There has been much contention in the scientific field about whether or not fasting is beneficial to one's health. Fasting is an integral part of many of the major religions including Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Many are dubious as to whether the physiological effects are as beneficial as the spiritual promoted by these religions. There is a significant community of alternative healers who believe that fasting can do wonders for the human body. This paper will look at the arguments presented by these healers in an attempt to raise awareness of the possible physiological benefits that may result from fasting.
Detoxification is the foremost argument presented by advocates of fasting. "Detoxification is a normal body process of eliminating or neutralizing toxins through the colon, liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph glands, and skin. This process is precipitated by fasting because when food is no longer entering the body, the body turns to fat reserves for energy. "Human fat is valued at 3,500 calories per pound," a number that would lead one to believe that surviving on one pound of fat every day would provide a body with enough energy to function normally. These fat reserves were created when excess glucose and carbohydrates were not used for energy or growth, not excreted, and therefore converted into fat. When the fat reserves are used for energy during a fast, it releases the chemicals from the fatty acids into the system which are then eliminated through the aforementioned organs. Chemicals not found in food but absorbed from one's environment, such as DDT, are also stored in fat reserves that may be released during a fast. One fasting advocate tested his own urine, feces and sweat during an extended fast and found traces of DDT in each.
It is believed that many of the health benefits of fasting come from giving your digestive system a break from its work of breaking down foods. Through the practice of fasting, the digestive system also gets a break from combating the toxins that enter the body in the form of the highly processed foods that made up the majority of our modern diets. Since the body is not expending energy in the digestive process, this energy can be used for other purposes such as allowing the body to heal itself. Also, since the body's immune system is not busy fighting of bacteria and other toxins that enter the body through the foods we eat, the immune system can concentrate on healing what diseases and sicknesses in the body.
Recorded since the beginning of time, fasting is a practice that has many benefits for the body. Not only does it give the body a chance to heal itself, it also cleans all the toxins and poisons from the body. The health benefits of fasting can leave you feeling more energized and more physically fit that ever before.
This post is a combination of excerpts from "Benefits of Fasting, by Health Insider and "The Health Benefits of Fasting by Serendip