converted into fats and stored within the body for future use.
This is what leads to weight gain.
When you start fasting, there is less food to convert into energy, therefore your body is forced to start converting the stored fats into energy.
This occurs through a process known as lipolysis.
One of the greatest advantages of fasting as a means of losing weight is that it is more effective in burning through fat cells compared to regular dieting.
Fasting also burns through fat cells without affecting your muscle tissue, which is why many athletes use fasting as a means of achieving low body fat percentages prior to competitions.
In addition, fasting is incorporated as a lifestyle change, which makes it more sustainable and more effective compared to many crash diet weight loss solutions.
Actually, several studies have found fasting to be one of the most effective and most reliable long term solutions for weight loss and weight maintenance.
Also Check: How Much Weight Can I Lose Fasting
Fasting Asks Less Of You
You dont need to go buy special foods or prepare special meals. Theres no special workout or supplements. In fact, you dont have to spend any time grocery shopping, doing food prep, or make time for specific workouts. Fasting not only saves you money, it also saves you time.
How much time do you spend every day shopping, prepping, cooking, eating and cleaning? Whatever the number, multiple it three to six times if you follow traditional dietary advice. I guarantee you its startling if you do the math. No wonder you dont have time to go to the gym or practice any self-care to reduce your stress.
Tips For Starting Your First 24
As you begin to plan your first 24-hour fast, there are some important considerations to be aware of. In order for you to see 24-hour fasting benefits, you need to be sure that you are eating the correct foods prior to your fast. First, be sure that the last meal prior to your fast is full of healthy fats. This can include foods such as fish, nuts, avocados, and olive oil.
Foods containing healthy fats will help you feel full for a longer period of time, and will reduce tempting cravings. Second, plan to drink plenty of water during your fast to suppress feelings of hunger. Often times, feeling hungry is actually a sign of thirst. Also, be sure that you are only drinking water during your intermittent fast. Finally, avoid all sources of caffeine during the fasting period. Watch out for supplements that contain caffeine, and do not drink tea or coffee during this time.
Don’t Miss: What’s The Benefit Of Intermittent Fasting
Fasting Helps Weight Loss
Fasting can be a safe way to lose weight as many studies have shown that intermittent fasting fasting that is controlled within a set number of hours allows the body to burn through fat cells more effectively than just regular dieting.
Intermittent fasting allows the body to use fat as its primary source of energy instead of sugar. Many athletes now use fasting as means to hitting low body fat percentages for competitions.
Induces Various Cellular Repair Processes
When we fast, the cells in the body initiate a cellular waste removal process called autophagy .
This involves the cells breaking down and metabolizing broken and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells over time.
Increased autophagy may provide protection against several diseases, including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers disease .
Fasting triggers a metabolic pathway called autophagy, which removes waste material from cells.
Don’t Miss: What To Have During Intermittent Fasting
Fasting And The Keto Diet
You can also combine fasting with a ketogenic diet.
Several of the benefits of intermittent fasting come from your body being in ketosis a state in which you burn fat as your main energy source.
By eating a ketogenic diet, you can get your body into ketosis before you start fasting. A keto diet suppresses hunger and improves your health on its own. Pairing it with fasting provides even more health benefits.
You can start a keto diet today with a quick trip to the grocery store.
May Reduce Inflammatory Pain
When your body is in a fasted state, it means that your glucose reserves are next to empty, which may help reduce painful inflammation, says Andrew Wang, MD, a professor of immunobiology at Yale School of Medicine.
To understand how, it’s important to address what intermittent fasting does to your body. When you fast for long, extended periods of time, your body ends up using all of its glucose the main source of fuel that keeps you going and enters a process called ketosis, where it burns ketones for fuel and energy, instead.
The idea is that your body produces less inflammation when burning ketones compared to glucose, which may explain why some studies have found diets that promote ketosis also alleviate inflammatory pain.
Though, more research is needed to determine if intermittent fasting should be implemented as an effective tool for patients with inflammatory conditions.
Read Also: What Can I Eat For Fasting
Fasting Keeps Blood Sugar Nice And Steady
As you fast, your body gradually relies more on fat than on carbs for energy, and your insulin production decreases.
Intermittent fasting can also do a bang-up job of reducing insulin resistance. That, in turn, can help make your body more sensitive to insulin, which translates into more stable blood sugar and fewer spikes and crashes.
Improves Cardiovascular Health Taking Advantage Of Fasting And Diabetes
According to an article published by the Mayo Clinic in 2019, fasted people have better cardiovascular health than those who do not. This is due to several factors, not the least of which is the improved ability to reduce bad cholesterol in the body. Additionally, people who engage in intermittent fasting make better choices regarding their food and how many calories they consume daily.
Even though improving your cardiovascular health is quite different from preventing diabetes, the above study shows the benefits of intermittent fasting for diabetes. This also means that fasting and diabetics eating methods can improve your health in many different wayswhether you are fasting for diabetics or by trying to prevent other illnesses.
Read Also: How Long Should You Do Intermediate Fasting
Intermittent Fasting: Surprising Update
- By Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributor
Theres a ton of incredibly promising intermittent fasting research done on fat rats. They lose weight, their blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugars improve but theyre rats. Studies in humans, almost across the board, have shown that IF is safe and incredibly effective, but really no more effective than any other diet. In addition, many people find it difficult to fast.
But a growing body of research suggests that the timing of the fast is key, and can make IF a more realistic, sustainable, and effective approach for weight loss, as well as for diabetes prevention.