• Glenn Wilson

    For more than a century, fasting—up to 382 days without calories—has been used a weight-loss treatment.

    Dr. Greger: I talked about the benefits of calorie restriction. Well, the greatest caloric restriction is no calories at all. Fasting has been branded the “next big weight loss fad,” but has a long history throughout various spiritual traditions, practiced by Moses, Jesus, Muhammed, and Buddha. In 1732, a noted physician wrote, “He that eats till he is sick must fast till he is well.” Today, about one in seven American adults report taking that advice using some sort of fasting as a means to control body weight.

    Case reports of the treatment of obesity through fasting date back more than a century in the medical literature. In 1915, two Harvard docs indelicately described “two extraordinarily fat women,” one of whom was a “veritable pork barrel.” Their success led them to conclude that “moderate periods of starvation constitute a perfectly safe, harmless, and effective method for reducing the weight of those suffering from obesity.”

    The longest recorded fast, published in 1973, made it into the Guinness Book of World Records. To reach his ideal body weight, a 27-year-old man fasted for 382 days straight, losing 276 pounds and managed to keep nearly all of it off. He was given vitamin and mineral supplements, so he wouldn’t die, but no calories for more than a year. In their acknowledgements, the researchers thanked him for his “cheerful cooperation and steadfast application to the task of achieving a normal physique.”

    Continue at NutritionFacts: Benefits of Fasting for Weight Loss Put to the Test.

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