Cons: Even though it’s nice to eat a few snacks rather than go without any food for 20-plus hours, the guidelines for what you need to eat (and when) can be hard to follow long-term. The strict schedule and meal plan may also interfere with social gatherings. Additionally, eating one main meal at night — while following strict guidelines of what to eat, and in what order — can be tough. It’s especially hard for those who prefer not to eat large meals late in the day.
In a sense, everyone fasts. When we are in bed asleep, we go without any food or drink. That is fasting. That is why the first meal of the day is called breakfast. However, when people speak of fasting, they usually mean a longer period of time of deliberately choosing not to eat and drink. It can be for a whole day, part of a day or more than a day.
The discipline of fasting entails that, apart from Saturdays, Sundays, and holy feasts, one should keep a total fast from all food and drink from midnight the night before to a certain time in the day usually three o'clock in the afternoon (the hour Jesus died on the Cross). Also, it is preferred that one reduce one's daily intake of food, typically by eating only one full meal a day.
Adam and Eve had a choice to make about this one tree. God told them to abstain from eating from its fruit because He did not want His beloved creation to have a knowledge of evil. He had already given them a full knowledge of everything He called "good."He wanted to spare them the heartache of knowing evil. That's true for us today as Christians. God calls us to pursue only what is good. Paul wrote to the Philippians: "Whatsoever things are true . . . honest . . . just . . . pure . . . lovely . . . of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things" (Phil. 4:8). God desires only good for His children. He tells us in His Word, "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good" (Rom. 12:21).

Fasting for Jews means completely abstaining from food and drink, including water. Traditionally observant Jews fast six days of the year. With the exception of Yom Kippur, fasting is never permitted on Shabbat, for the commandment of keeping Shabbat is biblically ordained and overrides the later rabbinically instituted fast days. (The optional minor fast of the Tenth of Tevet could also override the Shabbat, but the current calendar system prevents this from ever occurring.[89])

American King James Version×). Daniel and Nehemiah set the example of having a repentant frame of mind (Daniel 9:3-4 Daniel 9:3-4 3 And I set my face to the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: 4 And I prayed to the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;
Surprisingly, since I've started intermittent fasting I've increased muscle mass (up 10 pounds from 205 to 215), decreased body fat (down 3% from 14% to 11%), increased explosiveness (set a personal best with a clean and jerk of 253 pounds a few months back), and decreased the amount of time I've spent training (down from 7.5 hours per week to 2.5 hours per week).
Carbs are only problematic when eaten excessively, beyond what your body requires. As long as you are eating low calories then carb intake will make very little difference in respect to fat loss. In other words, two diets of equal calories with varying levels of carb intake will result in the same level of fat loss. If you are still unsure then you can read this brilliant article by Lyle McDonald, Low Carbohydrate Diets Have No Metabolic Advantage. In addition, carbs in the main meal serve very important functions such as increasing leptin (improved satiety and metabolic rate), refilling depleted muscle glycogen stores and triggering the release of serotonin which will improve your quality of sleep and make you feel good.
Classical Pentecostalism does not have set days of abstinence and lent, but individuals in the movement may feel they are being directed by the Holy Spirit to undertake either short or extended fasts. Although Pentecostalism has not classified different types of fasting, certain writers within the movement have done so. Arthur Wallis writes about the "Normal Fast" in which pure water alone is consumed.[75] The "Black Fast" in which nothing, not even water, is consumed is also mentioned. Dr. Curtis Ward points out that undertaking a black fast beyond three days may lead to dehydration, may irreparably damage the kidneys, and result in possible death.[76] He further notes that nowhere in the New Testament is it recorded that anyone ever undertook a black fast beyond three days and that one should follow this biblical guideline. Dr. Herbert Shelton advises that one should drink water according to natural thirst.[77] In addition to the Normal Fast and the Black Fast, some undertake what is referred to as the Daniel Fast (or Partial Fast) in which only one type of food (e.g., fruit or fruit and non-starchy vegetables) is consumed.[75] In a Daniel Fast, meat is almost always avoided, in following the example of Daniel and his friends' refusal to eat the meat of Gentiles, which had been offered to idols and not slaughtered in a kosher manner. In some circles of Pentecostals, the term "fast" is simply used, and the decision to drink water is determined on an individual basis. In other circles profuse amounts of pure water is advised to be consumed during the fasting period to aid the cleansing of internal toxins. Most Pentecostal writers on fasting concur with Dr. Mark Mattson who says that sensible intermittent fasting with a sensible water intake can strengthen the organism and assist thwarting degenerative diseases.[78]

