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Fasting is the willful refrainment from
eating Eating (also known as consuming) is the ingestion Ingestion is the consumption of a substance by an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any individual contiguous syste ...

eating
and sometimes
drinking Drinking is the act of or other s into the body through the , , or elsewhere. Humans drink by , completed by in the . The physiological processes of drinking vary widely among other . Most animals to maintain , although many can survive on t ...

drinking
(see
Water fasting Water fasting is a type of fasting Fasting is the willful refrainment from eating and sometimes drinking (see Water fasting and Juice fasting). From a purely physiology, physiological context, "fasting" may refer to the metabolism, metabolic stat ...
and Juice fasting). From a purely
physiological Physiology (; ) is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. ...
context, "fasting" may refer to the
metabolic Metabolism (, from el, μεταβολή ''metabolē'', "change") is the set of life Life is a characteristic that distinguishes physical entities that have biological processes, such as Cell signaling, signaling and self-sustaining ...

metabolic
status of a person who has not eaten overnight (see the "
Breakfast Breakfast is the first meal of the day eaten after waking up, usually in the morning. The word in English refers to breaking the fasting period of the previous night.Anderson, Heather Arndt (2013)''Breakfast: A History'' AltaMira Press. There ...

Breakfast
"), or to the metabolic state achieved after complete
digestion Digestion is the breakdown of large insoluble food Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional Nutrition is the biochemical Biochemistry or biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes within and relating to liv ...
and
absorption Absorption may refer to: Chemistry and biology *Absorption (chemistry), diffusion of particles of gas or liquid into liquid or solid materials *Absorption (skin), a route by which substances enter the body through the skin *Absorption (pharmacolo ...
of a
meal A meal is an eating Eating (also known as consuming) is the ingestion Ingestion is the consumption of a substance by an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any in ...

meal
. Several metabolic adjustments occur during fasting. Some
diagnostic test A medical test is a medical procedure performed to detect, diagnose, or monitor diseases, disease processes, susceptibility, or to determine a course of treatment. Medical tests such as, physical and visual exams, diagnostic imaging, genetic ...
s are used to determine a fasting state. For example, a person is assumed to be fasting once 8–12 hours have elapsed since the last meal. Metabolic changes of the fasting state begin after absorption of a meal (typically 3–5 hours after eating). A
diagnostic fast Hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar, is a fall in blood sugar The blood sugar level, blood sugar concentration, or blood glucose level is the concentration of glucose Glucose is a simple sugar with the Chemical formula#Molecular formul ...
refers to prolonged fasting from 1 to 100 hours (depending on age) conducted under observation to facilitate the investigation of a health complication, usually
hypoglycemia Hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar, is a fall in blood sugar The blood sugar level, blood sugar concentration, or blood glucose level is the concentration of glucose present in the blood of humans and other animals. Glucose is a simpl ...

hypoglycemia
. Many people may also fast as part of a medical procedure or a check-up, such as preceding a
colonoscopy Colonoscopy () or coloscopy () is the endoscopic examination of the large bowel and the distal Standard anatomical terms of location deal unambiguously with the anatomy of animals, including humans. Terms used generally derive from Latin or Gr ...
or
surgery Surgery ''cheirourgikē'' (composed of χείρ, "hand", and ἔργον, "work"), via la, chirurgiae, meaning "hand work". is a medical or dental specialty that uses operative manual and instrumental techniques on a person to investigate or t ...
, or prior to certain medical tests.
Intermittent fasting Intermittent fasting, also known as intermittent energy restriction, is any of various meal timing schedules that cycle between voluntary fasting (or reduced calorie intake) and non-fasting over a given period. Methods of intermittent fasting inc ...

Intermittent fasting
is a technique sometimes used for
weight loss Weight loss, in the context of medicine, health, or physical fitness Physical fitness is a state of health Health, according to the World Health Organization, is "a state of complete physical, Mental health, mental and social well-bein ...

weight loss
that incorporates regular fasting into a person's dietary schedule. Fasting may also be part of a
religious ritual A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, actions, or objects, performed in a sequestered place and according to a set sequence. Rituals may be prescribed by the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitu ...
, often associated with specifically scheduled fast days, as determined by the religion.


Health effects

Fasting may have differing results on health in different circumstances. In an effort to understand whether loss of appetite (
anorexia Anorexia nervosa, often referred to simply as anorexia, is an eating disorder, characterized by underweight, low weight, Calorie restriction, food restriction, fear of gaining weight and a strong desire to be thin. Many people with anorexia see ...
) during illness was protective or detrimental, researchers in the laboratory of Ruslan Medzhitov at
Yale School of Medicine The Yale School of Medicine is the graduate medical school A medical school is a tertiary educational institution, or part of such an institution, that teaches medicine, and awards a professional degree for physicians and surgeons. Such medica ...
gave
carbohydrate A carbohydrate () is a biomolecule , showing alpha helices, represented by ribbons. This poten was the first to have its suckture solved by X-ray crystallography by Max Perutz and Sir John Cowdery Kendrew in 1958, for which they received a ...
to mice with bacterial or viral illness, or alternatively deprived them of carbohydrate. They found that with bacterial
sepsis Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body's response to infection An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction ...
, carbohydrate was detrimental. But with viral sepsis or
influenza Influenza, commonly known as "the flu", is an infectious disease An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host (biology), ...

influenza
, nutritional supplementation with carbohydrate was beneficial, decreasing mortality, whereas denying glucose to the mice, or blocking its metabolism, was lethal. The researchers put forth hypotheses to explain the findings, and called for more research in humans in order to find out whether our bodies react similarly, depending on whether an illness is bacterial or viral.


Medical application

Fasting is always practised prior to surgery or other procedures that require
general anesthesia General anaesthesia or general anesthesia (see American and British English spelling differences, spelling differences) is a medically induced coma with loss of protective reflexes, resulting from the administration of one or more general anaest ...
because of the risk of
pulmonary aspiration Pulmonary aspiration is the entry of material such as pharyngeal secretions, food or drink, or stomach contents from the oropharynx The pharynx (plural: pharynges) is the part of the throat behind the mouth and nasal cavity The nasal cavity ...
of gastric contents after induction of anesthesia (i.e., vomiting and inhaling the vomit, causing life-threatening
aspiration pneumonia Aspiration pneumonia is a type of pneumonia, lung infection that is due to a relatively large amount of material from the stomach or mouth entering the lungs. Signs and symptoms often include fever and cough of relatively rapid onset. Complication ...
). Additionally, certain medical tests, such as
cholesterol Cholesterol is any of a class of certain organic compound, organic molecules. A cholesterol is a sterol (or chemical modification, modified steroid), a type of lipid. Cholesterol is biosynthesis, biosynthesized by all animal Cell (biology)#Euk ...

cholesterol
testing (
lipid panel Lipid profile or ''lipid panel'' is a Test panel, panel of blood tests that serves as an initial screening tool for abnormalities in lipids, such as cholesterol and triglycerides. The results of this test can identify certain Inborn error of lipid ...
) or certain
blood glucose The blood sugar level, blood sugar concentration, or blood glucose level is the concentration of glucose present in the blood of humans and other animals. Glucose is a simple sugar, and approximately 4 g of glucose are present in the blood of a 70 ...
measurements require fasting for several hours so that a baseline can be established. In the case of a lipid panel, failure to fast for a full 12 hours (including vitamins) will guarantee an elevated
triglyceride A triglyceride (TG, triacylglycerol, TAG, or triacylglyceride) is an ester An ester is a derived from an (organic or inorganic) in which at least one –OH group is replaced by an –O– () group, as in the substitution reaction of a an ...

triglyceride
measurement.


Mental health

In one review, fasting improved
alertness Alertness is the state of active attention Attention is the behavioral and cognitive process Cognition () refers to "the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses". It enco ...
, mood, and subjective feelings of well-being, possibly improving overall symptoms of
depression Depression may refer to: Mental health * Depression (mood), a state of low mood and aversion to activity * Mood disorders characterized by depression are commonly referred to as simply ''depression'', including: ** Dysthymia ** Major depressive ...
, and boost cognitive performance.


Weight loss

Fasting for periods shorter than 24 hours (intermittent fasting) has been shown to be effective for
weight loss Weight loss, in the context of medicine, health, or physical fitness Physical fitness is a state of health Health, according to the World Health Organization, is "a state of complete physical, Mental health, mental and social well-bein ...

weight loss
in obese and healthy adults and to maintain lean body mass.


Complications

In rare occurrences, fasting can lead to the potentially fatal refeeding syndrome upon reinstatement of food intake due to
electrolyte imbalance Electrolyte imbalance, or water-electrolyte imbalance, is an abnormality in the concentration of electrolytes An electrolyte is a substance that produces an electrically conducting solution when dissolved in a polar solvent, such as water. The di ...
.


