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Fasting vs. Starvation

By: Ron Lagerquist

There is a vast difference between fasting and starving. During the absence of food, the body will systematically cleanse itself of everything except vital tissue. It continually readjusts to make minimum demands on reserves. Starvation will occur only when the body is forced to use vital tissue to survive.

Humans adapt amazingly well to lack of food. A. J. Carlson, Professor of Physiology, University of Chicago, states that a healthy, well-nourished man can live from 50 to 75 days without food, provided he is not exposed to harsh elements or emotional stress. There are numerous examples of water fasts over the 75-day mark. Granted, 75-day water fasts are unusual, but it shows that God has wonderfully created the body to be able to live for extended periods without food.

Human fat is valued at 3,500 calories per pound. Each extra pound of fat will supply enough calories for one day of hard physical labor. Ten pounds of fat are equal to 35,000 calories! This is equivalent to 35 pounds of fish or 192 pounds of carrots, good value for your fat. We carry around a supermarket of reserves, capable of sustaining us for many weeks.

All living things have the ability to survive harsh circumstances. Organisms are able to store nutrients in the fat, blood, bone marrow and other tissues. Camels are capable of storing fat and water in their humps; tadpoles abstain from eating when their legs are developing, subsisting on their tails, which are no longer needed. The Mexican Gila Monster stores up reserves in its tail when food is plentiful and can survive for six weeks when food is scarce. The marine iguana of the Galapagos Islands is named the Vegetarian Dragon because it lives on seaweed. It can abstain from food for over one hundred days. In the Western World, food is plentiful and often rich in calories. Unless involved in strenuous exercise or famine we do not have the opportunity to use up the excessive fat stores conveniently deposited around the expanding waistline.

Our body goes into a state of fasting while we sleep. With great patience, it waits until we start dozing off, and finally, in the sleep state, begins its miraculous work of cleansing. Breakfast is appropriately named, breaking a nightly fast with a morning meal. Upon awakening from this short fast, the tongue is coated, breath foul, skin puffy, and the mind foggy. These are all early symptoms of the body in a state of detoxification, short little holidays taken every night from a life of feasting. Bacon, eggs, a side order of pancakes, and a cup of coffee is a sure way of halting detoxification—of course, you feel instantly better, attributing it to a greasy breakfast.

One of the blessings you will experience later in a fast is effervescent energy when rising out of bed in the morning. No sleepy dirt or puffy eyes; your hair in perfect place. A breath sweet as the morning mist that flows over hills covered in spring flowers. Fasting, followed by a healthy diet, is the way of bringing about the birth of a new life.

Related Article: Protein and Fasting

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Thank you. Very helpful.
Great article, well written! I like the clarification between fasting and starvation-so few seem to understand this distinction. Really good & informative read.
I have been fasting for 40+ years. I'm currently on my 3rd 40 day fast. I have enjoyed many other extended fast of 7,14, 21 and 32 days. There is no substitute for fasting!
Timothy Green
Thank you for this article! I am on my second day of my first fast in my 29 years and it's reassuring and inspiring to have this information. Also it's great to understand why we feel the way we do in the morning.
Mike Dunay
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