^ McKnight, Scot (2010). Fasting: The Ancient Practices. Thomas Nelson. p. 88. ISBN 9781418576134. John Wesley, in his Journal, wrote on Friday, August 17, 1739, that "many of our society met, as we had appointed, at one in the afternoon and agreed that all members of our society should obey the Church to which we belong by observing 'all Fridays in the year' as 'days of fasting and abstinence.'

Distinguish between fasting and abstinence. Fasting means not eating food (and sometimes not drinking) for a period of time (usually not more than 12 hours) in order to respond to a moment so sacred that indulging in food or drink would profane it. While some people say that they’re fasting when giving up something besides all food – like watching TV, having sex, or eating a specific kind of food, such as chocolate – for a while, that’s really abstinence, not fasting. Fasting is a more complete expression of devotion to God that can free you to focus your attention better on God.
It appears that restricting calories activates genes that direct cells to preserve resources. Rather than grow and divide, cells in famine mode are, in effect, stalled. In this state, they are mostly resistant to disease and stress and enter into autophagy, a process of cleaning out dead or toxic cell matter and repairing and recycling damaged components.
There is no long-term fasting research yet, but the benefits are promising and the risks low: You can always just quit. A limited-time fast might bump you off a plateau or out of a rut, says Keri Glassman, R.D., who advised our fasters during their diets, though she says that for some, fasting, even short-term, may be too rigid. That hints at the larger takeaway: Perhaps more than for traditional diets, these plans won't work for everyone.
The health benefits of fasting are extremely appealing, but I do want to stress that fasting isn’t always for everyone. People who suffer from hypoglycemia and diabetics should probably avoid fasting, up until blood glucose and insulin levels have been normalized. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should absolutely not fast, as it can have negative effects on the baby.

I've been doing this fast with Jentezen Franklin for many years. I have seen miracles done, he healed me from addiction to alcohol! I know these fasts are hard, the spirit is willing, but the body is weak! I've fallen on past fasts, but asked God to forgive me, and went on. It's a physical struggle, but oh so worth it in the end! Please don't give up. 21 days is nothing compared to what's waiting for you at the end, and during the year! I've done the water only fasts, as well as the Daniel fast, which I'm doing now, that in itself is a struggle for me, as I don't care for fruits and vegetables much. God is his mercy and Grace see's each of our hearts, and knows we yearn for his closeness, but also he knows we are weak. Please keep praying and seeking, you won't be disappointed.
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Study after study confirms that any form of intermittent fasting will help reduce weight and improve body composition, though the results are probably about the same as you’d see from restricting your calories. One study Varady ran, published in 2017 in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that after dieting for one year, people lost about 5–6% of their bodyweight whether they restricted their calories or tried alternate-day fasting.

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If you really want to lose fat, intermittent fasting is the perfect tool. Research shows that intermittent fasting — cycling in and out periods of fasting and eating — has huge benefits for your body and brain. It can ward off chronic disease, improve memory and brain function, and boost your energy levels. What’s more, intermittent fasting is a powerful hack for losing weight quickly, and keeping it off.
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.
Another type of intermittent fasting, alternate day fasting has you severely restricting the amount of calories you eat during fasting days, then eating to your stomach’s content on non-fasting days. Food isn’t completely off the table, but you’ll stick to about 25 percent of your normal caloric intake. Someone eating 2,000 calories would cut back to 500, for example. Alternate-day fasting isn’t necessarily a long-term plan, because it can become difficult to stick to, but it can be helpful to get a healthy habit in motion.
And that's not all, says Courtney Peterson, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Studies suggest you keep more muscle and lose more fat than on other diets, even if you lose the same number of pounds." That's because after about 12 hours of fasting, you run out of stored energy from carbs and start burning stored fat.
Although the Bible does not give a direct command on this issue, examples of fasting appear in both the Old and the New Testaments. One of the most telling passages in which fasting is mentioned is Matthew 6:16, where Jesus is teaching His disciples basic principles of godly living. When speaking on fasting, He begins with, “When you fast,” not “If you fast.”
When you have a major decision to make. God delights to guide and lead us through life’s tough decisions, whether at the individual or corporate level, or at the private or business level. But worldly distractions can make it difficult to hear from God. When we fast, we surrender at His feet, listen, wait and worship. Fasting helps us to stay unhurried before him and engaged in His presence.
This is probably a good time to mention that while I have practiced intermittent fasting consistently for the last year, I'm not fanatical about my diet. I work on building healthy habits that guide my behavior 90% of the time, so that I can do whatever I feel like during the other 10%. If I come over to your house to watch the football game and we order pizza at 11pm, guess what? I don't care that it's outside my feeding period, I'm eating it.

