But while these diets have gained popularity, there have been only a few longitudinal studies on whether they actually lead to sustained weight loss. (U.S. News & World Report has a breakdown of past research into fasting diets.) Now there’s a new credible study to add to the mix: This 50-week study of 150 obese and overweight adults published in The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition found that the 5:2 fasting diet was “equivalent but not superior to” conventional dieting in terms of weight loss and the prevention of metabolic diseases.

Fasting should not be considered a "dieting method" either. We shouldn't fast to lose weight, but rather to gain deeper fellowship with God. Yes, anyone can fast. Some may not be able to fast from food (diabetics, for example), but everyone can temporarily give up something in order to focus on God. Even unplugging the television for a period of time can be an effective fast.
For this plan, eat clean for five days of the week (you can pick whatever days you want). On the other two days, restrict your calories to no more than 700 each day. Calorie restriction unlocks a lot of the same benefits as fasting for an entire day. On your non-fasting days, you’ll need to make sure you're getting in healthy fats, clean meats, vegetables, and some fruits, and you can structure your meals however best works for you. On restricted days you can have smaller meals or snacks throughout the day or have a moderate-size lunch and dinner and fast in the morning and after dinner. Again, focus on healthy fats, clean meats, and produce. An app like MyFitnessPal can help you log your food and keep track of your calorie intake so you don’t go over 700.
Still, it's important to note that the results of intermittent fasting are no better than a calorie-restricting diet. A 2017 study in JAMA showed that alternate-day fasting doesn't produce superior benefits for weight loss than daily calorie restriction, and similar conclusions were drawn in a 2018 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. So if you don't think fasting is right for you, restricting calories works just as well.
Seeking God's will in special circumstances requires special time with God. Fasting to God proves acknowledgment of your personal weakness and dependence on Him. The first step to any fast is admitting your need for God. Giving up food is an outward action for an inward commitment. Ezra 8:23 says, "So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer." Fasting for God requires sacrifice and discipline.
Often fasting is done for medical or health reasons, or in an attempt to lose weight. For many other people, fasting is an important part of their religious observance. Fasting is done by Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, and Jews, among other groups. Fasting comes from fast, which in turn has an Old English root, fæsten, "voluntary abstinence from food or drink, especially as a religious duty."
Fasting from food is not necessarily for everyone. Some health conditions keep even the most devout from the traditional course. However, fasting is not limited to abstaining from food. As Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, “Fasting should really be made to include abstinence from anything which is legitimate in and of itself for the sake of some special spiritual purpose.”
If these extended periods without delicious food sound too painful to handle, rest assured: The best available evidence indicates that a regular ol’ diet is at least as safe and healthy and efficacious as intermittent fasting. Besides, sooner or later, a shiny new fad is bound to come along for the A-listers to fawn over, she says: “There’s going to be a new darling of the month before you know it.”
Feelings over hunger may also become more tolerable over time. Studies of alternate-day fasting have shown that people rate their hunger at 8 on a scale of 1 to 10 for their first few fast days, but after two weeks, that number drops to 3. Mattson puts the window at three to four weeks, after which, he says, "you're not hungry on fasting days." (Try clean eating to shed stubborn pounds. This plan gives you 150 delicious recipes you'll love!)

And because you retain this muscle, your metabolism won’t drop the way it might with calorie-restricted weight loss. In fact, fasting actually boosts your metabolism, says Tinsley. “There’s a misconception that your metabolic rate will decrease if you’re not eating. If you’re fasting, your body views it as a mild stress, so research actually that shows your resting metabolism is actually higher after an overnight fast, and 16-24 hours is the window in which you see the largest increase in fat burn,” he explains.
In a sense, everyone fasts. When we are in bed asleep, we go without any food or drink. That is fasting. That is why the first meal of the day is called breakfast. However, when people speak of fasting, they usually mean a longer period of time of deliberately choosing not to eat and drink. It can be for a whole day, part of a day or more than a day.

