“Fasting alone is more powerful in preventing and reversing some diseases than drugs.” Dr. Satchin Panda from the Salk Institute in the US said this a few years ago in the context of a review article on the benefits of fasting . So, imagine if fasting and exercise could both be combined into a polypill…we could live longer and healthier lives anywhere in the world at pretty much minimal to no cost.
Fasting is an integral part of many religions. In Jainism for example, there are many different forms of fasting; from the daily chauvihar (eating only from sunrise to sunset) to the athai (8 days of fasting during the festival of paryushan), to more severe forms of fasting. Islam has one month of Ramadan/Ramzan, during which a large number of Muslims eat and drink nothing from dawn to dusk. In many forms of Hinduism, people fast during different days to appease multiple Gods and even monotheistic religions like Christianity and Judaism have their own forms of fasting.
Since one tenet of any religion has always been to help people live longer and healthier (both in mind and body), it is likely that the health benefits of fasting were evident even in the olden days, despite the absence of the kind of scientific data we look for today.
Intermittent fasting (InFa) is an umbrella term that incorporates alternate day fasting, the 5:2 method of fasting, in which we fast for 2 days a week and time-restricted eating (TRE), where the eating window is restricted to 6-12 hours daily.
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