Historical medical studies

Fasting was historically studied on population under famine and hunger strikes, which led to the alternative name of "starvation diet", as a diet with 0 calories intake per day.


Other effects

It has been argued that fasting makes one more appreciative of
food Food is any substance consumed to provide Nutrient, nutritional support for an organism. Food is usually of plant, animal or Fungus, fungal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, protein (nutrient), proteins, vi ...

food
, and possibly
drink A drink (or beverage) is a liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics or more generally continuum mechanics, incompressible flow (isochoric process, isochoric flow) refers to a fluid flow, flow in which the material den ...

drink
.


Political application

Fasting is often used as a tool to make a political statement, to
protest File:Demonstration in front of the headquarters of the Spanish National Police in Barcelona.png, Demonstration in front of the headquarters of the Spanish National Police in Barcelona during the 2017 Catalan general strike against 2017 Ca ...

protest
, or to bring awareness to a cause. A
hunger strike A hunger strike is a method of non-violent resistance 250px, A "No NATO" protester in Chicago, 2012 Nonviolent resistance (NVR), or nonviolent action, is the practice of achieving goal A goal is an idea of the future or desired result ...

hunger strike
is a method of
non-violent resistance 250px, A "No NATO" protester in Chicago, 2012 Nonviolent resistance (NVR), or nonviolent action, is the practice of achieving goal A goal is an idea of the future or desired result that a person or a group of people envision, Planning, plan ...
in which participants fast as an act of political protest, or to provoke feelings of guilt, or to achieve a goal such as a policy change. A ''spiritual fast'' incorporates personal spiritual beliefs with the desire to express personal principles, sometimes in the context of a social injustice.Garcia, M. (2007) ''The Gospel of Cesar Chavez: My Faith in Action'' Sheed & Ward Publishing p. 103 The political leader
Gandhi Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (; 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was an Indian lawyer, anti-colonial nationalist, Quote: "... marks Gandhi as a hybrid cosmopolitan figure who transformed ... anti-colonial nationalist politics in the t ...

Gandhi
undertook several long fasts as political and social protests. Gandhi's fasts had a significant impact on the
British Raj The British Raj (; from ''rāj'', literally, "rule" in Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the In ...

British Raj
and the
Indian Indian or Indians refers to people or things related to India, or to the indigenous people of the Americas, or Aboriginal Australians until the 19th century. People South Asia * Indian people, people of Indian nationality, or people who come ...
population generally. In Northern Ireland in 1981, a prisoner,
Bobby Sands Robert Gerard Sands ( ga, Roibeárd Gearóid Ó Seachnasaigh; 9 March 19545 May 1981) was a member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army The Irish Republican Army (IRA; ), also known as the Provisional Irish Republican Army, and informal ...
, was part of the
1981 Irish hunger strike The 1981 hunger strike was the culmination of a five-year protest during The Troubles The Troubles ( ga, Na Trioblóidí) were an ethno-nationalist Ethnic nationalism, also known as ethnonationalism, is a form of nationalism N ...
, protesting for better rights in prison. Sands had just been elected to the British Parliament and died after 66 days of not eating. His funeral was attended by 100,000 people and the strike ended only after nine other men died. In all, ten men survived without food for 46 to 73 days.
César Chávez César Estrada Chávez (; also March 31, 1927 – April 23, 1993) was an American labor leader and civil rights Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' political freedom, freedom from infringement by gov ...

César Chávez
undertook a number of spiritual fasts, including a 25-day fast in 1968 promoting the principle of nonviolence, and a fast of 'thanksgiving and hope' to prepare for pre-arranged civil disobedience by farm workers.Shaw, R. (2008)''Beyond the Fields: Cesar Chavez, the UFW, and the struggle for justice in the 21st century'' University of California Press, p.92 Chávez regarded a spiritual fast as "a personal spiritual transformation". Other progressive campaigns have adopted the tactic.


Religious views

Fasting is practiced in various religions. Examples include
Lent Lent (Latin: ''Quadragesima'', 'Fortieth') is a Solemnity, solemn religious moveable feast#Lent, observance in the Christian liturgical calendar commemorating the Temptation of Jesus, 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert, according to the ...

Lent
in
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...

Christianity
;
Yom Kippur Yom Kippur (; he, יוֹם כִּיפּוּר, Yōm Kīpūr, , ; plural , ) is the holiest day of the year in Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semi ...
,
Tisha B'av Tisha B'Av ( he, תִּשְׁעָה בְּאָב ''Tīšʿā Bəʾāv''; , "the ninth of Av") is an annual fast day in Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamis ...
,
Fast of Esther The Fast of Esther (', he, תַּעֲנִית אֶסְתֵּר) is a fast from dawn Dawn is the time that marks the beginning of twilight File:Twilight-dawn subcategories.svg, 300px, Morning twilight: astronomical, nautical and civil stage ...
, Tzom Gedalia, the Seventeenth of Tamuz, and the
Tenth of Tevet Tenth of Tevet ( he, עשרה בטבת, ''Asarah BeTevet''), the tenth day of the Hebrew calendar, Hebrew month of Tevet, is a Taanit, fast day in Judaism. It is one of the minor fasting, fasts observed from before dawn to nightfall. The fasti ...
in
Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an organized religion ...
.
Muslims Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", ...
refrain from eating, drinking and sex during the entire daytime for one month,
Ramadan * fa, رمضان, Ramazān * hi, रमज़ान, Ramzān * ku, ڕەمەزان, Remezan * ps, روژه, Rozha * so, Rabadaan or Rabmadaan * tr, Ramazan * ur, رمضان, Ramzān * diq, Remezan * sq, Ramazani , type = islam , longty ...

Ramadan
, every year. Details of fasting practices differ.
Eastern Orthodox Christians The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a Communion ( ...
fast during specified fasting seasons of the year, which include not only the better-known
Great Lent Great Lent, or the Great Fast, (Greek Language, Greek: Μεγάλη Τεσσαρακοστή or Μεγάλη Νηστεία, meaning "Great 40 Days," and "Great Fast," respectively) is the most important fasting season in the church year in the ...
, but also fasts on every Wednesday and Friday (except on special holidays), together with extended fasting periods before Christmas (the
Nativity Fast In Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious ...
), after Easter (the Apostles Fast) and in early August (the Dormition Fast). Members of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often informally known as the LDS Church or Mormon Church, is a nontrinitarian Nontrinitarianism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism ...
(
Mormon Mormons are a religious Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion. Different re ...
s) generally abstain from food and drink for two consecutive meals in a 24-hour period on the first Sunday of each month. Like Muslims, they refrain from all drinking and eating unless they are children or are physically unable to fast. Fasting is also a feature of
ascetic Asceticism (; from the el, ἄσκησις ''áskesis'', "exercise, training") is a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from sensual pleasures, often for the purpose of pursuing spiritual goals. Ascetics may withdraw from the world for their ...

ascetic
traditions in religions such as
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent. These religions, which include Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, ...

Hinduism
and
Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and ...

Buddhism
.
Mahayana Mahāyāna (; "Great Vehicle") is a term for a broad group of Buddhism, Buddhist traditions, Buddhist texts#Mahāyāna texts, texts, Buddhist philosophy, philosophies, and practices. Mahāyāna Buddhism developed in India (c. 1st century BCE on ...
traditions that follow the Brahma's Net Sutra may recommend that the laity fast "during the six days of fasting each month and the three months of fasting each year". Members of the
Baháʼí Faith The Baháʼí Faith (; fa , بهائی ') is a new religion teaching the essential worth of all religions and the unity of all people. Established by Baháʼu'lláh Baháʼu'lláh (12 November 1817 – 29 May 1892) was a Persian ...
observe a
Nineteen Day Fast The Nineteen-Day Fast is a nineteen-day period of the year during which members of the Baháʼí Faith The Baháʼí Faith (; fa , بهائی ') is a new religion teaching the essential worth of all religions and the unity of all people. ...
from sunrise to sunset during March each year.


Baháʼí Faith

In the
Baháʼí Faith The Baháʼí Faith (; fa , بهائی ') is a new religion teaching the essential worth of all religions and the unity of all people. Established by Baháʼu'lláh Baháʼu'lláh (12 November 1817 – 29 May 1892) was a Persian ...
, fasting is observed from sunrise to sunset during the Baháʼí month of 'Ala' ( 1 or 2 March – 19 or 20 March). established the guidelines in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. It is the complete abstaining from both food and drink during daylight hours (including abstaining from smoking). Consumption of prescribed medications is not restricted. Observing the fast is an individual obligation and is binding on Baháʼís between 15 years (considered the age of maturity) and 70 years old. Exceptions to fasting include individuals younger than 15 or older than 70; those suffering illness; women who are pregnant, nursing, or menstruating; travellers who meet specific criteria; individuals whose profession involves heavy labor and those who are very sick, where fasting would be considered dangerous. For those involved in heavy labor, they are advised to eat in private and generally to have simpler or smaller meals than are normal. Along with obligatory prayer, it is one of the greatest obligations of a Baháʼí. In the first half of the 20th century,
Shoghi Effendi Shoghí Effendí (; 1 March 1897 – 4 November 1957) was the grandson and successor of ʻAbdu'l-Bahá, appointed to the role of Guardian of the Baháʼí Faith from 1921 until his death in 1957. Shoghi Effendi created a series of teaching ...
, explains: "It is essentially a period of meditation and prayer, of spiritual recuperation, during which the believer must strive to make the necessary readjustments in his inner life, and to refresh and reinvigorate the spiritual forces latent in his soul. Its significance and purpose are, therefore, fundamentally spiritual in character. Fasting is symbolic, and a reminder of abstinence from selfish and carnal desires."


