Intermittent fasting, unlike many other diets, is famously flexible in that you choose the days and hours during which you think it’s best to fast. The two most common methods are the 16:8 strategy—where you eat whatever you want (within reason) for eight hours a day and then fast for the other 16—and the 5:2 method, where you eat normally five days a week and then keep your food intake to roughly 500-600 calories for the other two days. It’s kind of a simplified-calories math problem that’s supposed to prevent the yo-yo effect of weight loss and weight gain.
No, it's not a cure-all for creaky joints, wrinkled skin, or brittle hair, but IF prompts an increase in human growth hormone (HGH), which promotes cellular repair, says Foroutan. She explains that not eating for several consecutive hours creates a slight stress on your cells' mitochondria (the energy powerhouses), which gives them a nudge to rev up their functioning. IF might also be helpful for brain health; animal studies suggest that this eating pattern might serve to ward off age-related cognitive decline.

In 2017, Longo was a co-author on the first human trial of whether fasting might reduce the risk factors for diseases like diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. The researchers randomized 100 people into one of two groups for three months: The first group ate anything they wanted, and the second fasted for five consecutive days each month. (By “fasted” here, I mean, they followed the fasting-mimicking diet.) After three months, the first group was crossed over into the fasting group, so the researchers could gather even more data on fasting.
Reduces inflammation: Lowering inflammation is key to losing weight, boosting longevity, and reducing your risk of major illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and cancer. That’s why it’s at the core of the Bulletproof Diet. Intermittent fasting decreases oxidative stress and inflammation across the board, including inflammatory markers such as adiponectin, leptin, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor.[9]
Do you have a hunger for God? If we don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because we have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because we have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Our soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great. If we are full of what the world offers, then perhaps a fast might express, or even increase, our soul’s appetite for God. Between the dangers of self-denial and self-indulgence is the path of pleasant pain called fasting. [John Piper].
The Bible also gives instructions about the attitude and approach we should have in fasting. Jesus warned about hypocritical fasting, trying to show off or make others feel sorry for us.In the New Testament, Anna, the prophetess, is described as serving God day and night with fasting and prayers (Luke 2:37). We read that John the Baptist taught his disciples to fast and Jesus Christ said His disciples would fast after His death (Mark 2:18-20). Paul and Barnabas prayed and fasted when they ordained elders in the Church (Acts 14:23). And Jesus Christ fasted 40 days and nights before facing Satan in an epic battle of spiritual will (Matthew 4:2).
As you pray and fast, you will call on God, and He will answer you. Answered prayer is the quintessence of praying and fasting. If I were to share with you the five or six pages of the prayer journal I prepared prior to my first forty-day fast, and then walk you back through my journal since then, you would see one thing: My prayers were answered. They are still being answered. There is something to the disciplines of prayer and fasting. I could point you to every experience of long-term fasting where God has answered my requests before Him. This does not mean they were answered as I preferred, but it did not matter. He had worked in my heart, and I was released, fully confident that God was ordering my way. When we humble ourselves before the Father, and when God sees we are serious about giving Him our broken spirits, He begins to do things we have never seen before. It’s empowering. It sensitizes us to the needs of others at home and overseas as we suddenly find ourselves quietly praying for people, events, and situations with the knowledge that our prayers not only will be heard but that the Father will answer them.
The drawbacks were clear. The men became obsessed with food to the exclusion of everything else in their life, and when the calorie restriction ended, they all over-reacted. Within a few weeks, they regained all of the lost weight plus about 10 percent more. Other studies have come to similar conclusions. So starvation-type diets may not be ideal for the average person. Your body will tend to shut down various processes in order to survive. For example, by reducing thyroid function, your body will not burn as many calories.
Now, intermittent fasting isn’t magical—your calories still count. It’s just an alternate way to reach that same calorie restriction, says Grant Tinsley, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., an intermittent fasting researcher and assistant professor of exercise physiology at Texas Tech University. “With traditional calorie restriction, you’re following a normal, healthy eating pattern but eating less at each meal. With intermittent fasting, you’re eating roughly the same number of reduced calories, just in a confined time frame. You’re just giving yourself different parameters to live within.”
Dr. Will Cole, leading functional-medicine expert, consults people around the world via webcam at www.drwillcole.com and locally in Pittsburgh. He specializes in clinically investigating underlying factors of chronic disease and customizing health programs for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal dysfunctions, digestive disorders, and brain problems.Dr. Cole was named one of the top 50 functional-medicine and integrative doctors in the nation and is the author of Ketotarian in which he melds the powerful benefits of the ketogenic and plant-based diets.
^ Stravinskas, Peter M. J.; Shaw, Russell B. (1 September 1998). Our Sunday Visitor's Catholic Encyclopedia. Our Sunday Visitor. ISBN 9780879736699. The so-called black fast refers to a day or days of penance on which only one meal is allowed, and that in the evening. The prescription of this type of fast not only forbids the partaking of meats but also of all dairy products, such as eggs, butter, cheese and milk. Wine and other alcoholic beverages are forbidden as well. In short, only bread, water and vegetables form part of the diet for one following such a fast.