For this plan, eat clean for five days of the week (you can pick whatever days you want). On the other two days, restrict your calories to no more than 700 each day. Calorie restriction unlocks a lot of the same benefits as fasting for an entire day. On your non-fasting days, you’ll need to make sure you're getting in healthy fats, clean meats, vegetables, and some fruits, and you can structure your meals however best works for you. On restricted days you can have smaller meals or snacks throughout the day or have a moderate-size lunch and dinner and fast in the morning and after dinner. Again, focus on healthy fats, clean meats, and produce. An app like MyFitnessPal can help you log your food and keep track of your calorie intake so you don’t go over 700.

During the Biosphere 2 experience and the Calerie trial, some researchers hoped CR would become a viable regimen. But the enthusiasm has significantly cooled. While side effects were an issue, people’s inability to stick to a significantly reduced calorie load every day was the hammer blow. At this point, fasting was CR’s heir apparent: It seems eating nothing on occasion might be better than eating less all the time.

Whether a regimen calls for two fasting days a week or eating your meals in a smaller "window" of time in the day, all plans share a near-freedom from calorie counting, a big plus for weary food diarists. Once you have planned your fasting-period menu—say, a 500-calorie day of chicken and veggies—you're set. And in your nonfasting periods, you eat normal, healthy meals (even that steak!) without worrying about every bite.
The five most common methods of intermittent fasting try to take advantage of each of these benefits. But different methods will yield better results for different people. “If you’re going to force yourself to follow a certain method, it’s not going to work,” says trainer and fitness expert Nia Shanks. “Choose a method that makes your life easier,” she says. Otherwise, it’s not sustainable and the benefits of your fasting may be short-lived.

All three types offer the same fat-burning benefits of intermittent fasting. The real differences are just in how long you’re fasting and what you’re allowed to eat during the fast, Varady says. On both whole-day fasting and alternate-day fasting, for example, you consume 500 calories per fast day to spark fat loss but maintain muscle. During time-restricted feeding, however, you’re consuming zero calories during your fast period (water and tea, for example, are allowed). In all types, you’re free to go hog-wild during the feeding window—though, obviously, all nutritionists would recommend you ditch the junk and stick to healthy fare.

How It Works: This one’s easy: Eat very little one day, and eat like normal the next. On the low-calorie days, that means one fifth of your normal calorie intake. Using 2,000 or 2,500 calories (for women and men, respectively) as a guide, “fasting” (or “down”) day should be 400 to 500 calories. Followers can use this tool to figure out how many calories to consume on “low-calorie” days.


Muslims believe that fasting is more than abstaining from food and drink. Fasting also includes abstaining from any falsehood in speech and action, abstaining from any ignorant and indecent speech, and from arguing, fighting, and having lustful thoughts. Therefore, fasting strengthens control of impulses and helps develop good behavior. During the sacred month of Ramadan, believers strive to purify body and soul and increase their taqwa (good deeds and God-consciousness). This purification of body and soul harmonizes the inner and outer spheres of an individual. Muslims aim to improve their body by reducing food intake and maintaining a healthier lifestyle. Overindulgence in food is discouraged and eating only enough to silence the pain of hunger is encouraged. Muslims believe they should be active, tending to all their commitments and never falling short of any duty. On a moral level, believers strive to attain the most virtuous characteristics and apply them to their daily situations. They try to show compassion, generosity and mercy to others, exercise patience, and control their anger. In essence, Muslims are trying to improve what they believe to be good moral character and habits.
Fasting is an ancient practice sparking new interest in both pop and scientific culture. Entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and a variety of celebrities have extolled its virtues in helping them lose weight, while medical experts are intrigued by the possibility that it may enhance cognitive functioning and longevity and help treat and prevent some diseases.

