Any good books or web resources on fasting?
June 13, 2009 2:45 AM   Subscribe

I've had some success fasting. Initially this was for weight-loss but I also felt much better -- more energy, and my sinus problems went away. The trouble is that it's hard to do well. Do you know of any good books or web resources that explain fasting techniques? I'm not interested in "detox", whatever that is, and this seems to pollute web searches making it hard to find genuinely useful information. For me, this is more of an overall wellness thing.
posted by humblepigeon to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
It may not be exactly what you're looking for, as it's not exactly fasting, but you may have better luck searching for "calorie restriction diet", which has been in the news a bit lately.

Here's a NY Magazine article on it

Here's the website for The Calorie Restriction Society.

what the Mayo clinic says about it

(lots of helpful links at the bottom)
posted by triggerfinger at 3:18 AM on June 13, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks triggerfinger, that's interesting reading. You may be right -- maybe this is more what I'm thinking of.
posted by humblepigeon at 4:06 AM on June 13, 2009

or research intermittent fasting
ex: Eat today, tomorrow eat very little.
posted by glenno86 at 6:11 AM on June 13, 2009

For long term health, I'd also suggest intermittent fasting - basically going 24hours without eating, eating for 24, then skipping the next 24, ad infinitum. So you eat until 6:00pm (the cut-off time is arbitrary) then fast until the 6:00pm the next day, then resume until the following 6:00 pm, etc. Alternatively, you could just eat one meal a day, which also approximates this. There's a lot of evidence that these eating patterns create similar health benefits to CR without the constant hunger and nutritional and dietary vigilance. You can't "fast fast" for more than a week or two, but you could follow this intermittent pattern forever. I have no idea, though, if it would give you the same energy boost and reduction in sinus problems as a total fast, but the studies suggest solid health benefits overall.
posted by Auden at 6:46 AM on June 13, 2009

Try Googling "calorie restriction with optimal nutrition." Lots of info out there.
posted by torquemaniac at 7:10 AM on June 13, 2009

The Tao of Health, Sex, and Longevity: A Modern Practical Guide to the Ancient Way (Fireside Books (Fireside)) (Paperback)

humblepigeon, I heartily recommend this book. It covers fasting and many other topics. I am a real cynic - a friend leant me this book after I was suffering stress related crappyness/bat diet etc- this is a great book.
posted by mattoxic at 8:27 AM on June 13, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks everybody. I've been given "food" for thought! Ha!

While searching I found this:

It's a diet called QOD which is one day fasting, one day eating normally. I'm not sure it's for me, but what's interesting is the rules governing the fast day. The author of the diet (an MD) points out that it's important to get potassium, sodium, and protein on the fast day. To this end he recommends tomato juice and whey powder.

This might be some of the missing links I've been looking for in my fasting experiments. For what it's worth my most successful technique is to eat one high-protein meal a day, and fast the rest of the day. I lost about 20lb this way so far, but it's erratic and some days are much harder than others.

One thing I didn't mention in the original question was that I combine my fasting experiments with the Shagri-La Diet, which helps stave off hunger.
posted by humblepigeon at 9:50 AM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: That'll be Shangri-La Diet.
posted by humblepigeon at 9:51 AM on June 13, 2009

Find a doctor who's not selling a book and consult them before starting any program. You'll need to be very careful about getting the nutrition that you need if you decide to radically alter your diet.

To the best of my knowledge, caloric restriction diets have shown some promise in mouse models, but have never been tested on humans or other primates. Read up on the topic, using primary literature, not self-help websites.

Overall, just make sure that you're basing your decisions on sound science, not on dubious anecdotal stories.
posted by chrisamiller at 10:48 AM on June 13, 2009

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