As it turns out, the science behind these diets is still pretty nascent and exploratory — more than the acolytes might have you believe. While there’s lots of animal research, human studies on fasting are only just beginning to ramp up. And while we have learned that fasting helps people lose weight, it’s only if you can stick with it. But that doesn’t make fasting any less fascinating. Here’s what we know and don’t know.
Prayer and fasting also occurs in the New Testament. Anna "worshipped night and day, fasting and praying" at the Temple (Luke 2:37). John the Baptist taught his disciples to fast (Mark 2:18). Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights before His temptation by Satan (Matthew 4:2). The church of Antioch fasted (Acts 13:2) and sent Paul and Barnabas off on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:3). Paul and Barnabas spent time in prayer and fasting for the appointment of elders in the churches (Acts 14:23).
7. Are you craving foods? Paying attention to your relationship with food during fasting is helpful to assess what’s working and what isn’t to build longer-term habits. For example, having a sweet tooth may be a major issue for you typically, but avoiding sugar and restricting calories may change things. Or maybe you notice you are craving greens or meat or another food. This may be from eliminating so many foods that the body is missing certain nutrients.
A 2018 review of intermittent fasting in obese people showed that reducing calorie intake one to six days per week over at least 12 weeks was effective for reducing body weight on an average of 7 kilograms (15 lb); the results were not different from a simple calorie restricted diet, and the clinical trials reviewed were run mostly on middle-aged women from the US and the UK, limiting interpretation of the results.[21] Intermittent fasting has not been studied in children, the elderly, or underweight people, and could be harmful in these populations.[21][22]
Hi Karen Congratulations on your success. Yes you may find that you have hit a plateau of some sort. Most people experience this earlier on not after 16 weeks. Just because you have hit a plateau of sorts does not mean that you give up. Many people write in and tell me they thought they had plateaued and then 3 weeks later they get back on the scale and have lost weight again or rather they measure themselves and have lost more inches even through it is not reflected back as a lower number on the scale. You have achieved great results and I would hope this has now become part of your everyday routine so just like any form of diet, weight loss program or exercise your body will hit levels. If your goal is to continue to keep losing weight and inches then keep it up but try incorporating some other changes, such as being more mindful of what you are doing on your non fasting days, incorporating more exercise and looking at your overall nutrition. In addition ask yourself have you hit a plateau because of a change to your lifestyle or environment? Are you sleeping less, more stressed or not being as active?
Through evolution, the body became very efficient at storing energy and handling situations when no food was available. For many centuries, fasting was probably a normal occurrence for most people, and the body adapted to it. It is estimated that even very thin people can survive for 40 days or more without food. The body has a special mechanism that is initiated when no food is eaten. Fasting is not starvation, but rather the body's burning of stored energy. Starvation occurs when the body no longer has any stored energy and begins using essential tissues such as organs for an energy source. Therapeutic fasts are stopped long before this happens.
The most common approach to eating less than you burn is to “watch what you eat” or to eat at a low-grade calorie deficit all the time. At every meal, eat about 10 to 20 percent fewer calories than you need in order to maintain that deficit, which requires your body to dip into its reserves and burn excess fat. This can be mentally difficult, because you always have to be restricting calories.
Fasting is obligatory for every Muslim one month in the year, during Ramadhan. Each day, the fast begins at sun-rise and ends at sunset. During this time Muslims are asked to remember those who are less fortunate than themselves as well as bringing them closer to God. This also helps to give the digestive system a break. Non obligatory fasts are two days a week as well as the middle of the month, as recommended by the Prophet Muhammad.
Fasts must be entered and exited with care. To enter a fast, the diet should be gradually lightened over a few days. First, heavy foods such as meats and dairy products should be eliminated for a day or two. Grains, nuts, and beans should then be reduced for several days. The day before a fast, only easily digested foods like fruits, light salads, and soups should be eaten. During the fast, only pure water and occasional herbal teas should be drunk.

When I was forty-two years old, I went to an Assemblies of God camp in Alexandria,Minnesota, to speak for a women's retreat. The first two days of the retreat went very well, and then I had one day in between the first retreat and the second -- so many women had registered, the camp could not host all of the women at the same time. I took that day in this lovely place in Minnesota to enjoy the lakes and trees -- it was a gorgeous environment -- and to fast and pray about God's will for my life. I felt as if I was doing a lot of good things, but I also thought I might miss God's best for me. I longed to hear from God and to receive a revelation from Him about my life.


I’m a 36yr old female 5’6” 163lbs currently. I really need to lose around 20 lbs by Oct. 20th, eeek that’s 17 days! I’m in a wedding and I bought my dress in June when I was at my normal weight of 140 lbs. My habits eating and activity wise really have not changed. I’ve noticed the weight gain everywhere, but especially in my stomach and breasts. Which is the real problem as I can’t get the dress zipped up the last 4 inches or so right now. What do I do? Please help me!
We are wise to recognize that food was the enticement the devil used to cause Eve and Adam to sin in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 2 the Lord God told Adam and Eve that they could eat freely of every tree in the garden of Eden, "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:17). God did not tell Adam and Eve to refrain from touching a particular animal or smelling a particular flower or swimming in a certain stream. He told them to refrain from taking a particular fruit into their bodies-one type of fruit out of all the many types He had made available to them.
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.

