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Saw this on wfaa.com this morning:

Fasting seen as tool for health, spirituality


The history of fasting goes back thousands of years to Hippocrates, Socrates, Plato.
Jesus did it for 40 days for spiritual renewal. Debbie Ragsdale of McKinney does it once a month, for about the same reason. "When we fast, we're supposed to be prayerful about it," explains Ragsdale. "Otherwise we say we're just starving ourselves." Far from starving, a growing number of studies show a periodic fast can do as much for the body as it does for religious beliefs. After years of being told to eat many small meals a day to rev up the metabolism, research shows giving it a one day rest, once a week or once a month -- may also be beneficial. Research shows depriving the body of food -- for 24 hours, drinking only water -- can give the heart arteries and pancreas a rest. "If you're able to fast all day long, except for water, and reduce your insulin secretion," says Baylor University Medical Center Dr. Brian Welch. "There may be some metabolic advantage to that as long as it's not followed by binge eating."
Dr. Welch, a practicing endocrinologist, says there's even evidence partial fasting can extend the lifespan, because eating less sends a message to the brain and cells to use energy more efficiently. Scientists have seen the proof in rat studies and in real life. A study recently presented to the American Heart Association looked at Mormons. The study showed Mormon's hearts are much healthier than the average American's -- and not just because their religion forbids smoking and drinking.
Gordon Wright, a Dallas attorney who also happens to be Mormon, has fasted regularly his whole life.
"The appetites that we typically have and just set them aside and focus on more spiritual things. It allows us to focus on things other than the body and the things that drive us day to day," he said.
And Wright says when the fast is over, he's suprisingly not ravenous or obsessing about food. That's because research also suggests that supressing insulin may also reduce the taste for sugar. Reducing sugar cravings can lead to weight loss over time.
Ragsdale also tries to eat healthy. Once a month, she and friends gather to cook and share a light, healthy lunch, as part of that endeavor. And, she never misses her monthly fast, for body and soul.
"I think it's a matter of you learn some self-control too," Ragsdale says.
Doctors say fasting more than a day at time breaks down muscles, instead of helping the body. And diabetics should talk with their physician before attempting even a one day fast.
E-mail: jstjames@wfaa.com

See the original post and video here.

1 comment:

  1. I saw this report on the news the other night. It was really interesting!

    Hey, I'm for a European cathedral-hopping trip this summer! I'm finishing the book today - only 100 pages to go! I don't just hate William, I loathe him. We need to get together sometime so I can vent about him!