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Is there any science to this at all?It is about water fasting.

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 02, 2013 at 7:40 PM

This link talks about the stages that one goes through as they perform a 30 day water fast.

http://curezone.com/faq/q.asp?a=25,1787,2836&q=759

To what extent is any of this valid?

B5bcaa69f3848029d572fac619b8e143

(28)

on August 22, 2013
at 01:31 AM

Interesting. I've never fasted for more than about 16 hours, and it was quite painful, so I always associate fasting with zealous determination. Still, I don't quite see how the biochemistry of 30 days with nothing but water can even work.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on August 17, 2013
at 11:26 PM

You write, "hunger, pain, dizziness, misery." I've fasted once for 30 days and a second time for 21 days. There was no pain, no hunger, no misery. My experience was typical. Anyone who experiences pain or misery during a fast should probably stop. Dizziness (orthostatic hypotension) is common during long fasts. It's annoying but not usually a problem as long as the person remembers to stand up cautiously. The end of the fast when people start eating again is potentially dangerous because of the risk of refeeding syndrome. For the first few days, meals should be very carefully chosen.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on August 17, 2013
at 11:19 PM

You write, "hunger, pain, dizziness, misery." I've fasted once for 30 days and a second time for 21 days. There was no pain, no hunger, no misery. My experience was typical. As you can see from the list of reported medical complications in the paper I linked above (Kerndt, et al.), pain is unusual during a long fast. Anyone who experiences pain or misery during a fast should probably stop. Although most people don't realize it, the human body is adapted to fasting for weeks at a time, just like bears are adapted to hibernating. It's something that the human body normally does easily.

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82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on August 17, 2013
at 07:04 AM

The article contains some true statements, some errors, and many non-scientific, unsupported assertions.

It would be tedious to read the article line by line and categorize all the statements. I don't think the article merits that much attention.

If you want to know what science says about fasting, here's a good review paper that summarizes both the research and clinical observations:

Kerndt et al., Fasting: The history, pathophysiology, and complications

If you want to read more of the scientific literature, you can find the most important papers in the Ketosis Bibliography section of my website.

Research papers about starvation (fasting) are listed under "ketosis" because for the most part, scientists studied ketosis by studying fasting people.

You asked specifically about the stages of fasting. George Cahill (probably the most important scientist who studied fasting) wrote this paper on that subject.

One of the true statements in your linked article is that fasting often suppresses appetite. This is why fasting can be an easy way for obese people to lose weight quickly. When appetite stops, losing weight becomes effortless. There are many papers in the scientific literature about fasting as a treatment for obesity.

I can testify from personal experience that fasting can yield at least one health benefit in addition to weight loss because my first long fast (30 days without food) caused the permanent disappearance of a large lipoma which had bothered me for years. The only recognized medical treatment for my lipoma was surgery. The fast was easier, cheaper, and healthier.

People should be aware that most of the beneficial effects of fasting can probably be obtained from a therapeutic ketogenic diet. In many cases it's probably not necessary to fast. A diet can be tried before resorting to a fast.

On the other hand, a long fast is suprisingly easy. Often there's no hunger. For the first couple of weeks of my long fasts, I could hardly tell that I was fasting. Most of the time I felt normal.

Anybody who is considering a long fast should be aware that there are some health risks. The main risk is refeeding syndrome after the fast ends. Refeeding syndrome can be fatal. Luckily it can be avoided.

0
B5bcaa69f3848029d572fac619b8e143

on August 02, 2013
at 11:24 PM

Not a scientific assessment other than my basic knowledge of how the body works, but...

It sounds like what anyone goes through when starving on a so-called "cleanse" -- hunger, pain, dizziness, misery. I noticed that the best effects were at the end when one breaks the fast and starts eating again.

It reminds me of the criticism I read of colon cleansing which analogized our obsession with fiber to a fictional situation where smoking was good for you because it made you cough, and coughing removes impurities from your lungs. (I wish I could find it, but sadly I can't.)

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on August 17, 2013
at 11:26 PM

You write, "hunger, pain, dizziness, misery." I've fasted once for 30 days and a second time for 21 days. There was no pain, no hunger, no misery. My experience was typical. Anyone who experiences pain or misery during a fast should probably stop. Dizziness (orthostatic hypotension) is common during long fasts. It's annoying but not usually a problem as long as the person remembers to stand up cautiously. The end of the fast when people start eating again is potentially dangerous because of the risk of refeeding syndrome. For the first few days, meals should be very carefully chosen.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on August 17, 2013
at 11:19 PM

You write, "hunger, pain, dizziness, misery." I've fasted once for 30 days and a second time for 21 days. There was no pain, no hunger, no misery. My experience was typical. As you can see from the list of reported medical complications in the paper I linked above (Kerndt, et al.), pain is unusual during a long fast. Anyone who experiences pain or misery during a fast should probably stop. Although most people don't realize it, the human body is adapted to fasting for weeks at a time, just like bears are adapted to hibernating. It's something that the human body normally does easily.

B5bcaa69f3848029d572fac619b8e143

(28)

on August 22, 2013
at 01:31 AM

Interesting. I've never fasted for more than about 16 hours, and it was quite painful, so I always associate fasting with zealous determination. Still, I don't quite see how the biochemistry of 30 days with nothing but water can even work.

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