Fasting  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Fasting is primarily the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. A fast may be total or partial concerning that from which one fasts, and may be prolonged or intermittent as to the period of fasting. Fasting practices may preclude sexual activity as well as food, in addition to refraining from eating certain types or groups of foods; for example, one might refrain from eating meat. A complete fast in its traditional definition is abstinence of all food and liquids.

In a medical context fasting may refer to (1) the metabolic status of a person who has not eaten overnight, and (2) to the metabolic state achieved after complete digestion and absorption of a meal. Several metabolic adjustments occur during fasting, and many medical diagnostic tests are standardized for fasting conditions. For most ordinary diagnostic purposes a person is assumed to be fasting after 8–12 hours. Many of the metabolic shifts of fasting begin as absorption of a meal is complete (typically 3–5 hours after a meal); "post-absorptive state" is synonymous with this usage, in contrast to the "post-prandial" state of ongoing digestion. A diagnostic fast refers to prolonged fasting (from 8–72 hours depending on age) conducted under medical observation for investigation of a problem, usually hypoglycemia. Finally, extended fasting has been recommended as therapy for various conditions by physicians of most cultures, throughout history, from ancient to modern.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Fasting" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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