Fasting is almost a four-letter word! F-A-S-T(ing)! It is an ancient ritual that is not practiced much in our culture. In ancient times, it was mainly a spiritual practice to draw one closer to their Creator and to practice self-denial. (Obesity was not much of a problem in the ancient world.)
Today, I want to review some physical benefits our bodies have to fasting. One of the major ones is to reduce our insulin levels. Insulin is a pro-growth hormone that slows our basic metabolic rate down and promotes fat storage in our liver and abdomen. Lower levels of insulin facilitate fat burning. (Who doesn’t want that?)
Chronic high levels of insulin can cause many problems we face in our society today. Insulin-resistant diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and is the result of long-standing elevated insulin levels.
Fasting also promotes elevated levels of human growth hormone, which improves fat burning and increases muscle mass. Fasting improves cellular repair through reducing oxidative stress. This can have several positive effects on our bodies to include better overall immune function.
Fasting also positively affects gene expression. This is an area of great possibilities, and we are really just now unraveling some of the secrets of our DNA.
Fasting, if practiced regularly, has been shown to increase basic metabolic rate from 3 to 14%. It has also been shown to decrease abdominal fat by 4 to 7%. The abdominal fat is particularly inflammatory.
As mentioned earlier, fasting decreases insulin. It has been shown to decrease it as much as 20 to 30%. This will improve insulin resistance and can lower the overall blood sugar by 3 to 6%. Fasting has been shown to improve blood pressure, lipids, and inflammatory markers as well.
So, as you can see, there are many benefits to fasting. There are also many ways to fast. I am not an advocate of fasting from everything. I think we can do harm to our bodies if we fast from liquids and get dehydrated. I am an advocate of fasting for 12 to 24 hours from anything with calories.
I must confess: it has been a while since I have fasted. But I am going to remedy that problem. I am going to start a new ten-day weight loss challenge this coming July. Part of the challenge will include a fast for 24 hours!
One of my main goals is to lead us into the practice of fasting. I also want to bring back fasting in my own life and use it to draw me closer to God. I believe fasting will improve our physical health and can also improve our spiritual health. I will be posting more details about the next ten-day challenge. It will be some time after the Fourth.
Wishing You an Amazing Life,
Dr. Curtis Brown