Buddhism

Buddhist Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, an ...

Buddhist
monks and nuns following the
Vinaya The Vinaya (Pali Pali () is a Middle Indo-Aryan liturgical language native to the Indian subcontinent. It is widely studied because it is the language of the ''Pāli Canon The Pāli Canon is the standard collection of scripture ...

Vinaya
rules commonly do not eat each day after the noon meal. This is not considered a fast but rather a disciplined regimen aiding in meditation and good health. Fasting is practiced by lay Buddhists during times of intensive meditation, such as during a retreat. During periods of fasting, followers completely stay away from eating animal products, although they do allow consumption of milk. Furthermore, they also avoid eating processed foods and the five pungent foods which are: garlic (''
Allium sativum Garlic (''Allium sativum'') is a species of bulbous flowering plant in the genus ''Allium''. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, Allium fistulosum, Welsh onion and Allium chinense, Chinese onion. It is native to Central ...
''), welsh onion (''
Allium fistulosum ''Allium fistulosum'', the Welsh onion, also commonly called bunching onion, long green onion, Japanese bunching onion, and spring onion, is a species of perennial plant A perennial plant or simply perennial is a that lives more than ...
''), wild garlic (''
Allium oleraceum ''Allium oleraceum'', the field garlic, is a Eurasian species of wild onion. It is a bulbous perennial that grows wild in dry places, reaching in height. It reproduces by seed, bulbs and by the production of small bulblets in the flower head (s ...

Allium oleraceum
''),
garlic chive ''Allium tuberosum'' (garlic chives, Oriental garlic, Asian chives, Chinese chives, Chinese leek) is a species of plant native to the Chinese province of Shanxi Shanxi (; Postal romanization, formerly romanised as Shansi) is a landlocked Pr ...
s (''
Allium tuberosum ''Allium tuberosum'' (garlic chives, Oriental garlic, Asian chives, Chinese chives, Chinese leek) is a species of plant native to the Chinese province of Shanxi Shanxi (; ; Chinese postal romanization, formerly romanised as Shansi) is a landlo ...

Allium tuberosum
''), and
asafoetida Asafoetida (; also spelled asafetida) is the dried latex LaTeX ( or , often stylized as LaTeX) is a software system for document preparation. When writing, the writer uses plain text as opposed to the formatted text found in WYSIWYG, "What Y ...

asafoetida
("asant", ''Ferula asafoetida''). The
Middle Path The Middle Way ( pi, ; sa, ) as well as "teaching the Dhamma by the middle" (''majjhena dhammaṃ deseti'') are common Buddhism, Buddhist terms used to refer to two major aspects of the Dhamma, that is, the teaching of the Gautama Buddha, Bud ...
refers to avoiding extremes of indulgence on the one hand and self-mortification on the other. Prior to attaining Buddhahood, prince practiced a short regime of strict austerity and following years of serenity meditation under two teachers which he consumed very little food. These austerities with five other ascetics did not lead to progress in meditation, liberation (moksha), or the ultimate goal of nirvana. Henceforth, prince Siddhartha practiced moderation in eating which he later advocated for his disciples. However, on
Uposatha The Uposatha ( sa, Upavasatha) is a Buddhist Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, belie ...
days (roughly once a week) lay Buddhists are instructed to observe the
eight precepts In Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the Major religious groups#Largest religions, world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions ...
which includes refraining from eating after noon until the following morning. The eight precepts closely resemble the ten vinaya precepts for novice monks and nuns. The novice precepts are the same with an added prohibition against handling money. The
Vajrayana Vajrayāna (Sanskrit: "thunderbolt vehicle" or "diamond vehicle") along with Mantrayāna, Guhyamantrayāna, Tantrayāna, Secret Mantra, Tantric Buddhism, and Esoteric Buddhism are names referring to Buddhist Buddhism (, ) is the world ...
practice of Nyung Ne is based on the tantric practice of . It is said that Chenrezig appeared to an Indian nun who had contracted
leprosy Leprosy, also known as Hansen's disease (HD), is a long-term Long-Term Capital Management L.P. (LTCM) was a hedge fund''A financial History of the United States Volume II: 1970–2001'', Jerry W. Markham, Chapter 5: "Bank Consolidation", M. E. ...

leprosy
and was on the verge of death. Chenrezig taught her the method of Nyung Ne in which one keeps the eight precepts on the first day, then refrains from both food and water on the second. Although seemingly against the Middle Way, this practice is to experience the negative karma of both oneself and all other sentient beings and, as such is seen to be of benefit. Other self-inflicted harm is discouraged.


Christianity

Fasting is a practice in several
Christian denomination A Christian denomination is a distinct religious Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a rel ...
s and is done both collectively during certain seasons of the
liturgical calendar The liturgical year, also known as the church year or Christian year, as well as the kalendar, consists of the cycle of liturgical Liturgy is the customary public worship Worship is an act of religion, religious wikt:devotion, devotion u ...
, or individually as a believer feels led by the
Holy Spirit In Abrahamic religions, the Holy Spirit is an aspect or agent of God in Abrahamic religions, God, by means of which God communicates with people or acts on them. In Judaism, it refers to the divine force, quality, and influence of God over the ...

Holy Spirit
; many Christians also fast before receiving Holy Communion (this is known as the Eucharistic Fast). In
Western Christianity Western Christianity is one of two sub-divisions of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings ...
, the
Lenten Lent (Latin: ''Quadragesima'', 'Fortieth') is a solemn religious moveable feast#Lent, observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later; depending on the Christian denomination a ...
fast is observed by many communicants of the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic Church
,
Lutheran Church Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an , based on the and of . It is the , with about 2.5 billion followers. Its adherents, known as , make up a major ...

Lutheran Church
es,
Reformed Church Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the theological tradition and forms of Christianity, Christian practice set ...

Reformed Church
es,
Anglican Communion The Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also called the Holy Communion or Lord's Supper), the Christian rite involving the eating of bread and drinking of wine, re ...
, and the Western Orthodox Churches and is a forty-day partial fast to commemorate the fast observed by
Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew/Aramaic ( AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ, is the central figure of Christianity, the Major religious groups, world's largest ...

Christ
during his temptation in the desert. While some Western Christians observe the Lenten fast in its entirety,
Ash Wednesday Ash Wednesday is a Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' an ...

Ash Wednesday
and
Good Friday Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary. It is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum. It is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, Great and Holy Friday (also Holy ...
are nowadays emphasized by Western Christian denominations as the normative days of fasting within the Lenten season. In the traditional Black Fast, the observant abstains from food for a whole day until the evening, and at sunset, traditionally breaks the fast. In
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
and
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
, many Christians continue to observe the Black Fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, with some fasting in this manner throughout the whole season of Lent. After attending a worship service (often on Wednesday evenings), it is common for Christians of various denominations often break that day's Lenten fast together through a communal Lenten supper, which is held in the church's . Partial fasting within the
Ethiopian Orthodox Church The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church ( am, የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያን, ''Yäityop'ya ortodoks täwahedo bétäkrestyan'') is the largest of Eastern Christianity Eastern Christianity compri ...
, abstaining from meat and milk, takes place during certain times of the year and lasts for weeks.


Roman Catholicism

For
Catholics The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholics
, fasting, taken as a technical term, is the reduction of one's intake of food to one full meal (which may not contain meat on
Ash Wednesday Ash Wednesday is a Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' an ...