In a randomized trial of 107 overweight or obese premenopausal women, researchers found that participants who followed an intermittent food energy restriction plan (25 percent restriction two days a week) lost a comparable amount of weight to the participants who followed a continuous energy restriction plan. After six months, participants following the intermittent calorie restriction plan lost an average of 14 pounds each. Results were published in 2011 in the International Journal of Obesity.
As long as you’re aware that it isn’t nutritional magic, Sasson isn’t against intermittent fasting altogether. “I’ve worked with patients who need positive reinforcement to see that their weight went down to feel better, and they feel in control for the first time,” she says. “That self-efficacy, that feeling that they could do it—for some, that might be important.”
Fasting, by definition, is going without food and/or drink for a period of time. Typically it is done for religious reasons and involves a person refraining from both food and drink (Esther 4:16), although there are variations that may be done for health reasons (a juice fast, for example, where one would refrain from eating and only drink juice for a period of time).
Repent through fasting. Empathize with God’s grief over your sins by fasting. Engage your entire person in repentance by using your body to turn away from self-indulgence and toward God. At church, schedule some times to fast with others for group repentance, just as you all sometimes gather to feast together in celebration (at church parties, potluck dinners, etc.). Express your personal repentance through fasting at times like during Lent and Holy Week, when God seems absent from your life, and when you realize your own complicity in society’s moral wrongs.
2) A new desire for God. When we acknowledge through fasting that we need God to live, and to live more abundantly, we can begin to desire God in a new way. When we realize we need God more than we need food, we can start to understand what the Psalmist meant when he wrote, “Like the deer that pants after water, my soul longs for You.” God, the sustainer of all life, wants nothing more than a closer connection with us, and through fasting we can quench that new desire for more of Him in our lives.
I sometimes hear people say, "I'm giving up chocolate" and they regard this as a type of fasting. I think this is a rather frivolous approach. The first and foremost purpose of a biblical or spiritual fast is to get a breakthrough on a particular matter that one lifts up to the Lord in prayer. A spiritual fast involves our hearts and the way in which we relate to and trust God. It relates to discerning and receiving strength to follow through on what God might reveal to us about circumstances in our lives or a direction we are to take.
"How long you fast is entirely up to you and the leadership of the Holy Spirit. The Bible gives examples of fasts that lasted one day or part of a day (Judges 20:26; 1 Samuel 7:6; 2 Samuel 1:12; 3:35; Nehemiah 9:1; Jeremiah 36:6), a one-night fast (Daniel 6:18–24), three-day fasts (Esther 4:16; Acts 9:9), seven-day fasts (1 Samuel 31:13; 2 Samuel 12:16–23), a fourteen-day fast (Acts 27:33–34), a twenty-one day fast (Daniel 10:3–13), forty-day fasts (Deuteronomy 9:9; 1 Kings 19:8; Matthew 4:2), and fasts of unspecified lengths (Matthew 9:14; Luke 2:37; Acts 13:2; 14:23)." -What Christians Need to Know about Fasting by Sam Storms
^ Jump up to: a b Hatch, Jane M. (1978). The American Book of Days. Wilson. p. 163. ISBN 9780824205935. Special religious services are held on Ash Wednesday by the Church of England, and in the United States by Episcopal, Lutheran, and some other Protestant churches. The Episcopal Church prescribes no rules concerning fasting on Ash Wednesday, which is carried out according to members' personal wishes; however, it recommends a measure of fasting and abstinence as a suitable means of marking the day with proper devotion. Among Lutherans as well, there are no set rules for fasting, although some local congregations may advocate this form of penitence in varying degrees.
While not yet proven in humans, early studies in rats seem to link intermittent fasting with increased longevity. One study found that intermittent fasting decreased body weight and increased the life span in rats (6). Another found that a group of mice who fasted intermittently actually lived longer than the control group, although they were heavier than the non-fasting mice. (7) Of course, it’s not clear that the same results would happen in humans, but the signs are encouraging.
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.
2) A new desire for God. When we acknowledge through fasting that we need God to live, and to live more abundantly, we can begin to desire God in a new way. When we realize we need God more than we need food, we can start to understand what the Psalmist meant when he wrote, “Like the deer that pants after water, my soul longs for You.” God, the sustainer of all life, wants nothing more than a closer connection with us, and through fasting we can quench that new desire for more of Him in our lives.
After that timespan, your body goes into what is known as the post–absorptive state, which is just a fancy way of saying that your body isn’t processing a meal. The post–absorptive state lasts until 8 to 12 hours after your last meal, which is when you enter the fasted state. It is much easier for you body to burn fat in the fasted state because your insulin levels are low.
Another plus is that this is easily the most sustainable eating plan I’ve ever come across. You don’t need to fast forever to maintain the benefits — you can fast for a time and stop when you reach your goal weight. But if your weight creeps up, you can add in one fasting day per week to head it off, rather than going into full-blown “emergency calorie-restriction” mode.
It doesn't matter when you start your 8–hour eating period. You can start at 8am and stop at 4pm. Or you start at 2pm and stop at 10pm. Do whatever works for you. I tend to find that eating around 1pm and 8pm works well because those times allow me to eat lunch and dinner with friends and family. Breakfast is typically a meal that I eat on my own, so skipping it isn't a big deal.
^ Smith, Larry D. (September 2008). "Progressive Sanctification" (PDF). God's Revivalist and Bible Advocate. 120 (6). Principles which underlie our Wesleyan/holiness heritage include such commitments as unquestioned scriptural authority; classical orthodox theology; identity with the one holy and apostolic church; warmhearted evangelical experience; love perfected in sanctifying grace; careful, disciplined living; structured spiritual formation, fidelity to the means of grace; and responsible witness both in public and in private—all of which converge in holiness of heart and life, which for us Methodists will always be the “central idea of Christianity.” These are bedrock essentials, and without them we shall have no heritage at all. Though we may neglect them, these principles never change. But our prudentials often do. Granted, some of these are so basic to our DNA that to give them up would be to alter the character of our movement. John Wesley, for example, believed that the prudentials of early Methodism were so necessary to guard its principles that to lose the first would be also to lose the second. His immediate followers should have listened to his caution, as should we. For throughout our history, foolish men have often imperiled our treasure by their brutal assault against the walls which our founders raised to contain them. Having said this, we must add that we have had many other prudentials less significant to our common life which have come and gone throughout our history. For instance, weekly class meetings, quarterly love feasts, and Friday fast days were once practiced universally among us, as was the appointment of circuit-riding ministers assisted by “exhorters” and “local preachers.”
Cost isn't really a factor for the Fast Diet, given that you're eating normally most days. There's a good chance you'll wind up buying fewer foods on fast days, and thus spend less on your grocery bills. But keep in mind that if you follow the diet authors' advice and get your calories from high-quality foods, they can be a bit pricier than cheap, high-calorie fast-food cheeseburgers.

