Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Physiology of Fasting: How Conscious Abstention From Eating and Drinking Restores Health

A true fasting state begins in the first twelve to twenty-four hours after your last meal. This is considered the starting mark chemically; as it is the point in the metabolism process when the body begins to burn its carbohydrate stores (fat) as an energy source. This process is known as ketosis. Human fat is valued at 3,500 calories per pound; enough calories to allow the body to continue functioning normally when burning only one pound per day. We lose weight when fasting for this reason; the body eats up the fat as its energy source. The fast will continue as long as fat and carbohydrate stores are available for energy.

Once the body has depleted these stores it begins to burn protein (muscle) in an effort to keep itself alive. This stage of using the body’s protein and muscle for energy (resulting in loss of muscle mass) is the beginning of starvation. This would typically take 40 to 60 days depending upon the weight of the individual. Much longer than any fast we would be considering for our purposes.

The healing process is also accelerated when we fast. This happens because the energy that had been used in digesting, metabolizing and eliminating waste from the food we eat, is re-directed and begins to perform a kind of internal housecleaning. One that is not possible when the body has spent all of its energy processing the “foods” that are typically consumed in the Standard American Diet. This re-direction of energy causes many healing and repairing processes to begin, including immunity booting cell, tissue and organ repair. The blood supply is also nourished, allowing for improved blood flow and pressure.

Dr. Joel Furman, a regular practitioner of fasting who prescribes it to nearly all of his patients with astounding results writes, “The body can heal itself when the proper environment for healing is established and all obstacles to healing or stressors are removed... By supplying the organism [the body] with its basic requirements – natural, unadulterated food, clean water, and appropriate physical, mental and emotional activities – while simultaneously eliminating all harmful factors and influences, the self-constructing, self-regulating, self-repairing qualities of the body are given full rein. The same innate wisdom that constructed our bodies from two cells at conception is always there to restore the body to health if we let it.”

No comments:

you might also like ...