Ash Wednesday
,
Good Friday Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary. It is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum. It is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, Great and Holy Friday (also Holy ...
, and Fridays throughout the entire year unless a solemnity should fall on Friday) and two small meals (known liturgically as collations, taken in the morning and the evening), both of which together should not equal the large meal. Eating solid food between meals is not permitted. Fasting is required of the faithful between the ages of 18 and 59 on specified days. Complete abstinence of
meat Meat is animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals Heterotroph, consume organic material, Cellular respiratio ...

meat
for the day is required of those 14 and older. Partial
abstinence Abstinence is a self-enforced restraint from indulging in bodily activities that are widely experienced as giving pleasure Pleasure refers to experience that feels good, that involves the enjoyment of something. It contrasts with pain or suffe ...
prescribes that meat be taken only once during the course of the day. Meat is understood not to include fish or cold-blooded animals.
Pope Pius XII Pope Pius XII ( it, Pio XII), born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli (; 2 March 18769 October 1958), was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the , with 1.3 billion C ...
had initially relaxed some of the regulations concerning fasting in 1956. In 1966,
Pope Paul VI Pope Paul VI ( la, Paulus VI; it, Paolo VI; born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini, ; 26 September 18976 August 1978) was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the ...
in his apostolic constitution '' Paenitemini'', changed the strictly regulated Catholic fasting requirements. He recommended that fasting be appropriate to the local economic situation, and that all Catholics voluntarily fast and abstain. In the United States, there are only two obligatory days of fast – Ash Wednesday and
Good Friday Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary. It is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum. It is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, Great and Holy Friday (also Holy ...
; though not under the pain of mortal sin, fasting on all forty days of Lent is "strongly recommended". The Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence: eating meat is not allowed. Pastoral teachings since 1966 have urged voluntary fasting during Lent and voluntary abstinence on the other Fridays of the year. The regulations concerning such activities do not apply when the ability to work or the health of a person would be negatively affected.


Sedevacantist Roman Catholicism

The fasting practices of the Sedevacantist Roman Catholic community (who are not in communion with the Holy See) differ from contemporary practices of the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic Church
. The Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen (CMRI), a Sedavacantist Roman Catholic religious congregation, requires fasting for its members on all of the forty days of the Christian season of repentance,
Lent Lent (Latin: ''Quadragesima'', 'Fortieth') is a Solemnity, solemn religious moveable feast#Lent, observance in the Christian liturgical calendar commemorating the Temptation of Jesus, 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert, according to the ...

Lent
(except on the Lord's Day). Fasting is also compulsory on the Ember days and the Vigil (liturgy), Vigils of Pentecost Day, Immaculate Conception Day and Christmas Day. Abstinence from meat is practiced on all Fridays of the year, Ash Wednesday, Holy Saturday and the Vigils of Christmas Day and Immaculate Conception Day, as well as on Ember days and the Vigil of Pentecost Sunday. The Eucharistic Fast, for members of the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen, CMRI, means fasting from food and alcohol three hours prior to receiving Holy Communion, and though not obligatory, "Catholics are urged to observe the eucharistic fast from midnight" prior to communing.


Anglicanism

The Book of Common Prayer prescribes certain days as days for fasting and abstinence, "consisting of the 40 days of Lent, the ember days, the three Rogation days (the Monday to Wednesday following the Sunday after Ascension Day), and all Fridays in the year (except Christmas, if it falls on a Friday)":
A Table of the Vigils, Fasts, and Days of Abstinence, to be Observed in the Year. :The eves (vigils) before: ::The Christmas, Nativity of our Lord. ::The Ritual purification, Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. ::The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin. ::Easter Day. ::Ascension of Jesus, Ascension Day. ::Pentecost. ::St. Matthias. ::John the Baptist, St. John Baptist. ::St. Peter. ::James, son of Zebedee, St. James. ::St. Bartholomew. ::Saint Matthew, St. Matthew. ::St. Simon and St. Jude. ::St. Andrew. ::Thomas the Apostle, St. Thomas. ::All Saints' Day. :Note: if any of these Feast-Days fall upon a Monday, then the Vigil or Fast-Day shall be kept upon the Saturday, and not upon the Sunday next before it. :Days of Fasting, or Abstinence. ::I. The Forty Days of
Lent Lent (Latin: ''Quadragesima'', 'Fortieth') is a Solemnity, solemn religious moveable feast#Lent, observance in the Christian liturgical calendar commemorating the Temptation of Jesus, 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert, according to the ...

Lent
. ::II. The Ember Days, Ember-Days at the Four Seasons, being the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after the First Sunday in Lent, the Feast of Pentecost, September 14, and December 13. ::III. The Three Rogation Days, being the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, before Holy Thursday, or the Ascension of our Lord. ::IV. All the Fridays in the Year, except Christmas Day.
Saint Augustine's Prayer Book defines "Fasting, usually meaning not more than a light breakfast, one full meal, and one half meal, on the forty days of Lent." Abstinence, according to Saint Augustine's Prayer Book, "means to refrain from some particular type of food or drink. One traditional expression of abstinence is to avoid meat on Fridays in Lent or through the entire year, except in the seasons of Christmas and Easter. It is common to undertake some particular act of abstinence during the entire season of Lent. This self-discipline may be helpful at other times, as an act of solidarity with those who are in need or as a bodily expression of prayer." In the process of revising the Book of Common Prayer in various provinces of the
Anglican Communion The Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also called the Holy Communion or Lord's Supper), the Christian rite involving the eating of bread and drinking of wine, re ...
the specification of abstinence or fast for certain days has been retained. Generally Lent and Fridays are set aside, though Fridays during Christmastide and Eastertide are sometimes avoided. Often the Ember days or Rogation days are also specified, and the eves (vigils) of certain feasts. In addition to these days of fasting, Anglicans also observe the Eucharistic Fast. Saint Augustine's Prayer Book states that the Eucharistic Fast is a "strict fast from both food and drink from midnight" that is done "in order to receive the Blessed Sacrament as the first food of the day" in "homage to our Lord". It implores Anglicans to fast for some hours before the Midnight Mass of Christmas Eve, the first liturgy of Christmastide. From the execution of Charles I, the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, on 30 January 1649, until it was repealed in the Anniversary Days Observance Act 1859, the church included January 30 as a fast day to commemorate his becoming King Charles the Martyr. The Society of King Charles the Martyr, an Anglo-Catholicism, Anglican Catholicism group, continues to observe January 30 as the Feast Day of St Charles.


Eastern Orthodoxy

Eastern Orthodox Christians are required to fast on Wednesdays (in memory of Jesus' betrayal on Spy Wednesday) and Fridays (in memory of Jesus' crucifixion on Good Friday), which means not consuming food until evening (sundown). The supper that is eaten after the fast is broken in the evening must not include shellfish.Concerning Fasting on Wednesday and Friday
''Orthodox Christian Information Center''. Accessed 2010-10-08.
Additionally, Orthodox Christians abstain from sexual relations on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year, as with the entirety of Lent, the
Nativity Fast In Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious ...
and the fifteen days before the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. For Eastern Orthodox Christians, fasting is an important spiritual discipline, found in both the Old Testament and the New, and is tied to the principle in Eastern Orthodox theology, Orthodox theology of the synergy between the Human body, body (Greek: ''soma'') and the Soul (spirit), soul (''pneuma''). That is to say, Orthodox Christians do not see a dichotomy between the body and the soul but rather consider them as a united whole, and they believe that what happens to one affects the other (this is known as the ''psychosomatic union'' between the body and the soul). Saint Gregory Palamas argued that man's body is not an enemy but a partner and collaborator with the soul. Christ, by taking a human body at the Incarnation (Christianity), Incarnation, has made the flesh an inexhaustible source of sanctification. This same concept is also found in the much earlier homilies of Saint Macarius the Great. Fasting can take up a significant portion of the calendar year. The purpose of fasting is not to suffer, but according to Sacred Tradition to guard against gluttony and impure thoughts, deeds and words. Fasting must always be accompanied by increased prayer and almsgiving (donating to a local charity, or directly to the poor, depending on circumstances). To engage in fasting without them is considered useless or even spiritually harmful. To repent of one's sins and to reach out in love to others is part and parcel of true fasting.


