Friday, August 13, 2010

Fasting and Starvation

So let’s talk about the death journey. Scary? Yes, it is. Starvation is really scary, but not fasting.

Starvation induces death. Fasting will not.

But why is there the misconception? Let's clarify it.

Fasting Facts

First of all, let’s take a look at some of the fasting facts.

Health experts say that most healthy individuals have enough fat stored in the body to live without food for several weeks, as long as they keep themselves well hydrated and without emotional stress. Starvation only occurs when the body has exhausted its fat reserves and must use tissue from vital organs as a source of energy to survive.

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! Most of us have sufficient reserves, capable of sustaining us for many weeks.

From Fasting to Starvation

There is a huge difference between fasting and starvation.

Fasting is when there are foods around but we don’t eat for a period of time in order to achieve a certain health goal.

Starvation is when food is badly inadequately, people eating scraps of whatever is available or even dirt.

Here is an article describing the starvation death journey in details. I have summarized it for your quick reference.

The Death Journey of Starvation

Until water fasting goes on past the point where all fatty tissues and all abnormal deposits have been burned for fuel and recycled for the nutritional elements they contain, vital muscle tissues and organs are not consumed. And as long as the body contains sufficient nutritional reserves, vital organs and essential tissues are rebuilt and maintained. In fact the body has a great deal of intelligence in doing whatever possible in keeping us staying alive. It knows exactly which cells are essential to survival, which ones are not. The body knows which cells are abnormal deposits, and it goes to work to metabolize them first.

For example, the body recognizes arthritic deposits, cysts, fibroids, and tumors as offensive parts of the landscape, and obligingly uses them for foods in preference to anything else. A starving (not fasting) body also knows precisely in what order of priority body cells should be metabolized to minimize risk of death or permanent disability.

After a starving body has reached skeletal condition, or where some small amount of fat remains but nutritional reserves (vitamins and minerals) are exhausted and there is insufficient nourishment forthcoming, the body begins to consume nutrient-rich muscle and organ tissue in a last-ditch effort to stay alive. Under these dire circumstances, the least essential muscles and organs from the standpoint of survival are metabolized first. For example, muscles in the arms and legs would be consumed early in the process, the heart muscle used only toward the very end. The very last part of the body to be metabolized when one is starving and as has come very close to death would be the brain and the nervous system.

Starvation begins where fasting ends, which is when real hunger begins. If the return of hunger is ignored whenever it takes place, whether it is in 30, 60, or 90 days depending upon body weight and type of fast, at that point exactly, not a day before, starvation begins very slowly. Usually it takes a considerable period of time after that before death occurs. It is important to note that this discussion applies only to the abstention from food, not water. Death takes place very quickly in the absence of water.

So now, do you still find fasting scary? If we are talking about a 24-hour fast, there is practically nothing to do with starvation. However prolong fasting say beyond 60 days could be risky.

HEALTH WARNING: You must discuss with your doctor before going on prolong fasting and received medical supervision throughout the process.

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