All three types offer the same fat-burning benefits of intermittent fasting. The real differences are just in how long you’re fasting and what you’re allowed to eat during the fast, Varady says. On both whole-day fasting and alternate-day fasting, for example, you consume 500 calories per fast day to spark fat loss but maintain muscle. During time-restricted feeding, however, you’re consuming zero calories during your fast period (water and tea, for example, are allowed). In all types, you’re free to go hog-wild during the feeding window—though, obviously, all nutritionists would recommend you ditch the junk and stick to healthy fare.

As researchers study the different fasting mechanisms to try to determine the ideal protocol for a variety of outcomes in a variety of populations, however, the general public must proceed by trial and error. That leaves dietitians such as myself concerned that the hype around fasting could encourage people to follow harmful plans that severely restrict nutrients, cause stress or unsuccessfully treat serious conditions.


I’m 65 and I retired recently. I tried this for one week, and I must admit I particularly watched the clock all day long. I was very intergetic, and my depression subsided most of the time. At one week I weight myself, and thought why am I doing this if I’m not losing weight? So I went off and now I feel like I drag most of the day. I’m getting back on…enough said.
3 days in a 16:8 ration – my body loves it. I don’t feel famished and look forward to my 8 hrs of eating window. I keep calories in check with a healthy balanced diet. My exercise begins after my last hour of fasting, I eat a few fruits (mango and raspberries) and an avocado (topped with a homemade crushed walnut dressing) and I’m good to lift weights and run. My body feels light and healthy. Amazing solution to any fitness junky.

Jessica Galán encourages her readers to embrace malleability in the midst of life’s difficult moments. She spends her day teaching amazing students from diverse backgrounds in Fairfield County, Connecticut. She’s wife to a super-creative man and the proud mother of three resilient young women. She’s served as a writing facilitator for Lysa TerKeurst through COMPEL Training. She enjoys daily cups of steaming hot café con leche and breaks out in sporadic salsa dancing when no one’s looking. You’ll find her stories at http://www.jessicagalan.net/. Connect with her here: Twitter || Instagram ||Facebook

Because it simplifies your day. Rather than having to prepare, pack, eat, and time your meals every 2-3 hours, you simply skip a meal or two and only worry about eating food in your eating window. It’s one less decision you have to make every day. It could allow you to enjoy bigger portioned meals (thus making your tastebuds and stomach satiated) and STILL eat fewer calories on average.


Alternative medicine A period of voluntary abstinence from foods and/or drinks; fasting is integral to many religions, as it is believed to purify the mind and spirit; fasting rests the GI tract, and may rid the body of toxins and undigested metabolites; fasting leads to a loss of water, Na+, and K+, resulting in postural hypotension, and decreased blood sugar resulting in depression, fatigue, decreased libido, and malaise, increased nitrogen in the circulation due to protein breakdown, and may result in premature childbirth—Yom Kippur effect

