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.
The digestive tract is the part of the body most exposed to environmental threats, including bacteria, viruses, parasites, and toxins. It requires the most immune system support. When food is broken down in the intestines, it travels through the blood to the liver, the largest organ of the body's natural detoxification system. The liver breaks down and removes the toxic by-products produced by digestion, including natural ones and the chemicals now present in the food supply. During fasting, the liver and immune system are essentially freed to detoxify and heal other parts of the body.
We begin this holy season by acknowledging our need for repentance and our need for the love and forgiveness shown to us in Jesus Christ. I invite you, therefore, in the name of Christ, to observe a Holy Lent, by self-examination and penitence, by prayer and fasting, by practicing works of love, and by reading and reflecting on God's Holy Word.[72]
"There is a good evolutionary explanation for the difference in the calorie restriction response when comparing short-lived and long-lived species: famines are seasonal, and a season is a large fraction of a mouse lifespan but a small fraction of a human life span. Thus only the mouse evolves a relatively large plasticity of life span in response to food scarcity."
You’ll spike your blood sugar when you eat. If you’re fasting on a high-carb diet and you’ve powered through the cravings and lack of energy from low blood sugar, there’s a good chance you’ll eat a ton of carbs when you feast. You want to eat big meals when you fast to make sure you’re getting enough calories, but all those excess carbs in one go will spike your blood sugar in the opposite direction, from low to high.[14] High blood sugar causes fatigue and lack of focus. That raging hunger will also cause you to binge unnecessarily, and whatever carbs you don’t use will get stored as fat.
Improves cholesterol: Intermittent fasting diets impact cholesterol by decreasing your levels of LDL and VLDL cholesterols (the bad stuff). While improving your cholesterol won’t directly lead to weight loss, overweight and obese people are more likely to have dangerously high LDL and VLDL cholesterol, and the cardiovascular risk that comes with it.[8]
Annie, I have to take my anticonvulsants at 12 hour intervals as well. I’ll be taking them with water in the am. I won’t be eating till 10 am and I will restart my fast after 6 pm. Just starting today. Hoping to to kick my ketosis into high gear. Very optimistic. We all have things we have to work around and deal with, this is one of mine. Keto is for me and I think IF is too. Keep you posted.

No, it's not a cure-all for creaky joints, wrinkled skin, or brittle hair, but IF prompts an increase in human growth hormone (HGH), which promotes cellular repair, says Foroutan. She explains that not eating for several consecutive hours creates a slight stress on your cells' mitochondria (the energy powerhouses), which gives them a nudge to rev up their functioning. IF might also be helpful for brain health; animal studies suggest that this eating pattern might serve to ward off age-related cognitive decline.
Pros: While 24 hours may seem like a long time to go without food, the good news is that this program is flexible. You don’t have to go all-or-nothing at the beginning. Go as long as you can without food the first day and gradually increase fasting phase over time to help your body adjust. Pilon suggests starting the fast when you are busy, and on a day where you have no eating obligations (like a work lunch or happy hour).

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.
Jesus was indicating that fasting would become a necessity when, the bridegroom (Jesus) was taken away. While Jesus, who was God manifested in human form, was still on earth, His followers enjoyed a close fellowship and friendship with Him. Jesus bestowed power and authority on them to the extent that they had limited power to preach, heal the sick, and cast out devils. Similarly, when Jesus sent them out to minister to the populace, He instructed them to take few provisions. “Then Jesus asked them, ‘When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?’ ‘Nothing,’ they answered. He said to them, ‘But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one’” (Luke 22:35-36).

What’s more, 25 percent of people who were assigned to the fasting group in the first part of this study dropped out, compared to 10 percent of those in the regular diet group. That suggests that fasting is hard and maybe not for everyone — even when you’re part of a study. So someone like John Kane, who lost a lot of weight through fasting and loves it, may be in the minority.


God uses fasting as a teaching tool on one of the annual holy days He commands us to keep. In Leviticus 23:27 God says “afflict your souls” on the Day of Atonement. The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary points out that afflicting your souls is a reference to fasting. So on this particular holy day God commands that His people forgo both food and water for 24 hours as a means of humbling themselves before Him, seeking Him and His will and guidance in life.
In addition to our attitudes towards God and our stance before man, our motives must also be correct. We should fast in order to further the building up of God’s kingdom by seeking to minister to others. The prophet Isaiah received from the Lord the acceptable motives for our fasts: “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter -- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” (Isaiah 58:6-7).
DU: The biggest benefit of fasting is disciplining us to focus on God long enough to be changed by Him. I have seen brothers and sisters who, after spending much time in God’s presence through prayer and fasting, have been significantly empowered to carry out God’s call on their lives. From a medical perspective, there are a significant number of credible studies showing that fasting substantially reduces the risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. I reviewed scientific literature on the health benefits of fasting going back up to 70 years, and what I found is that fasting improves our health span if it is done consistently and intermittently as a lifestyle.
You’ll eat lunch and dinner within a six-hour window, which gives you an 18-hour fast. Most people will have no problem intermittent fasting every day. Some women may need to do intermittent fasting every other day or a couple of times a week and build up from there. You can learn more about intermittent fasting and women here. The key is to experiment to see what works for you.

