Fasting’s Health Benefits Being Looked Into


Some, though sadly not yet most, in the medical world are realizing that there seem to be health benefits from fasting:

The power of intermittent fasting

Scientists are uncovering evidence that short periods of fasting, if properly controlled, could achieve a number of health benefits, as well as potentially helping the overweight, as Michael Mosley discovered…

Calorie restriction, eating well but not much, is one of the few things that has been shown to extend life expectancy, at least in animals. We’ve known since the 1930s that mice put on a low-calorie, nutrient-rich diet live far longer. There is mounting evidence that the same is true in monkeys…

IGF-1 levels can be lowered by fasting. The reason seems to be that when our bodies no longer have access to food they switch from “growth mode” to “repair mode”.

As levels of the IGF-1 hormone drop, a number of repair genes appear to get switched on according to ongoing research by Professor Valter Longo of the University of Southern California…

Current medical opinion is that the benefits of fasting are unproven and until there are more human studies it’s better to eat at least 2000 calories a day. If you really want to fast then you should do it in a proper clinic or under medical supervision, because there are many people, such as pregnant women or diabetics on medication, for whom it could be dangerous.

Notice also something that came out last year about fasting:

Fasting Reduces Risk of Heart Disease.

In a study of more than 4,500 Mormons in Utah, researchers examined behaviors that were associated with lower risk of coronary artery disease—heart disease. After accounting for other factors (smoking, alcohol use, coffee and tea ingestion), researchers discovered that those who fasted routinely (without food or drink) were at lower risk for heart disease than those who did not fast. Fasting was also associated with lower diabetes risk (The American Journal of Cardiology, October 1, 2008). In the Old Testament, God direct His people to “afflict their soul” or fast as a tool for building humility and drawing closer to Him (see Leviticus 23:27; Esther 4:16; Psalm 35:13, 109:24; Isaiah 58:3-6). We see this behavior continued in the New Testament (Acts 27:9). Although many claim that God’s commands in the Old Testament were “nailed to the cross,” honest students of the Scriptures realize that God’s principles are consistent throughout the entire Bible (2 Timothy 3:16). Fasting is a tool that God intended to be used for spiritual purposes. However, there are also health benefits built into the practice of fasting—that modern research verifies! God said that those who keep His commandments and statutes would not be afflicted with diseases common among the Egyptians (Exodus 15:26). The historical record indicates that heart disease and diabetes were common diseases, especially among aristocratic Egyptians. While fasting is not the “magic bullet” for health, God has built in physical health benefits for those who routinely use this spiritual tool! (World Ahead Weekly Update. Living Church of God, June 2, 2011)

The Bible has always advocated some type of fasting (e.g. Matthew 6:16-17; 9:15). I have always suspected that fasting must reduce the risk of heart disease and it is nice that science is now coming to the same conclusion. Fasting is one of many tools that are available for Christians. Prayer, biblical meditation, and Bible study are some others.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Spiritual Benefits of Fasting Jesus said, “But by Prayer and Fasting” and this article by Dr. Meredith mentions prayer and focuses on fasting and provides his physical and spiritual fasting tips.
The Bible: Fact or Fiction? This is a booklet written by Douglas Winnail that answers if the Bible is just a collection of myths and legends or the inspired word of God.
Read the Bible Christians should read and study the Bible. This article gives some rationale for regular bible reading.
What is the Appropriate Form of Biblical Interpretation? Should the Bible be literally understood? What do the writings of the Bible, Origen, Herbert W. Armstrong, and Augustine show?

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