By the 21st century, although fasting clearly was applicable in some instances of disease, such as in certain acute diseases (particularly when accompanied by a loss of appetite), whether fasting in other instances was beneficial to human health remained unclear. For example, whereas research in humans had suggested that intermittent fasting carried out over 15 days improved insulin-mediated glucose uptake into tissues, studies in rodents had indicated that such fasting, carried out over the long-term, promoted glucose intolerance and the release of damaging oxidants from tissues.
In Methodism, fasting is considered one of the Works of Piety.[52] The Discipline of the Wesleyan Methodist Church required Methodists to fast on "the first Friday after New-Year's-day; after Lady-day; after Midsummer-day; and after Michaelmas-day."[53] Historically, Methodist clergy are required to fast on Wednesdays, in remembrance of the betrayal of Christ, and on Fridays, in remembrance of His crucifixion and death.[54][55] "The General Rules of the Methodist Church," written by the founder of Methodism, John Wesley, wrote that "It is expected of all who desire to continue in these societies that they should continue to evidence their desire of salvation, by attending upon all the ordinances of God, such are: the public worship of God; the ministry of the Word, either read or expounded; the Supper of the Lord; family and private prayer; searching the Scriptures; and fasting or abstinence."[55] The Directions Given to Band Societies (25 December 1744) mandated fasting and abstinence from meat on all Fridays of the year,[53][56] a practice that was reemphasized by Phoebe Palmer and became standard in the Methodist churches of the holiness movement.[57][58] Wesley himself also fasted before receiving Holy Communion "for the purpose of focusing his attention on God," and asked other Methodist Christians to do the same.[55] In accordance with Scripture and the teachings of the Church Fathers, fasting in Methodism is done "from morning until evening"; John Wesley kept a more rigorous Friday Fast, fasting from sundown (on Thursday) until sundown (on Friday) in accordance with the liturgical definition of a day.[55][59] The historic Methodist homilies regarding the Sermon on the Mount also stressed the importance of the Lenten fast.[60] The United Methodist Church therefore states that:
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