You also want to avoid the counting calories and calorie restriction fallacies. Most people fail to appreciate that there are many intricate biochemical dynamics that occur that are unaccounted for when you just count "calories in and calories out." While animals like rats can achieve a 40 percent increase in longevity through lifelong calorie restriction, such a great effect is not seen in humans, and there are good reasons for that. As pointed out by Fight Aging:14
Why try a plan with a high dropout rate and hours of hunger? Beyond the health benefits, some people actually like it—and find it the easiest way to control their weight. Mark Mattson, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at the National Institute on Aging, has studied intermittent fasting since the 1990s and himself been on a plan for years. "Once you get used to it, it's not a big deal," he says. "You adapt." Other fans? Reportedly, trendsters from Beyonce to Silicon Valley techies; and Jimmy Kimmel has said he lost 25 pounds fasting too. So... should you experiment?
When you don’t eat any food for a set period of time each day, you do your body and your brain a whole lot of good. It makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint. For most of history, people weren’t eating three square meals a day, plus grazing on snacks. Instead, humans evolved in situations where there wasn’t much food, and they learned to thrive when fasting.[1] Nowadays, we don’t have to hunt for food (although hunting for your own meat isn’t a bad idea!). Rather, we spend most of our days in front of computers, and we eat whenever we want — even though our bodies aren’t adapted to this behavior.
Hi I'm happy that I was able to accomplish this 1st week...but I would honestly say that I feel tired and want to sleep.....I prayed and try to stay connected with my heavenly father, but honestly it is really hard when you are fasting alone and you still need to continue with a regular schedule...such as cooking for your children....go to work....and attend different activities that are required. Please pray for me so I can continue this fast but on another level, I need strength, motivation and continue with the main goal that is a closer and meaningful relationship with Him. :(
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.
In addition to its role in religion, fasting may be used to express social and political views, particularly as a gesture of protest or solidarity. The classic example of this approach was set by Mahatma Gandhi, who in the early 20th century conducted a fast in prison to atone for the violent excesses of those of his followers who did not practice his teaching of satyagraha (nonviolence) against British rule in India. Gandhi later often fasted in pursuit of similar objectives, including the removal of disabilities imposed by the government on the untouchables. Fasting has frequently been practiced to protest against war and what are considered social evils and injustices, as in the fasts of the American black comedian Dick Gregory from the 1960s in protest against the violation of civil rights of American Indians and against U.S. military activity in Southeast Asia. In 1981, 10 Irish nationalists died in a Belfast prison during a hunger strike conducted to urge recognition of themselves and their associates as political prisoners.
Many people who want to try IF choose the 16:8 method because it allows you to eat whatever you want for an 8-hour window and then fast for 16 hours. During the fasting period, you can drink water, tea, coffee, and even diet soda. The trick is to figure out what 8-hour eating window works best for you. Are you fine with skipping breakfast? Or do you work out in the morning and prefer to forgo dinner? Experiment with the eating and fasting intervals that work best for you. However, like all restrictive diets, there are some drawbacks. For one, drinking caffeinated drinks while fasting can disrupt your circadian rhythm, and therefore, your metabolism.
Yes, by cutting out an entire meal each day, you are consuming fewer calories per week – even if your two meals per day are slightly bigger than before. Overall, you’re still consuming fewer calories per day. This is highlighted in a recent JAMA study[b] in which both calorie restricted dieters and intermittent fasters lost similar amounts of weight over a year period.
You can eat out restriction-free five days a week on the Fast Diet. On fast days, however, the inflated portions at many restaurants may be a challenge, given that one serving of fries could possibly add up to your whole day's worth of calories. Choosing restaurants with disclosed calorie counts may take some guesswork out of ordering. Be prepared to stick to the diet plan while other friends are ordering freely.