= Fast days

= There are four fasting seasons, which include: *
Great Lent Great Lent, or the Great Fast, (Greek Language, Greek: Μεγάλη Τεσσαρακοστή or Μεγάλη Νηστεία, meaning "Great 40 Days," and "Great Fast," respectively) is the most important fasting season in the church year in the ...
(40 days) and Holy Week (seven days) *
Nativity Fast In Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious ...
(40 days) * Apostles' Fast (variable length) * Dormition Fast (two weeks) Wednesdays and Fridays are also fast days throughout the year (with the exception of fast-free periods). In some Orthodox monastery, monasteries, Mondays are also observed as fast days (Mondays are dedicated to the angels, and monasticism is called the "angelic life"). Other days occur which are always observed as fast days: * The ''paramony'' or Eve of Christmas Eve, Christmas and of Epiphany (holiday), Theophany (Epiphany) * Beheading of John the Baptist * Exaltation of the Cross


= Rules

= Fasting during these times includes abstention from: * meat, fish, eggs and milk products * sometimes oil (interpreted variously as abstention from olive oil only, or as abstention from all cooking oils in general), and * red wine (which is often interpreted as including all wine or alcoholic beverages) * sexual activity (where fasting is pre-communion) When a feast day occurs on a fast day, the fast is often mitigated (lessened) to some degree (though meat and dairy are never consumed on any fast day). For example, the Feast of the Annunciation almost always occurs within the Great Lent in the Orthodox calendar: in this case fish (traditionally haddock fried in olive oil) is the main meal of the day. There are two degrees of mitigation: allowance of wine and oil; and allowance of fish, wine and oil. The very young and very old, nursing mothers, the infirm, as well as those for whom fasting could endanger their health somehow, are exempt from the strictest fasting rules. On weekdays of the first week of Great Lent, fasting is particularly severe, and many observe it by abstaining from all food for some period of time. According to strict observance, on the first five days (Monday through Friday) there are only two meals eaten, one on Wednesday and the other on Friday, both after the Presanctified Liturgy. Those who are unable to follow the strict observance may eat on Tuesday and Thursday (but not, if possible, on Monday) in the evening after Vespers, when they may take bread and water, or perhaps tea or fruit juice, but not a cooked meal. The same strict abstention is observed during Holy Week, except that a vegan meal with wine and oil is allowed on Great Thursday. On Wednesday and Friday of the first week of Great Lent the meals which are taken consist of xerophagy (literally, "dry eating") i.e. boiled or raw vegetables, fruit, and nuts. In a number of monasteries, and in the homes of more devout laypeople, xerophagy is observed on every weekday (Monday through Friday) of Great Lent, except when wine and oil are allowed. Those desiring to receive Holy Communion keep a total fast from all food and drink from midnight the night before (see Eucharistic discipline).


= Fast-free days

= During certain festal times the rules of fasting are done away with entirely, and everyone in the church is encouraged to feast with due moderation, even on Wednesday and Friday. Fast-free days are as follows: * Bright Week – the period from Easter, Pascha (Easter Sunday) through Thomas Sunday (the Sunday after Pascha), inclusive. * The Afterfeast of Pentecost – the period from Pentecost Sunday until the Sunday of All Saints' Day, All Saints, inclusive. * The period from the Christmas, Nativity of the Lord until (but not including) the eve of the Theophany (Epiphany). * The day of Epiphany (holiday), Theophany.


Methodism

In Methodism, fasting is considered one of the Works of Piety. "The General Rules of the Methodist Church," written by the founder of Methodism, John Wesley, wrote that "It is expected of all who desire to continue in these societies that they should continue to evidence their desire of salvation, by attending upon all the ordinances of God, such are: the public worship of God; the ministry of the Word, either read or expounded; the Supper of the Lord; family and private prayer; searching the Scriptures; and fasting or abstinence." The Directions Given to Band Societies (25 December 1744) mandated for Methodists Friday Fast, fasting and abstinence from meat on all Fridays of the year, a practice that was reemphasized by Phoebe Palmer and became standard in the Methodist churches of the holiness movement. Additionally, the ''Discipline'' of the Wesleyan Methodist Church (Great Britain), Wesleyan Methodist Church required Methodists to fast on "the first Friday after New Year's Day, New-Year's-day; after Lady Day, Lady-day; after Midsummer, Midsummer-day; and after Michaelmas, Michaelmas-day." Historically, Methodist clergy are required to fast on Wednesdays, in remembrance of the betrayal of Christ, and on Fridays, in remembrance of His crucifixion and death. Wesley himself also fasted before receiving Holy Communion "for the purpose of focusing his attention on God," and asked other Methodist Christians to do the same. In accordance with Scripture and the teachings of the Church Fathers, fasting in Methodism is done "from morning until evening"; John Wesley kept a more rigorous Friday Fast, fasting from sundown (on Thursday) until sundown (on Friday) in accordance with the liturgical definition of a day. Sermons on Several Occasions, Wesley's sermons regarding the Sermon on the Mount also stressed the importance of the
Lent Lent (Latin: ''Quadragesima'', 'Fortieth') is a Solemnity, solemn religious moveable feast#Lent, observance in the Christian liturgical calendar commemorating the Temptation of Jesus, 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert, according to the ...

Lent
en fast. The United Methodist Church therefore states that:
Good Friday Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary. It is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum. It is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, Great and Holy Friday (also Holy ...
, which is towards the end of the Lenten season, is traditionally an important day of communal fasting for Methodists. Rev. Jacqui King, the minister of Nu Faith Community United Methodist Church in Houston explained the philosophy of fasting during Lent as "I'm not skipping a meal because in place of that meal I'm actually dining with God".


Oriental Orthodox

All Oriental Orthodox churches practice fasting; however, the rules of each church differ. All churches require fasting before one receives Holy Communion. All churches practice fasting on most Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year as well as observing many other days. Monks and nuns also observe additional fast days not required of the laity. The Armenian Apostolic Church (with the exception of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem) has followed the Gregorian Calendar since 1923, making it and the Finnish Orthodox Church (an Eastern Orthodox church) the only Orthodox churches to primarily celebrate Easter on the same date as
Western Christianity Western Christianity is one of two sub-divisions of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings ...
. As a result, the Armenian church's observation of
Lent Lent (Latin: ''Quadragesima'', 'Fortieth') is a Solemnity, solemn religious moveable feast#Lent, observance in the Christian liturgical calendar commemorating the Temptation of Jesus, 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert, according to the ...

Lent
generally begins and ends before that of other Orthodox churches.


Lutheran

Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformation, Reformer, held that fasting served to "kill and subdue the pride and lust of the flesh". As such, the Lutheran churches often emphasized voluntary fasting over collective fasting, though certain liturgical seasons and holy days were times for communal fasting and abstinence. Certain Lutheran communities advocate fasting during designated times such as Lent, especially on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. ''A Handbook for the Discipline of Lent'' delineates the following Lutheran fasting guidelines: It is also considered to be an appropriate physical preparation for partaking of the Eucharist in the Lutheran Church, Eucharist, but fasting is not necessary for receiving the sacrament. Martin Luther wrote in his Luther's Small Catechism, Small Catechism "Fasting and bodily preparation are certainly fine outward training, but a person who has faith in these words, 'given for you' and 'shed for you for the forgiveness of sin' is really worthy and well prepared."


Reformed

John Calvin, the figurehead of the Reformed tradition (the Continental Reformed, Congregational Churches, Congregational, Presbyterian, and Anglican Churches) held that communal fasts "would help assuage the wrath of God, thus combating the ravages of plague, famine and war." In addition, individual fasting was beneficial in that "in preparing the individual privately for prayer, as well as promoting humility, the confession of guilt, gratitude for God's grace and, of course, discipling lust." As such, many of the churches in the Reformed tradition retained the Lenten fast in its entirety. The Reformed Church in America describes the first day of Lent,
Ash Wednesday Ash Wednesday is a Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' an ...

Ash Wednesday
, as a day "focused on prayer, fasting, and repentance" and considers fasting a focus of the whole Lenten season, as demonstrated in the "Invitation to Observe a Lenten Discipline", found in the Reformed liturgy for the Ash Wednesday service, which is read by the presider:
Good Friday Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary. It is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum. It is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, Great and Holy Friday (also Holy ...
, which is towards the end of the Lenten season, is traditionally an important day of communal fasting for adherents of the Reformed faith. In addition, within the Puritan/Congregational church, Congregational tradition of Reformed Christianity, special days of humiliation and thanksgiving "in response to dire agricultural and meteororological conditions, ecclesiastsical, military, political, and social crises" are set apart for communal fasting. In more recent years, many churches affected by liturgical renewal movements have begun to encourage fasting as part of
Lent Lent (Latin: ''Quadragesima'', 'Fortieth') is a Solemnity, solemn religious moveable feast#Lent, observance in the Christian liturgical calendar commemorating the Temptation of Jesus, 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert, according to the ...

Lent
and sometimes Advent, two penitential seasons of the liturgical year. Members of the Anabaptist movement generally fast in private. The practice is not regulated by ecclesiastic authority.


Moravian

Members of the Moravian Church voluntarily fast during the season of Lent, along with making a Lenten sacrifice for the season as a form of penitence.


Pentecostalism

Classical Pentecostalism does not have set days of abstinence and lent, but individuals in the movement may feel they are being directed by the Holy Spirit to undertake either short or extended fasts. Although Pentecostalism has not classified different types of fasting, certain writers within the movement have done so. Arthur Wallis writes about the "Normal Fast" in which pure water alone is consumed.Wallis, Arthur, God's Chosen Fast, Christian Literature Crusade (June 1986) The "Black Fast" in which nothing, not even water, is consumed is also mentioned. Dr. Curtis Ward points out that undertaking a black fast beyond three days may lead to dehydration, may irreparably damage the kidneys, and result in possible death. He further notes that nowhere in the New Testament is it recorded that anyone ever undertook a black fast beyond three days and that one should follow this biblical guideline. In addition to the normal fast and black fast, some undertake what is referred to as the Daniel Fast (or Partial Fast) in which only one type of food (e.g., fruit or fruit and non-starchy vegetables) is consumed. In a Daniel, outlined in Daniel 10:2-3 in the Bible, "In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all until three whole weeks were fulfilled." In some circles of Pentecostals, the term "fast" is simply used, and the decision to drink water is determined on an individual basis.