Yes, it's a good idea for believers to fast from time to time. Fasting is not required in Scripture, but it's highly recommended. The primary Biblical reason to fast is to develop a closer walk with God. By taking our eyes off the things of this world, we can focus better on Christ. "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you" (Matthew 6:16-18).
Those studies above, in working with small sample sizes, and different types of fasting than recommended here, would lead me to believe that fasting affects men and women differently, and that many of the weight loss benefits associated with intermittent fasting (that affect insulin and glucose responses) work positively for men and negatively for women.
Still, researchers are exploring whether fasting might help fight cancer, or help cancer patients tolerate chemotherapy. And they’re putting serious thought into whether fasting has a role in treating and preventing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and multiple sclerosis. But while the animal literature is rich, the literature in humans is promising — though far from conclusive. As this 2017 review of the science found, the studies on fasting to control Type 2 diabetes come to contradictory results, and there’s “minimal data” comparing the effects of fasting to plain old calorie restriction in overweight or obese people with the disease. There were also no studies on fasting and human cancer rates.
But here’s something important to note about what we know from science about fasting: Though a lot of the popular interest is in weight loss, many of the key researchers who study fasting aren’t focusing on that at all. In fact, many of the studies on fasting come from institutes of aging, like this one, and the researchers behind the studies actually focus on longevity and disease prevention.
When you consistently eat every few hours and never miss a meal, your body becomes very inefficient at burning fat as a fuel, and this is where the trouble starts. It's important to recognize that, with few exceptions, you cannot burn body fat if you have other fuel available, and if you're supplying your body with carbohydrates every few hours, your body has no need to dive into your fat stores. When you apply intermittent fasting you not only avoid this but also will typically decrease your food costs and increase your health.
The findings were clear: Fasting just five days per month improved people’s health outcomes. The group that fasted lost weight (about 7 pounds on average), lost some body fat, lowered their blood pressure, and decreased their IGF-1, a genetic marker for diseases such as cancer. (Their total cholesterol, blood glucose, and triglycerides didn’t budge.)
Once you start your IF journey, you’ll most likely find that you feel fuller longer and can keep the meals you do eat very simple. There are a few different ways you can fast, so I broke up each of the different plans below into beginner, intermediate, and advanced along with a typical meal plan for each day. The combination of nutrients will give you the energy you need to enhance the benefits of your fasting journey. Just make sure to take into account any individual food intolerances, and use this as a guide for your particular health case, and adjust from there.
We are wise to recognize that food was the enticement the devil used to cause Eve and Adam to sin in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 2 the Lord God told Adam and Eve that they could eat freely of every tree in the garden of Eden, "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:17). God did not tell Adam and Eve to refrain from touching a particular animal or smelling a particular flower or swimming in a certain stream. He told them to refrain from taking a particular fruit into their bodies-one type of fruit out of all the many types He had made available to them.
Jesus’ statements concerning fasting are simple and straightforward. His disciples will fast (Luke 5:33-35 Luke 5:33-35 33 And they said to him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but your eat and drink? 34 And he said to them, Can you make the children of the bridal chamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? 35 But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.
This depends. If you’re on a time-restricted fast and you’re in no-eating hours, it’s best to stick to no- or low-calorie drinks like water, coffee (with no milk) and tea. If you’re on an alternate day diet or something similar, even during low calorie hours, you can technically drink whatever you’d like — but remember, this will count against your calories. Would you rather spend 100 calories on an apple or a glass of milk? It’s your call.
Keep in mind that the initial weight lost on a fast is primarily fluid or "water weight," not fat. And when you go back to eating, any lost weight usually gets a return ticket back. Not only do most people regain weight lost on a fast, they tend to add a few extra pounds because a slower metabolism makes it easier to gain weight. Worse, the weight that is regained is likely to be all fat -- lost muscle has to be added back at the gym.

If you find yourself eating that sandwich, and start to beat yourself up, stop. We as humans fail at many things, but God’s love is proven time and time again. Eating on the fast does not make you a failure. To be considered a good hitter in baseball you only need to hit thirty percent of the time at-bat. If you eat something you meant to be fasting, just get back into the fast and finish strong.
But a troubling flaw has popped up in this system. (You knew there was a "but" coming, right?) In a recent study, people on an alternate-day fasting plan for six months lost about 6 percent of their body weight—the same as those on a conventional low-cal diet—but 38 percent of fasters dropped out, nearly 10 percent more than in the other diet group. A similar problem has surfaced in other trials.
A recent study completed by the German Cancer Research Center concluded that intermittent fasting indeed “helps lose weight and promotes health,” and noted that the regimen proved especially adept at getting rid of fat in the liver. A USC study also found that the diet reduced participants’ risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and other age-related diseases. While researchers involved cautioned that more testing is necessary, the results are at least encouraging.

Thanks for your insight, there are millions of people throughout the world who fast for religious reasons, it is a part of honoring their faith. If someone is fasting to lose weight, improve their health, improve immunity and decrease their insulin sensitivity (or any of the other many health benefits associated with fasting) then yes I agree we promote and encourage you to drink water throughout your fasting days. Why? Drinking water helps keep the body hydrated which is important since we are made up of more than 70% water, it helps you from being dehydrated, which when people feel dehydrated they often feel hungry and want to eat and lastly water helps flush toxins and waste materials from the body. When fasting you will be breaking down waste and other by products so it is important to flush them out of your body; this will also aid your digestion and improve your overall well being.