Biblical fasting is a spiritual discipline which was encouraged by Jesus, Himself, while He was on earth. When questioned as to why the Pharisees and the disciples of John the Baptist fasted while Jesus disciples did not, Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast” (Matthew 9:15).
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].

If you’re eating processed foods and potato chips, it’s unlikely you’ll reap the benefits of fasting. If that’s you, I encourage you to examine your diet before trying a fast. But if you practice fasting and stick to a mostly whole food diet, rich in fruits, veggies, lean proteins, healthy fats and raw dairy, you will see changes — and those occasional splurges on chocolate or cheese won’t have as big of an impact as they might if you were on a calorie-restrictive diet.


To summarize this experiment, I will be following the ketogenic diet for 90-days without taking a break. I will also be fasting for 24hrs on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. By the end of each 24 hours, I will workout and cap it off with a keto meal that only has 25 grams of carbs and a load of fat. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, I will be eating 3–4 meals.
There are MUCH bigger fish to fry with regards to getting healthy than a few calories here and there during a fast. 80% adherence that you stick with for a year is better than 100% adherence that you abandon after a month because it was too restrictive. If you’re trying to get to a minimum bodyfat percentage, you’ll need to be more strict – until then, however, do what allows you to stay compliant!
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.
I hope this encourages someone. This morning I got into an argument with someone. (that isn't the encouraging part of course) I became so discouraged and did not want to go to my office and try to talk with God about anything at that point. And I wanted a cup of coffee but tried to stay away. Finally I felt the Lord say to me that if a cup of coffee was going to keep me from spending time with Him then have the cup of coffee. I made my cup, went to my office and logged into pastor Jentezen's blog. And I cried and cried. I just couldn't pray but I could listen. I clicked on his sermon, "Right People, Right Place, Right Plan" and God said some of the sweetest and most encouraging things in that sermon. Please stick to and fight through your fast but don't let anything you feel is a slip up keep you from what's really important. If I had let that cup of coffee make me feel unworthy of seeing God this morning then I would have been out of the biggest blessing of hearing His Words to me.
The findings were encouraging for both dieting groups, because they showed that conventional and fasting diets both do lead to weight reduction. However, the results could be considered a disappointment for those hoping that the fasting diet would be a superior option. Turns out the simplest advice is still generally correct: Eat fewer calories, and you’ll lose weight.

I am 25 years old 5’1 and 168 pounds I am getting married in 8 months and sooo scared I won’t drop this weight! I have tried to diet eating 1200 calories a day plus working out and so far I haven’t lost 1 pound yet and I’ve been doing this for weeks now :( I am starting to feel so discouraged! What should I do so I can start losing this weight? Intermediate fasting or which workouts would you recommend? I’m so worried about my wedding dress not fitting :(

A systematic review of 40 studies found that intermittent fasting was effective for weight loss, with a typical loss of 7-11 pounds over 10 weeks. [2] There was much variability in the studies, ranging in size from 4 to 334 subjects, and followed from 2 to 104 weeks. It is important to note that different study designs and methods of intermittent fasting were used, and participant characteristics differed (lean vs. obese).  Half of the studies were controlled trials comparing the fasting group to a comparison group and/or a control group (either continuous calorie restriction or usual lifestyle), with the other half examining an intermittent fasting group alone. A brief summary of their findings:
Fasting during religious festivals is also very common. Common examples are Maha Shivaratri (Most people conduct a strict fast on Maha Shivratri, not even consuming a drop of water ), or the nine days of Navratri (which occurs twice a year in the months of April and October/November during Vijayadashami just before Diwali, as per the Hindu calendar). Karwa Chauth is a form of fasting practised in some parts of India where married women undertake a fast for the well-being, prosperity, and longevity of their husbands. The fast is broken after the wife views the moon through a sieve. In the fifth month (Shravan Maas) of the Hindu calendar, many celebrate Shraavana. During this time some will fast on the day of the week that is reserved for worship of their chosen god(s), while others will fast during the entire month.[82]
While the idea of fasting can be overwhelming, especially if you haven’t done it before, intermittent fasting can actually be a lot easier than many other types of eating plans. Since you are fasting for time restricted chunks of the day, you’ll be eating less food, which eliminates a lot of the stress around having to meal prep. During the periods of time in which you're eating, you’ll still want to focus mainly on healthy fats, clean protein, and carbohydrates from whole food sources—but this isn’t an excuse to hit the drive-thru and load up on sugar the rest of the time! Here are some of the effects of intermittent fasting:

The most common approach to eating less than you burn is to “watch what you eat” or to eat at a low-grade calorie deficit all the time. At every meal, eat about 10 to 20 percent fewer calories than you need in order to maintain that deficit, which requires your body to dip into its reserves and burn excess fat. This can be mentally difficult, because you always have to be restricting calories.