The findings were clear: Fasting just five days per month improved people’s health outcomes. The group that fasted lost weight (about 7 pounds on average), lost some body fat, lowered their blood pressure, and decreased their IGF-1, a genetic marker for diseases such as cancer. (Their total cholesterol, blood glucose, and triglycerides didn’t budge.)
The general idea behind the 5:2 diet is calorie restriction on the two (non-consecutive) given days. That is, for two of the 7 days in each week, you eat very low calorie (but high in nutrition) foods, while the other 5 days you can eat what you would usually eat. This diet isn’t a full fast (as in water only), but is a carefully planned eating plan for a couple of days each week.
It is also considered to be an appropriate physical preparation for partaking of the Eucharist, but fasting is not necessary for receiving the sacrament. Martin Luther wrote in his Small Catechism "Fasting and bodily preparation are certainly fine outward training, but a person who has faith in these words, 'given for you' and 'shed for you for the forgiveness of sin' is really worthy and well prepared."[70]
This handy reference guide, Seven Basic Steps to Successful Fasting and Prayer, will help make your time with the Lord more spiritually rewarding. I encourage you to keep it with you during your fast and refer to it often because it gives easy-to-follow suggestions on how to begin your fast, what to do while you fast, and how to end your fast properly.
In this example, lunch on Monday is your last meal of the day. You then fast until lunch on Tuesday. This schedule has the advantage of allowing you to eat everyday of the week while still reaping the benefits of fasting for 24 hours. It's also less likely that you'll lose weight because you are only cutting out two meals per week. So, if you're looking to bulk up or keep weight on, then this is a great option.
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People can live days with no food and water, and weeks or several months consuming only water. In lab animals, when calorie intake is cut by more than 50 percent, they eventually die of complications from starvation. In the final stages of starvation, the body, depleted of glucose and fatty acids, turns to muscle protein for energy. Humans die when their body mass index (BMI) is around 12.
The physiology of fasting has been widely studied and documented by medical science. Beneficial effects such as lowered cholesterol and improved general functioning have been shown. Fasting as a treatment for illness and disease has been studied less, although some studies around the world have shown beneficial results. A 1984 study showed that workers in Taiwan who had severe chemical poisoning had dramatic improvement after a ten-day fast. In Russia and Japan, studies have demonstrated fasting to be an effective treatment for mental illness. Fasting has been featured on the cover of medical journals, although mainstream medicine has generally ignored fasting and detoxification treatments as valid medical procedures.

Fasting calls us to turn away from food. Fasting calls us to redivert our attention back to the things of God and His commandments. Fasting calls us to face and overcome the devil's call: "Has God really said you can't have this?" Fasting calls us to abstain from all things harmful for us, and in most cases, from all food for a period of time. The devil's insistent question is likely to become very loud in our minds as we begin a fast: "Has God really said you can't eat? Not anything? Not the things you love the most? Has God really called you to fast- to abstain totally from this thing that you have labeled as 'good'?"


Through the years, I have learned that many people in the church have never been taught about fasting and prayer, and many have therefore never fasted and prayed. As a result, they don't know why fasting and praying are important, what the Bible teaches about fasting, or how to fast. To many, fasting sounds like drudgery -- or a form of religious works. To others, fasting sounds extremely difficult. People tend to stand in awe at reports of those who have fasted for several weeks. When I hear about such fasts, I no doubt think what they think: If I fasted that long, I'd die! I couldn't possibly do that!
Another type of intermittent fasting, alternate day fasting has you severely restricting the amount of calories you eat during fasting days, then eating to your stomach’s content on non-fasting days. Food isn’t completely off the table, but you’ll stick to about 25 percent of your normal caloric intake. Someone eating 2,000 calories would cut back to 500, for example. Alternate-day fasting isn’t necessarily a long-term plan, because it can become difficult to stick to, but it can be helpful to get a healthy habit in motion.
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.
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:
Along with obligatory prayer, it is one of the greatest obligations of a Bahá'í.[22] In the first half of the 20th century, Shoghi Effendi, explains: "It is essentially a period of meditation and prayer, of spiritual recuperation, during which the believer must strive to make the necessary readjustments in his inner life, and to refresh and reinvigorate the spiritual forces latent in his soul. Its significance and purpose are, therefore, fundamentally spiritual in character. Fasting is symbolic, and a reminder of abstinence from selfish and carnal desires."[23]
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