16-hour fast (aka 16:8): The most popular type of intermittent fast, the 16-hour fast encourages you to eat all of your meals in an 8-hour window, such as noon to 8pm. To activate the full benefits of intermittent fasting, try an 18-hour fast, once you’ve adapted to 16 hours. This would mean eating between noon and 6pm or between 2pm and 8pm. Simply avoid eating after dinner, and skip breakfast in the morning. Limit carbs to dinner.


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.
Longer fasts likewise can take the form of abstinence from food or some other sacrifice. Some good options for a non-food fast would be abstaining from watching TV from Monday to Friday, reading a biography of a great man or woman of God each week, or dedicating every evening for a week to praying with friends...A longer water-only fast might last from one to three days. If you are fasting from something other than food, your longer fast might last a week. Some use Lent as a time for a longer fast. 
Social Media Fast: This is becoming one of the more common fasts in our culture. Do you need to take some time away from the noise and refresh? Log out of your accounts, delete them from your device for a period of time, and just spend that time being present with God. Pray and listen. Spend some time in nature soaking in His beauty. Spend some time alone worshipping God.
I am not against people fasting in order to lose weight. Many people fast to lose weight or maintain their weight.What I am opposed to is making the losing of weight your primary goal in a season of spiritual fasting and prayer. To have weight loss as a goal makes your fasting a diet plan, not a time of genuine fasting and prayer. If losing weight is your purpose in fasting, you will be missing out on the full reason for fasting, and you likely will be concerned only with what you don't eat rather than with what you are led to pray.
Embrace a healthy body image. Reject the dualistic way of thinking about people’s bodies that’s so popular in our culture. Your body and spirit aren’t two separate entities; they’re united as one whole. When you understand the profound connections between your body and spirit, it will become natural for you to respond to spiritual experiences by doing something physical like fasting.

It can level up your brain, including positively counteracting conditions like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia. As explained here in this TEDx talk by Mark Mattson, Professor at Johns Hopkins University and Chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging fasting is grounded in serious research and more studies are coming out showing the benefits:


I’m 65 and I retired recently. I tried this for one week, and I must admit I particularly watched the clock all day long. I was very intergetic, and my depression subsided most of the time. At one week I weight myself, and thought why am I doing this if I’m not losing weight? So I went off and now I feel like I drag most of the day. I’m getting back on…enough said.
The Bible also gives instructions about the attitude and approach we should have in fasting. Jesus warned about hypocritical fasting, trying to show off or make others feel sorry for us.In the New Testament, Anna, the prophetess, is described as serving God day and night with fasting and prayers (Luke 2:37). We read that John the Baptist taught his disciples to fast and Jesus Christ said His disciples would fast after His death (Mark 2:18-20). Paul and Barnabas prayed and fasted when they ordained elders in the Church (Acts 14:23). And Jesus Christ fasted 40 days and nights before facing Satan in an epic battle of spiritual will (Matthew 4:2).
Those desiring to receive Holy Communion keep a total fast from all food and drink from midnight the night before (see Eucharistic discipline). The sole exception is the Communion offered at the Easter Sunday midnight liturgy, when all are expressly invited and encouraged to receive the Eucharist, regardless of whether they have kept the prescribed fast.
The boss expects this to be done this afternoon, so you'd better work fast. He ran as fast as he could. This is fast becoming a national problem. You need to act fast to take advantage of this offer. I don't know what caused the accident. It all happened so fast. She's a woman who can think fast in a crisis. He's going to have to talk fast to get himself out of this mess. The window was stuck fast. She held fast to her belief in justice. We must stand fast and not surrender!
Some of the best evidence on the impact of fasting on bodyweight and fat comes from a December 2018 systematic review. The researchers looked at randomized controlled trials of intermittent fasting and found that the people who fasted lost about 4 to 8 percent of their original bodyweight, on average. So fasting worked, but, interestingly, it didn’t outperform regular, continuous calorie restriction (“eat less every day” dieting), and it didn’t lead to dramatic weight loss.
A diagnostic fast refers to prolonged fasting from 8–72 hours (depending on age) conducted under observation to facilitate the investigation of a health complication, usually hypoglycemia. Many people may also fast as part of a medical procedure or a check-up, such as preceding a colonoscopy or surgery. Fasting may also be part of a religious ritual.
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