Give your body time to adapt to fasting and under eating during the day. This adaptation process may take a few days or a couple weeks. The best part about this diet is that while you might feel slight hunger sensations at times there will be no junk/food cravings. Many people including myself find it easier to deal with a little intermittent hunger then to deal with sneaky food cravings. As well everyday you get to look forward to eating a very big and satisfying meal at night. This takes the grind out of dieting.
Among the Western religions, only Zoroastrianism prohibits fasting, because of its belief that such a form of asceticism will not aid in strengthening the faithful in their struggle against evil. The other Western religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—emphasize fasting during certain periods. Judaism, which developed many dietary laws and customs, observes several annual fast days, primarily on days of penitence (such as Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement) or mourning. Christianity, especially Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, has observed a 40-day fast period during Lent, a spring period of penitence before Easter, and during Advent, a penitential period before Christmas. Among Roman Catholics the observance has been modified since the Second Vatican Council (1962–65) to allow greater individual choice, with mandatory fasting only on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday during Lent. Protestant churches generally leave the decision to fast to individual church members. The month of Ramadan in Islam is a period of penitence and total fasting from dawn to dusk.
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.

Do you have a hunger for God? If we don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because we have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because we have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Our soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great. If we are full of what the world offers, then perhaps a fast might express, or even increase, our soul’s appetite for God. Between the dangers of self-denial and self-indulgence is the path of pleasant pain called fasting. [John Piper].
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I am not against people fasting in order to lose weight. Many people fast to lose weight or maintain their weight.What I am opposed to is making the losing of weight your primary goal in a season of spiritual fasting and prayer. To have weight loss as a goal makes your fasting a diet plan, not a time of genuine fasting and prayer. If losing weight is your purpose in fasting, you will be missing out on the full reason for fasting, and you likely will be concerned only with what you don't eat rather than with what you are led to pray.

So: The first two weeks of intermittent fasting will suck. “Like anything else, fasting becomes easier the more you do it,” Fung says. You’ll likely experience side effects (lack of concentration, irritability, headaches, maybe constipation), and you may feel hungry, but you shouldn’t feel weak, he adds. Learn how to cope with these and know that if you can power through the first 7-14 days, you’re golden.
Christian fasting is more than denying ourselves food or something else of the flesh - it's a sacrificial lifestyle before God. In Isaiah 58, we learn what a "true fast" is. It's not just a one-time act of humility and denial before God, it's a lifestyle of servant ministry to others. As Isaiah tells us, fasting encourages humility, loosens the chains of injustice, unties the chords of the yoke, frees the oppressed, feeds the hungry, provides for the poor, and clothes the naked. This concept of fasting isn't a one day thing - it's a lifestyle of servant living for God and others.
As an expression of lamentation and/or penitence, fasting nearly always is associated with weeping ( Judges 20:26 ; Esther 4:3 ; Psalm 69:10 ; Joel 2:12 ), confession ( 1 Sam 7:6 ; Dan 9:3 ), and the wearing of sackcloth ( 1 Kings 21:27 ; Neh 9:1 ; Esther 4:3 ; Psalm 69:10 ; Dan 9:3 ). In the New Testament Jesus chides the hypocritical Pharisees for disfiguring their faces when they fast ( Matt 6:16-18 ), a reference no doubt to the custom of smearing themselves with ashes. These objects and actions had no intrinsic penitential value but in a culture in which inner feelings were commonly displayed or even dramatized, when done sincerely they effectively communicated contrition. It became easy, however, for the outward exhibition of repentance to take the place of a genuine, inner attitude and thus become an act of hypocrisy.
To conduct the study, researchers divided the 150 individuals into three groups: a control group that wasn’t asked to change their diets; a group that followed the 5:2 diet; and a group that followed a more conventional diet of continuously restricting their calorie intake by 20 percent. During the first few months of the experiment, a nutritionist monitored the participants to make sure they adhered to the diets; the next few months saw the participants monitor their own diets.
And because you retain this muscle, your metabolism won’t drop the way it might with calorie-restricted weight loss. In fact, fasting actually boosts your metabolism, says Tinsley. “There’s a misconception that your metabolic rate will decrease if you’re not eating. If you’re fasting, your body views it as a mild stress, so research actually that shows your resting metabolism is actually higher after an overnight fast, and 16-24 hours is the window in which you see the largest increase in fat burn,” he explains.
If the better part of wisdom for you, in your health condition, is not to go without food, consider fasting from television, computer, social media, or some other regular enjoyment that would bend your heart toward greater enjoyment of Jesus. Paul even talks about married couples fasting from sex “for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer” (1 Corinthians 7:5).
Martin Luther, founder of the Lutheran Churches, held that fasting served to "kill and subdue the pride and lust of the flesh".[63] As such, the Lutheran churches often emphasized voluntary fasting over collective fasting, though certain liturgical seasons and holy days were times for communal fasting and abstinence.[64][65] Certain Lutheran communities advocate fasting during designated times such as Lent,[37][66] especially on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.[39][37][67][68] A Handbook for the Discipline of Lent delineates the following Lutheran fasting guidelines:[69]
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