Table of Contents > Alternative Modalities > Fasting Print



Related terms
Author information

Related Terms
  • Detox diet, detoxification.

  • Fasting is defined as the voluntary refusal of food for a predetermined period of time. Fasting has many proposed medicinal benefits, and it is also used in religious practices and political protest. Some fasting advocates claim that the food eaten in modern life continuously aggravates the internal environment of the body. Such constant irritation may manifest as lupus, arthritis, and other skin conditions.
  • Proponents of fasting believe that this therapy removes many toxins from the body. During fasting, the body undergoes changes, which allow it to cleanse and flush out these toxins.
  • Most people drink juice and/or supplemental teas during their fast, however juice may not be recommended during medical fasts. Some people only drink water during their fast.

Theory / Evidence
  • In fasting the body utilizes non-essential tissue (e.g., adipose (fat) tissue, digestive enzymes, muscle contractile fibers, and certain enzymes) for fuel. In naturopathic medicine it is regarded as a rapid method of eliminating wastes and enhancing the healing processes of the body. Fasting facilitates release of fat-soluble toxins that are held in adipose tissue
  • Despite a variety of books on the method and health benefits of fasting, there are currently no available clinical trials published or in progress to test such assertions.


Author information
  • This information has been edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (

  1. Barnard Fuhrman Joel, Barnard Neal D. Fasting and Eating for Health: A Medical Doctor's Program for Conquering Disease. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995.
  2. Bragg Patricia, Bragg Paul C. The Miracle of Fasting: Proven Throughout History for Physical, Mental & Spiritual Rejuvenation. Santa Barbarba: Bragg Health Sciences, 2004.

  • People usually prepare for a fast by eating a specialized diet before the fast begins. This diet usually includes specialized herbs, and a particular set of fruits and/or vegetables.
  • Fasting may last for a predetermined number of days, or it may proceed until particular symptoms of a medical condition disappear.
  • The end of the fast occurs when the patient eats a well planned out meal. This meal usually contains fruits and other very low fat foods.
  • The benefits of the fast are reported to continue for many weeks or months after the patient has returned to normal eating habits.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (

The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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