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Willing abstinence from, or reduced consumption of, food and/or drink
Fasting is the abstention from eating and sometimes drinking. From a purely physiological context, "fasting" may refer to the metabolic status of a person who has not eaten overnight (see "Breakfast"), or to the metabolic state achieved after complete digestion and absorption of a meal. Metabolic changes in the fasting state begin after absorption of a meal (typically 3-5 hours after eating).
A diagnostic fast refers to prolonged fasting from 1 to 100 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, or before certain medical tests. Intermittent fasting is a technique sometimes used for weight loss that incorporates regular fasting into a person's dietary schedule. Fasting may also be part of a religious ritual, often associated with specifically scheduled fast days, as determined by the religion.
This article is missing information about health benefits, scientific research about that, fasting in treatment or therapy. Please expand the article to include this information. Further details may exist on the talk page.(June 2021)
Fasting may have different results on health in different circumstances. To understand whether loss of appetite (anorexia) during illness was protective or detrimental, researchers in the laboratory of Ruslan Medzhitov at Yale School of Medicine gave carbohydrate to mice with a bacterial or viral illness, or deprived them of carbohydrate. They found that carbohydrate was detrimental to bacterial sepsis. But with viral sepsis or influenza, nutritional supplementation with carbohydrates was beneficial, decreasing mortality, whereas denying glucose to the mice, or blocking its metabolism, was lethal. The researchers put forth hypotheses to explain the findings and called for more research on humans to determine whether our bodies react similarly, depending on whether an illness is bacterial or viral.
In one review, fasting improved alertness, mood, and subjective feelings of well-being, possibly improving overall symptoms of depression, and boosting cognitive performance.
Intermittent fasting for periods shorter than 24 hours has been shown to be effective for weight loss in obese and healthy adults and to maintain lean body mass.
In rare occurrences, dry fasting can lead to the potentially fatal refeeding syndrome upon reinstatement of food intake due to electrolyte imbalance.
Historical medical studies
Fasting was historically studied on population under famine and hunger strikes, which led to the alternative name of "starvation diet", as a diet with 0 calories intake per day.
It has been argued that fasting makes one more appreciative of food, and possibly drink.
Fasting is often used to make a political statement, to protest, or to bring awareness to a cause. A hunger strike is a method of non-violent resistance in which participants fast as an act of political protest, or to provoke feelings of guilt, or to achieve a goal such as a policy change. A spiritual fast incorporates personal spiritual beliefs with the desire to express personal principles, sometimes in the context of social injustice.
The political leader Gandhi undertook several long fasts as political and social protests. Gandhi's fasts had a significant impact on the British Raj and the Indian population generally.
In Northern Ireland in 1981, a prisoner, Bobby Sands, was part of the 1981 Irish hunger strike, protesting for better rights in prison. Sands had just been elected to the British Parliament and died after 66 days of not eating. 100,000 people attended his funeral, and the strike ended only after nine other men died. In all, ten men survived without food for 46 to 73 days.
César Chávez undertook several spiritual fasts, including a 25-day fast in 1968 promoting the principle of nonviolence and a fast of 'thanksgiving and hope' to prepare for pre-arranged civil disobedience by farm workers. Chávez regarded a spiritual fast as "a personal spiritual transformation". Other progressive campaigns have adopted the tactic.
Details of fasting practices differ. Eastern Orthodox Christians fast during specified fasting seasons of the year, which include not only the better-known Great Lent, but also fasts on every Wednesday and Friday (except on special holidays), together with extended fasting periods before Christmas (the Nativity Fast), after Easter (the Apostles Fast) and in early August (the Dormition Fast). Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) generally abstain from food and drink for two consecutive meals in a 24-hour period on the first Sunday of each month. Like Muslims, they refrain from all drinking and eating unless they are children or are physically unable to fast. Fasting is also a feature of ascetic traditions in religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. Mahayana traditions that follow the Brahma's Net Sutra may recommend that the laity fast "during the six days of fasting each month and the three months of fasting each year". Members of the Bahá'í Faith observe a Nineteen Day Fast from sunrise to sunset during March each year.
^Porter, Sian (May 2016). "Detox diets"(PDF). British Dietetic Association. Archived(PDF) from the original on 17 October 2016. Retrieved 2019. The whole idea of detox is nonsense. The body is a well-developed system that has its own built-in mechanisms to detoxify and remove waste and toxins. Our body constantly filters out, breaks down and excretes toxins and waste products like alcohol, medications, products of digestion, dead cells, chemicals from pollution and bacteria