Friday, August 01, 2008

Is fasting one day per week good for your health?

I received an email the other day that asked me to comment on a recent article about fasting and toxin removal.

Toxins and toxin removal are a fairly hot topic right now, and they are also something that I admittedly know very little about.

Truth be told, I would never consider myself an expert on the toxin removal side of fasting.

However, this particular article was attempting to use some scientific principles to prove that fasting for only one day is not beneficial, and that you need to fast for long periods of time to get a 'cleansing effect'.

So while I really don't understand the idea of "cleansing", I would like to comment on the scientific rational in this particular article.

Here are the basic arguments of this article:

1. Your body begins to eliminate large quantities of toxins only after it begins to burn your fat reserves at a rapid rate.

  • My Comment - We'll accept this is a fact for the purpose of this article. Keep in mind that I really do not know what toxins are, or if this statement is actually correct, but in order for me to comment on the actual science, we will accept this as true.
2. Your body only starts burning fat after the 2nd or 3rd day of a water-only fast.
  • My Comment - This is factually incorrect. Not only does your body start burning significantly more fat in the beginning hours of a fast, but the greatest change in fat burning happen during the first 18-24 hours of a fast.
  • Take this excerpt from a paper published in 1993 by Klein et al:

3. Therefore your body does not experience significant detoxification during the first 12-24 hors of a water-only fast.

  • My Comment- So Based on the previous rational this statement is also incorrect.
The bottom line is if the detoxification effects of fasting only happen when your fat burning is increased, then this definitely happens in the first 24 hours of a fast.


PS- If you are interested in learning the full scientific argument behind the benefits of fasting, and want to learn more about the clear-cut scientific proof that you do burn fat while you are fasting then I have some great information that I want to share with you.

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William said...

Hey Brad! It's good to hear someone speaking out and using science as opposed to just guess work.
I'm personally skeptical about 'cleansing' and 'toxins' and such nonsense.
I'd like to see someone define their use of the term 'toxin'.
What makes up a toxin?
How can you measure how much you have in you before a fast or 'cleanse'?
How can you measure how much you have left after a fast or 'cleanse'?
Isn't your body eliminating these toxins all the time?
Isn't that one of its jobs?
Why do you think it needs help from you? :)

Hope to hear more from you on this.

- Bill

Marcie Barnes said...

I think absolutely it is the body's job to remove toxins, but it needs "tools" in order to do so. In my mind, these are things like healthy (pure, natural) foods, (outdoor) exercise, and more stuff like human companionship and happiness. Someone who is not getting enough of any combination of the above will eventually get sick or worse, that's the way I look at it... :)~Marcie

Tom Parker said...

Hi Brad. Just found your blog via Rusty's Fitness Black Book and have enjoyed reading your posts.

I just have a quick question regarding this post. Do you fast yourself? It may just be me but your final recommendations were not that clear.

ben said...

dont understand what you dont undestands relating toxins:

Toxin is a substance that interfeare with the correct function of the body for instance outside hormones, moleculs that attach to a receptor mimiking a body ligand and interfere with signal transaction.