As a functional medicine practitioner, I see a wide range of health problems that all stem from chronic inflammation. And while acute inflammation is a natural and healthy response to help fight off pathogenic bacteria and infections, long-term chronic inflammation that doesn’t subside when the threat is gone can contribute to everything from autoimmune conditions to cancer.

Wicked kings, destined for destruction, received mercy from humbling themselves and fasting (1 Kings 21:29). The entire city of Nineveh, including animals, fasted upon hearing the pronouncement of judgment from the prophet Jonah -- and God spared them (Jonah 3:10). Jesus received divine preparation for His earthly ministry while fasting and enduring temptation. Moses waited upon God forty days and received the divine revelation of God’s commandments.
Fasting isn't appropriate for everyone and, in some cases, could be harmful. Any person undertaking a first fast longer than three days should seek medical supervision. Those with health conditions should always have medical support during fasting. Plenty of water should be taken by fasters since dehydration can occur. Saunas and sweating therapies are sometimes recommended to assist detoxification, but should be used sparingly. Those fasting should significantly slow down their lifestyles. Taking time off of work is helpful, or at least reducing the work load. Fasters should also get plenty of rest. Exercise should be kept light, such as walking and gentle stretching.
Many physiological changes occur in the body during fasting. During the first day or so, the body uses its glycogen reserves, the sugars that are the basic energy supply. After these are depleted, the body begins using fat. However, the brain, which has high fuel requirements, still needs glucose (sugars converted from glycogen). To obtain glucose for the brain, the body begins to break down muscle tissue during the second day of the fast. Thus, during fasting some muscle loss will occur. To fuel the brain, the body would need to burn over a pound of muscle a day, but the body has developed another way to create energy that saves important muscle mass. This protein-sparing process is called ketosis, which occurs during the third day of a fast for men and the second day for women. In this highly efficient state, the liver begins converting stored fat and other nonessential tissues into ketones, which can be used by the brain, muscles, and heart as energy. It is at this point in the fast that sensations of hunger generally go away, and many people experience normal or even increased energy levels. Hormone levels and certain functions become more stable in this state as well. The goal of most fasts is to allow the body to reach the ketosis state in order to burn excess fat and unneeded or damaged tissue. Thus, fasts longer than three days are generally recommended as therapy.

The main benefit of intermittent fasting is weight loss—fat loss, specifically. “Insulin increases when you eat, and when insulin is high, you cannot burn fat. When you fast, insulin falls, which allows your body to access its stores of food (i.e., body fat) for energy,” explains Jason Fung, M.D., a Toronto-based nephrologist and author of The Complete Guide to Fasting.
If you have an addictive relationship with food and you struggle with portion control, track your calorie intake in your meals to make sure you’re not overeating. If you skip breakfast, you might be so hungry from this that you OVEREAT for lunch and this can lead to weight gain. Again, the important thing here is that with intermittent fasting you’re eating fewer calories than normal because you’re skipping a meal every day.
In practice, however, I would be concerned with eating enough. Based on my experience, teaching yourself to consistently eat more is one of the harder parts of intermittent fasting. You might be able to feast for a meal, but learning to do so every day of the week takes a little bit of planning, a lot of cooking, and consistent eating. The end result is that most people who try intermittent fasting end up losing some weight because the size of their meals remains similar even though a few meals are being cut out each week.
By taking our eyes off the things of this world through prayer and biblical fasting, we can focus better on Christ. Matthew 6:16-18 declares, "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."
So what’s the first step in getting started? Each method has its own guidelines for how long to fast and what to eat during the “feeding” phase. Below, you’ll find the five most popular methods and the basics of how they work. Keep in mind, intermittent fasting isn’t for everyone. Those with health conditions of any kind should check with their doctor before changing up their usual routine. Note that personal goals and lifestyle are key factors to consider when choosing a fasting method.

Fasting can take up a significant portion of the calendar year. The purpose of fasting is not to suffer, but according to Sacred Tradition to guard against gluttony and impure thoughts, deeds and words.[50] Fasting must always be accompanied by increased prayer and almsgiving (donating to a local charity, or directly to the poor, depending on circumstances). To engage in fasting without them is considered useless or even spiritually harmful.[47] To repent of one's sins and to reach out in love to others is part and parcel of true fasting.
×