Pros: According to the founders, while everyone is technically fasting every day — during the hours when we’re not eating — most of us do so haphazardly, which makes it harder to reap the rewards. Fat Loss Forever offers a seven-day schedule for fasting so that the body can get used to this structured timetable and reap the most benefit from the fasting periods. (Plus, you get a full cheat day. And who doesn’t love that?)
The main benefit of intermittent fasting is weight loss—fat loss, specifically. “Insulin increases when you eat, and when insulin is high, you cannot burn fat. When you fast, insulin falls, which allows your body to access its stores of food (i.e., body fat) for energy,” explains Jason Fung, M.D., a Toronto-based nephrologist and author of The Complete Guide to Fasting.

In the state of Andhra Pradesh, the month of Kartik (month), which begins with the day after Deepavali is often a period of frequent (though not necessarily continuous) fasting for some people, especially women. Common occasions for fasting during this month include Mondays for Lord Shiva, the full-moon day of Karthika and the occasion of Naagula Chaviti.


Dr. Umesiri is an Assistant Professor at John Brown University. He is a Christian author and speaker. His latest book is Fasting for Life: Medical Proof Fasting Reduces Risk of Heart Disease, Cancer, and Diabetes. He may be reached through www.francisumesiri.com. He is married to Toyin Umesiri, a Walmart associate. They have three beautiful children.

Many people who want to try IF choose the 16:8 method because it allows you to eat whatever you want for an 8-hour window and then fast for 16 hours. During the fasting period, you can drink water, tea, coffee, and even diet soda. The trick is to figure out what 8-hour eating window works best for you. Are you fine with skipping breakfast? Or do you work out in the morning and prefer to forgo dinner? Experiment with the eating and fasting intervals that work best for you. However, like all restrictive diets, there are some drawbacks. For one, drinking caffeinated drinks while fasting can disrupt your circadian rhythm, and therefore, your metabolism.


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 (Matthew 6:16-17). Instead we should not “appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place” (verse 18). Isaiah also contrasts selfish fasting with godly fasting marked by care and concern for others (Isaiah 58:3-10).
When you fast, be sure your devotion is to God. It is not necessary to tell the whole world what you are doing. If your fast is for man's praise and not God's approval, then your fast is in vain. Matthew 6:16-17 says, "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

Juice fasts are also used by many people, although these are not technically fasts. Juice fasts are less intensive than water fasts because the body doesn't reach the ketosis stage. The advantage of juice fasts is that fruit and vegetable drinks can supply extra energy and nutrients. People can fit a few days of juice fasting into their normal schedules without significant drops in energy. Juice fasts are also said to have cleansing and detoxifying effects. The disadvantage of juice fasts is that the body never gets to the ketosis stage, so these fasters are thought to lack the deep detoxification and healing effects of the water fast.


Thank you very much for the great article. As a Muslim, we are encouraged to fast two days a week (Monday and Thursday)! It is not a must, just preferred. We fast from sunrise to sunset. No food or drink is allowed during this period (no water). As you mentioned a true fast can be a mental and physical cleansing time. From a personal experience, fasting is really great. I strongly believe it has many benefits on the mind and body as well if done correctly.

The devil comes at us the same way. The devil never tells us that drinking alcohol can make a person an alcoholic. He never tells a person that smoking cigarettes can cause him or her to have lung cancer. He never tells a person that eating too much of the wrong foods can lead to chronic illness and premature death. The devil points out only short-term benefits, never long-term disasters.

And there’s more than anecdotal experience like Corbin’s that fasting can help people lose weight. In a one-year study, 100 obese adults ages 18 to 64 were assigned to three groups. One group practiced alternate-day fasting, eating 75 percent fewer calories every other day; another group followed CR, with a 25 percent calorie restriction every day; the rest were in a control group. Compared with the control group, the fasters averaged 6 percent weight loss, and those assigned to CR averaged about 5 percent, according to the 2017 paper in JAMA Internal Medicine.
A fast for God doesn't have to be all day. It can be one meal. You could choose to give up sugar or caffeine. Fasting for God is sacrificing something that is important to you. Surrendering to God means giving of yourself for Him. We cry out, "All of you, none of me." Fasting tears down strongholds, fasting causes divine power to loose the chains of injustice and sets the captive free. A fast for God ushers in every ministering spirit to go forth on your behalf bringing solutions to every problem. If you want to see God's power working in your life, then fast.

On Wednesday and Friday of the first week of Great Lent the meals which are taken consist of xerophagy (literally, "dry eating") i.e. boiled or raw vegetables, fruit, and nuts.[47] In a number of monasteries, and in the homes of more devout laypeople, xerophagy is observed on every weekday (Monday through Friday) of Great Lent, except when wine and oil are allowed.
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