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), fasting is total abstinence from food and drink accompanied by prayer. Members are encouraged to fast on the first Sunday of each month, designated as Fast Sunday. During Fast Sunday, members abstain from food and drink for two consecutive meals in a 24-hour period; this is usually Sunday breakfast and lunch, thus the fasting occurs between the evening meal on Saturday and the evening meal on Sunday. The money saved by not having to purchase and prepare meals is donated to the church as a fast offering, which is then used to help people in need. Members are encouraged to donate more than just the minimal amount, and be as generous as possible. Gordon B. Hinckley stated: "Think ... of what would happen if the principles of fast day and the fast offering were observed throughout the world. The hungry would be fed, the naked clothed, the homeless sheltered. ... A new measure of concern and unselfishness would grow in the hearts of people everywhere." Fasting and the associated donations for use in assisting those in need, are an important principle as evidenced by church leaders addresses on the subject during General Conference (LDS Church), general conferences of the church. Sunday worship meetings on Fast Sunday include opportunities for church members to publicly bear Religious testimony, testimony of their belief in Jesus Christ and church doctrine during the sacrament meeting portion, often referred to as fast and testimony meeting. Fasting is also encouraged for members any time they desire to grow closer to God and to exercise self-mastery of spirit over body. Members may also implement personal, family, or group fasts any time they desire to solicit special blessings from God, including health or comfort for themselves or others.


Daniel Fast

The Book of Daniel (1:2-20, and 10:2-3) refers to a 10- or 21-day avoidance of foods (Daniel Fast) declared unclean by God in the laws of Moses. In modern versions of the Daniel Fast, food choices may be limited to whole grains, fruits, vegetables, pulses, nuts, seeds and oil. The Daniel Fast resembles the vegan diet in that it excludes foods of animal origin. The passages strongly suggest that the Daniel Fast will promote good health and mental performance.


Hinduism

Fasting is an optional part of the Hindu, Hinduism. Individuals observe different kinds of fasts based on personal beliefs and local customs. Some Hindus fast on certain days of the month such as Ekadasi, Pradosha vrata, Pradosha, or Pornima, Purnima. Certain days of the week are also set aside for fasting depending on personal belief and favorite deity. For example, devotees of Shiva tend to fast on Mondays, while devotees of Vishnu tend to fast on Thursdays and devotees of Ayyappa tend to fast on Saturdays. Tuesday fasting is common in southern India as well as northwestern India. In the south, it is believed that Tuesday is dedicated to Goddess Mariamman, a form of Goddess Shakti. Devotees eat before sunrise and drink only liquids between sunrise and sunset. Only liquids between a prescribed period, like water fasting, is half fasting. In the North, Tuesday and Saturday are dedicated to Lord Hanuman and devotees are allowed only to consume milk and fruit between sunrise and sunset. Thursday fasting is common among the Hindus of northern
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
. On Thursdays, devotees listen to a narrative, story before opening their fast. On the Thursday fasters also worship Vrihaspati Mahadeva. They wear yellow clothes, and meals with yellow colour are preferred. Women worship the banana tree and water it. Food items are made with yellow-coloured ghee. Thursday is also dedicated to Guru and many Hindus who follow a guru will fast on this day. Fasting during religious festivals is also very common. Common examples are Maha Shivaratri (Most people conduct a strict fast on Maha Shivratri, not even consuming a drop of water ), or the nine days of Navratri (which occurs twice a year in the months of April and October/November during Vijayadashami just before Diwali, as per the Hindu calendar). Karwa Chauth is a form of fasting practised in some parts of India where married women undertake a fast for the well-being, prosperity, and longevity of their husbands. The fast is broken after the wife views the moon through a sieve. In the fifth month (Shravan Maas) of the Hindu calendar, many celebrate Shraavana. During this time some will fast on the day of the week that is reserved for worship of their chosen god(s), while others will fast during the entire month. In the state of Andhra Pradesh, the month of Kartik (month), which begins with the day after Deepavali is often a period of frequent (though not necessarily continuous) fasting for some people, especially women. Common occasions for fasting during this month include Mondays for Lord Shiva, the full-moon day of Karthika and the occasion of Naagula Chaviti. Methods of fasting also vary widely and cover a broad spectrum. If followed strictly, the person fasting does not partake any food or water from the previous day's sunset until 48 minutes after the following day's sunrise. Fasting can also mean limiting oneself to one meal during the day, abstaining from eating certain food types or eating only certain food types. In any case, the fasting person is not supposed to eat or even touch any animal products (i.e., meat, eggs) except dairy products.For Many Hindu communities during fasting, starchy items such as Potatoes, Sago and Sweet potatoes, purple-red sweet potatoes, amaranth seeds, Nut (fruit), nuts and shama millet are allowed. Popular fasting dishes in western part of India include Farari chevdo, Sabudana Khichadi or peanut soup. In Shri Vidya, one is forbidden to fast because the Devi is within them, and starving would in return starve the god. The only exception in Srividya for fasting is on the anniversary of the day one's parents died. Mahabharata: Anushasana Parva (Book 13) Yudhishthira asks Bhishma, "what constitutes the highest penances?" Bheeshma states (in section 103) " ....there is no penance that is superior to abstention from food! In this connection is recited the ancient narrative of the discourse between Bhagiratha and the illustrious Brahman (the Grandsire of the Creation). Bhagiratha says, The vow of fast was known to Indra. He kept it a secret but USANAS first made it known to the universe. Bhagiratha says, "In my opinion, there is no penance higher than fast." Bhagiratha did many sacrifices and gave gifts and says "the present that flowed from me were as copious as the stream of the Ganga herself.(but ..) it is not through the merits of these acts that I have attained this region." Bhagiratha observed the vow of fasting and reached "the region of Brahman". Bheeshma advises Yudhishthira, "Do thou practice this vow (of fasting) of very superior merit that is not known to all." In section 109, of the same book, Yudhishthira asks Bheesma "what is the highest, most beneficial" and fruitful "of all kinds of fasts in the world". Bheeshma says "fasting on the 12th day of the lunar month" and worship Krishna, for the whole year. Krishna is worshipped in twelve forms as Kesava, Narayana, Madhava, Govinda, Vishnu, the slayer of Madhu, who covered the universe in three steps, the dwarf (who beguiled Mahabali), Sridhara, Hrishikesha, Padmanabha, Damodara, Pundhariksha. and Upendra. After fasting, one must feed a number of brahmans. Bheeshma says " the illustrious Vishnu, that ancient being, has himself said that there is no fast that possesses merit superior to what attach to fast of this kind." In section 106, of the same book, Yudhishthira says, "the disposition (of observing fasts) is seen in all orders of men including the very Mlechchhas..... What is the fruit that is earned in this world by the man that observes fasts?" Bheeshma replies that he had asked Angiras "the very same question that thou has asked me today." The illustrious Angiras says Brahmans and kshatriya should fast for three nights at a stretch is the maximum. A person who fasts on the eight and fourteenth day of the dark fortnight "becomes freed from maladies of all kinds and possessed of great energy." Fasting for one meal every day during a lunar month gets various wikt:boon, boons according to the month in which he fasts. For example, fasting for one meal every day during Margashirsha, "acquires great wealth and corn".


Vaishnavism

In some specific periods of time (like Chaturmas, Caturmasya or Ekadashi fasting) it is said that one who fasts on these days and properly doing spiritual practice on these days like associating with devotees -sangha, chanting holy names of Hari (Vishnu, Narayana, Rama, Krishna) and similar (shravanam, kirtanam vishno) may be delivered from sins.


Islam

In Islam, fasting requires abstinence from food, drink, drugs (including nicotine) and sexual intercourse. However, there is also a broader sense of fasting which includes abstaining from any falsehood in speech and action, abstaining from any ignorant and indecent speech, and from arguing and fighting. Therefore, fasting strengthens control of impulses and helps develop good behavior. During the sacred month of Ramadan, believers strive to purify body and soul and increase their ''taqwa'' (good deeds and God-consciousness). This purification of body and soul harmonizes the inner and outer spheres of an individual. Muslims aim to improve their body by reducing food intake and maintaining a healthier lifestyle. Overindulgence in food is discouraged and eating only enough to silence the pain of hunger is encouraged. Muslims believe they should be active, tending to all their commitments and never falling short of any duty. On a moral level, believers strive to attain the most virtuous characteristics and apply them to their daily situations. They try to show compassion, generosity and mercy to others, exercise patience, and control their anger. In essence, Muslims are trying to improve what they believe to be good moral character and habits.


