Dr. Chauncey W. Crandall, M.D. ischief of the Cardiac Transplant Program at the world-renowned Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.. He practices interventional, vascular, and transplant cardiology. Dr. Crandall received his post-graduate training at Yale University School of Medicine, where he also completed three years of research in the Cardiovascular Surgery Division. Dr. Crandall regularly lectures nationally and internationally on preventive cardiology, cardiology healthcare of the elderly, healing, interventional cardiology, and heart transplants. Known as the “Christian physician,” Dr. Crandall has been heralded for his values and message of hope to all his heart patients. Dr. Crandall is author of Dr. Crandall’s Heart Health Report newsletter.

Dr. Chauncey W. Crandall, M.D.

Should You Try Fasting?

Wednesday, 06 Mar 2013 08:50 AM

By Chauncey Crandall, M.D.

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Fasting, the practice of voluntarily going without food for a period of time, dates back centuries, and has often been performed as a religious or cultural ritual. However, it is also an excellent way to control your weight and promote heart health.

For many years I have practiced single-day fasts, as well as fasts lasting up to 14 days, as a way to benefit my health and the health of my patients. After my heart disease diagnosis, I
fasted every Monday. This helped me lose weight. My cholesterol dropped, and so did my weight.

Often, I fast for religious reasons, but, as a physician, I cannot help but notice the more practical benefits that accrue with fasting.

In terms of weight loss, fasting is obviously beneficial simply because going without food for a long period of time, even a day, reduces the amount of calories you take in over the longer term. So you’re already giving your diet a head start.

But there’s more to it than just saving calories. Being in a state of semi-starvation puts your body on alert; it starts using stored fat for energy. For example, the body begins drawing on fats stored in the blood. As a result, cholesterol and triglycerides begin to disappear.

Fasting also cleanses the body and gives your organs a break from constantly metabolizing food. As a result, immune response appears to improve, blood pressure goes down, and people report feeling more clearheaded when they are on a fast.

If you’re doing a multiple-day fast, you’ll get hungry for the first few days; I find the third day is the hardest. After that, your body becomes accustomed to it.

During a fast, I drink water or juice. Also, for fasts lasting longer than a few days, you’ll want to consult your doctor, of course, and this is also true if you have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes.

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