Ramadan

Fasting is obligatory for every Muslim one month in the year, during
Ramadan * fa, رمضان, Ramazān * hi, रमज़ान, Ramzān * ku, ڕەمەزان, Remezan * ps, روژه, Rozha * so, Rabadaan or Rabmadaan * tr, Ramazan * ur, رمضان, Ramzān * diq, Remezan * sq, Ramazani , type = islam , longty ...

Ramadan
. Each day, the fast begins at dawn and ends at sunset. During this time Muslims are asked to remember those who are less fortunate than themselves as well as bringing them closer to God. Non obligatory fasts are two days a week as well as the middle of the month, as recommended by the Prophet Muhammad. Although fasting at Ramadan is ''fard'' (obligatory), exceptions are made for persons in particular circumstances. Muslims are encouraged to fast optionally outside of Ramadan as well, as a way of asking forgiveness from or showing gratitude to God in Islam, God and in many other days.


Ashura

Ashura is the Islamic counterpart to the Jewish fast of
Yom Kippur Yom Kippur (; he, יוֹם כִּיפּוּר, Yōm Kīpūr, , ; plural , ) is the holiest day of the year in Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semi ...
, to thank God for saving Moses and the Jewish people from Egypt. It is also encouraged to fast the day before, or the day after, or all three days. The same day also marks the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali and his family. Although, it is not obligatory but many Sunni and Shia Muslims both fast on this day.Emmanuel Sivan. "Sunni Radicalism in the Middle East and the Iranian Revolution". ''International Journal of Middle East Studies'', Vol.21, No.1. (February 1989), pp.1–30Sahih Bukhari Book31 Hadith 222, Book55 Hadith609, and Book58 Hadith279

Sahih Muslim Book 6 Hadith 2518, 2519, 252

/ref>Javed Ahmad Ghamidi. Mizan,
The Fast
'', Al-Mawrid


Shawwal

Some Muslim, Muslims observe fasting during any six days of Shawwal. The reasoning behind this tradition is that a good deed in Islam is rewarded 10 times, hence fasting 30 days during Ramadan and 6 days during Shawwāl is equivalent to fasting the whole year in fulfillment of the obligation.


Arafah

Fasting on the day of Arafah for non-pilgrims is a highly recommended Sunnah which entails a great reward; Allah forgives the sins of two years. Imam An-Nawawi mentioned in his book al-Majmu’, “With regard to the ruling on this matter, Al-Shafi‘i, Imam As-Shafi’i and his companions said: It is mustahabb (recommended) to fast on the day of Arafah for the one who is not in Arafah. Those who are not performing their hajj may observe fasting to gain the merits of the blessed day.


Dhu al-Hijjah

During the first nine days of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah, i.e. the nine days before Eid al-Adha, and from these especially on Day of Arafah and day before Eid al-Adha.


Ayyam al-Bid

''Ayyam al-Bīḍ'' or "The White Days", the three days of the full moon. These fall on the 13th, 14th, and 15th of each Islamic month. Fasting in this style results in 32 optional fasts in a lunar year, as fasting in Ramadan is mandatory and it is forbidden to fast on the 13th of Dhu al-Hijjah.


Fast of Dawud

Fast of David in Islam, Dawud (David): fasting alternate days the whole year round. This style of fasting is attributed to the prophet Dawud. The discouragement of fasting on Friday alone without also fasting on either Thursday or Saturday is lifted for those fasting consistently in this style. It results in around 140 optional fasts in a lunar year, which is around 355 days long.


Monday and Thursday

* Fasting on Monday and Thursday every week. Fasting in this style results in around 90 optional fasts in a lunar year.


Forbidden days

Islam forbids fasting on certain days.


Jainism

Prior to undertaking a Jain fast, a person must make a vow, or a formal statement of intent.


Judaism

Fasting for Jews means completely abstaining from food and drink, including water. Traditionally observant Jews fast six days of the year. With the exception of Yom Kippur, fasting is never permitted on Shabbat, for the commandment of keeping Shabbat is biblically ordained and overrides the later rabbinically instituted fast days. (The minor fast of the
Tenth of Tevet Tenth of Tevet ( he, עשרה בטבת, ''Asarah BeTevet''), the tenth day of the Hebrew calendar, Hebrew month of Tevet, is a Taanit, fast day in Judaism. It is one of the minor fasting, fasts observed from before dawn to nightfall. The fasti ...
could also override the Shabbat, but the current calendar system prevents this from ever occurring.)
Yom Kippur Yom Kippur (; he, יוֹם כִּיפּוּר, Yōm Kīpūr, , ; plural , ) is the holiest day of the year in Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semi ...
is considered to be the most important day of the Jewish year-cycle and fasting as a means of repentance is expected of every Jewish man or woman above the age of bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah respectively. This is the only fast day mentioned in the Torah (Leviticus 23:26-32). It is so important to fast on this day, that only those who would be put in mortal danger by fasting are exempt, such as the ill or frail (endangering a life is against a core principle of Judaism). Those that do eat on this day are encouraged to eat as little as possible at a time and to avoid a full meal. For some, fasting on Yom Kippur is considered more important than the prayers of this holy day. If one fasts, even if one is at home in bed, one is considered as having participated in the full religious service. The second major day of fasting is Tisha B'Av, the day approximately 2500 years ago on which the Siege of Jerusalem (587 BC), Babylonians destroyed the first Holy Temple in Jerusalem, as well as on which the Siege of Jerusalem (70), Romans destroyed the second Holy Temple in Jerusalem about 2000 years ago, and later after the Bar Kokhba revolt when the Jews were banished from Jerusalem, the day of Tisha B'Av was the one allowed exception. Tisha B'Av ends a The Three Weeks, three-week mourning period beginning with the fast of the 17th of Tammuz. This is also the day when observant Jews remember the many tragedies which have befallen the Jewish people, including the Holocaust. Tisha B'Av and
Yom Kippur Yom Kippur (; he, יוֹם כִּיפּוּר, Yōm Kīpūr, , ; plural , ) is the holiest day of the year in Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semi ...
are the major fasts and are observed from sunset to the following day's dusk. The remaining four fasts are considered minor. Fasting is only observed from sunrise to dusk, and there is more leniency if the fast represents too much of a hardship to a sick or weak person, or pregnant or nursing woman. The four public but minor fast days are: * The Fast of Gedaliah on the day after Rosh Hashanah * The Fast of the Tenth of Tevet, 10th of Tevet * The Fast of the Seventeenth of Tammuz, 17th of Tammuz * The
Fast of Esther The Fast of Esther (', he, תַּעֲנִית אֶסְתֵּר) is a fast from dawn Dawn is the time that marks the beginning of twilight File:Twilight-dawn subcategories.svg, 300px, Morning twilight: astronomical, nautical and civil stage ...
, which takes place immediately before Purim There are other minor customary fast days, but these are not universally observed, and they include: * "Fast of Behav, Bahav," (literally an acronym for "Monday, Thursday, Monday") a Monday, Thursday, and the following Monday in the months Cheshvan and Iyar. * "Yom Kippur Katan," (literally "Little Yom Kippur") the day before every Rosh Chodesh, moved back to Thursday if that day is Saturday * The Fast of the Firstborn, on the day before Passover, which applies only to first-born sons; this obligation is usually avoided by participating in a ''siyum'' and Seudat mitzvah, ritual meal that takes precedence over fasting. It is an Ashkenazic tradition for a bride and groom to fast on their wedding day before the ceremony as the day represents a personal Yom Kippur. In some congregations, repentance prayers that are said on Yom Kippur service are included by the bride and groom in their private prayers before the wedding ceremony. Aside from these official days of fasting, Jews may take upon themselves personal or communal fasts, often to seek repentance in the face of tragedy or some impending calamity. For example, a fast is sometimes observed if a sefer torah is dropped. The length of the fast varies, and some Jews will reduce the length of the fast through tzedakah, or charitable acts. Mondays and Thursdays are considered especially auspicious days for fasting. Traditionally, one also fasted upon awakening from an unexpected bad dream although this tradition is rarely kept nowadays. In the time of the Talmud, drought seems to have been a particularly frequent inspiration for fasts. In modern times as well the Israeli Chief Rabbinate has occasionally declared fasts in periods of drought.


Pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica

Refraining from food and water with religious purposes has been practiced over the centuries by many Indigenous groups throughout Mesoamerica as part of ceremonial life. Most of the literature around this topic falls under the broader ethnological category of sacrifice, which has been studied broadly by scholars. Apart from refraining from ingesting food, fasting may involve restrictions such as drinking water or consuming food at specific times, and omitting salt or chile from all food. Sexual abstinence frequently accompanies fasting, and both practices may last periods as short as three days or as long as a year. The ritual expectations around fasting are conditioned by age, gender, kinship ties, social position, and specific ceremonial contexts. For example, sometimes these restrictions are required of persons before they assume ritual posts or perform specific ceremonial obligations. Fasting and sexual abstinence are often observed by all participants in certain rituals—such as those performed to bring rain for planting maize or to end a drought—by those departing on pilgrimages to sacred places, and among extended kinship networks during curing ceremonies. These practices may be necessary before people ingest ritual foods or other substances and before they handle ritual objects or religious images. In Mesoamerican cultures, human action is regarded as a necessary complement to divine and natural forces in order to achieve specific objectives, such as the beginning or cessation of annual rains, the productivity of a harvest, harmonious relations between the living and the dead, and fertility among humans and domestic animals. Catherine Good has argued that many Mesoamerican rituals are based on the concept of vital energy, which circulates among humans, the souls of the dead, elements of the natural world, sacred places, and ritual objects, including Roman Catholic saints. Consuming certain foods and plants, and abstaining from sexual relations enables humans to capture, control, and channel the flow of this energy to desired ends.


Sikhism

Sikhism does not regard fasting as a spiritual act. Fasting as an austerity or as a mortification of the body by means of wilful hunger is discouraged in Sikhism. Sikhism encourages temperance and moderation in food, i.e., neither starve nor over-eat. Sikhism does not promote fasting except for medical reasons. The Sikh Gurus discourage the devotee from engaging in this ritual as it "brings no spiritual benefit to the person". The Sikh holy Scripture, Sri Guru Granth Sahib tell us: "Fasting, daily rituals, and austere self-discipline – those who keep the practice of these, are rewarded with less than a shell." (Guru Granth Sahib Ang 216). If you keep fast, then do it a way so that you adopt the compassion, well being and ask for good will of everyone. "Let your mind be content, and be kind to all beings. In this way, your fast will be successful." (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 299) Serve God who alone is your Savior instead indulge into ritual, he is only one who will save you every where: "I do not keep fasts, nor do I observe the month of Ramadaan. I serve only the One, who will protect me in the end. , , 1, , " (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1136) If you keep fast, to count everyday pledge yourself you will act honest, sincere, controls your desires, mediate. This is a way how you make yourself free of five thieves: "On the ninth day(naomi) of the month, make a vow to speak the Truth, and your sexual desire, anger and desire shall be eaten up. On the tenth day, regulate your ten doors; on the eleventh day, know that the Lord is One. On the twelfth day, the five thieves are subdued, and then, O Nanak, the mind is pleased and appeased. Observe such a fast as this, O Pandit, O religious scholar; of what use are all the other teachings? , , 2, , " (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1245) Goal of Human is to meet the Lord-groom, so Guru Sahib Ji says: "One who discards this grain, is practicing hypocrisy. She is neither a happy soul-bride, nor a widow. Those who claim in this world that they live on milk alone, secretly eat whole loads of food. , , 3, , Without this grain, time does not pass in peace. Forsaking this grain, one does not meet the Lord of the World." (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 873) "Fasting on Ekadashi, adoration of Thakurs (stones) one remains away from Hari engaged in the Maya and omens. Without the Guru's word in the company of Saints one does not get refuge no matter how good one looks." (Bhai Gurdas Ji, Vaar 7)


Taoism

The ''bigu'' (辟谷 "avoiding grains") fasting practice originated as a Daoist technique for becoming a ''Xian (Taoism), xian'' (仙 "transcendent; immortal"), and later became a Traditional Chinese medicine cure for the ''sanshi'' (三尸 "Three Corpses; the malevolent, life-shortening spirits that supposedly reside in the human body"). Chinese interpretations of avoiding ''gu'' "grains; cereals" have varied historically; meanings range from not eating particular foodstuffs such as food grain, Five Cereals (China), or staple food to not eating anything such as inedia, breatharianism, or aerophagia.


Yoga

In Yoga principle, it is recommended that one maintains a spiritual fast on a particular day each week (Monday or Thursday). A fast should also be maintained on the full moon day of each month. It is essential on the spiritual fasting day not only to abstain from meals, but also to spend the whole day with a positive, spiritual attitude. On the fasting day, intake of solid food is avoided, with water taken as needed.


Japanese history

Japan has used fasting as punishment for meat consumption. Consumption of domesticated animals was banned by Emperor Tenmu in 675 A.D. from April to September due to Buddhist influences; however, wild game was exempt. Nevertheless, these laws were regularly flouted. According to the ''Engishiki'', in the Heian Period, fasts began to be used as punishment for the Buddhist sin of meat consumption, initially for 3 days. Eating meat other than seafood (defined here simply as "meat") was seen by Buddhist elite as a kind of spiritually corrupted practice. By the Kamakura Period, much stricter enforcement and punishments began, with an order from Ise Grand Shrine, Ise Shrine for a fast for 100 days for eating wild or domestic animals as defined above, while anyone who ate with someone who ate "meat" was required to fast for 21 days, and anyone who ate with someone who ate with someone who consumed "meat" was required to fast for 7 days.


In alternative medicine

Although practitioners of alternative medicine promote "Detoxification (alternative medicine), cleansing the body" through fasting, the concept of "detoxification“ is marketing myth with few scientific basis for its rationale or efficacy. During the early 20th century, fasting was promoted by alternative health writers such as Hereward Carrington, Edward H. Dewey, Bernarr Macfadden, Frank McCoy (author), Frank McCoy, Edward Earle Purinton, Upton Sinclair and Wallace Wattles.Griffith, R. Marie. (2000). ''Apostles of Abstinence: Fasting and Masculinity during the Progressive Era''. ''American Quarterly'' 52 (4): 599-638. All of these writers were either involved in the Orthopathy, natural hygiene or new thought movement. Arnold Ehret's pseudoscientific Mucusless Diet Healing System espoused fasting.Kuske, Terrence T. (1983)
''Quackery and Fad Diets''
. In Elaine B. Feldman. ''Nutrition in the Middle and Later Years''. John Wright & Sons. pp. 291-303.
Linda Hazzard, a notable quack doctor, put her patients on such strict fasts that some of them died of starvation. She was responsible for the death of more than 40 patients under her care. In 1911, Upton Sinclair authored ''The Fasting Cure'', which made sensational claims of fasting curing practically all diseases, including cancer, syphilis, and tuberculosis.Gratzer, Walter. (2005). ''Terrors of the Table: The Curious History of Nutrition''. Oxford University Press. p. 201. Sinclair has been described as "the most credulous of faddists" and his book is considered an example of quackery. In 1932, physician Morris Fishbein listed fasting as a fad diet and commented that "prolonged fasting is never necessary and invariably does harm". While alternative medicine may exaggerate the health benefits of fasting, several studies still show health benefits for animals and humans. Intermittent fasting may lead to improvements in obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers and neurological disorders. Researchers see the metabolic switch to ketogenesis triggered by fasting periods as one of the reasons for the health benefits.Rafael de Cabo, De Cabo R and Mark Mattson, Mattson MP: ''Effects of intermittent fasting on health, aging, and disease'' in New England Journal of Medicine, December 26, 2019


See also

* Angus Barbieri's fast * Anorexia mirabilis * Anorexia nervosa * Asceticism * Autophagy * Black Fast * Body fat * Break fast * Calorie restriction * Fasting in Jainism * Force-feeding * Fruitarianism * Gastroenteritis * Religious intolerance * Superstition#Superstition and psychology, Superstition * Hunger strike * Inedia *
Intermittent fasting Intermittent fasting, also known as intermittent energy restriction, is any of various meal timing schedules that cycle between voluntary fasting (or reduced calorie intake) and non-fasting over a given period. Methods of intermittent fasting inc ...

Intermittent fasting
* Juice fasting * List of diets * List of fasting advocates * List of ineffective cancer treatments * Overweight * Poustinia * Protein-sparing modified fast * Santhara * Simple living * Starvation * Starvation response * Taboo food and drink * Vegetarianism and religion * Weight loss


References


Further reading

* Francis Gano Benedict. (1915)
''A Study of Prolonged Fasting''
Carnegie Institution of Washington. * Joan Jacobs Brumberg. (1988). ''Fasting Girls: The Emergence of Anorexia Nervosa As a Modern Disease''. Harvard University Press. * Caroline Walker Bynum. (1987). ''Holy Feast and Holy Fast: The Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women''. University of California Press. * John Arthur Glaze. (1928). ''Psychological Effects of Fasting''. ''American Journal of Psychology'' 40 (2): 236–253. * A. M. Johnstone. (2007)
''Fasting – the ultimate diet?''
''Obesity Reviews'' 8 (3): 211–222. * Walter Vandereycken, Ron Van Deth. (2001). ''From Fasting Saints to Anorexic Girls: The History of Self-Starvation''. Bloomsbury Academic.


External links

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