Dr. Ring describes if it is helpful to rest the digestive system through fasting.
I can’t answer the question if whether it gives it, you’re are giving it a rest, if that helps, but I will say that there is some really interesting data on this idea of alternate day fasting and that there are the studies done in animals and in humans that look at what happens if you fast for a day and then you have unrestricted intake the next day and sort of go back and forth.
What’s been shown is that this alternate day fasting, even compared to just a low calorie diet, has extra benefits. It decreases cardiovascular risk, it can improve your cholesterol profile, decrease diabetes risk, increase resistance to toxins, and also, perhaps, lower cancer incidents and that sort of thing.
So there does seem to be a lot of benefits associated with some limited fasting, but whether it’s because we are resting the bowel, or for some other reason, I don’t, I am not sure.
I don’t recommend doing alternate day fasting as an ongoing lifestyle, but I think it has some benefits. The idea of resting, there are some populations or some religions where they fast one day a month, they have a lower incidence of disease and so there’s something to resting the body, but I think we are waiting for more evidence in terms of how much that needs to be done and what’s appropriate and safe.
About Dr. Ring, M.D.:
Melinda Ring, M.D., is an Integrative Medicine physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Dr. Ring believes the patient and physician are partners in the healing process. She uses evidence-based approaches from other cultures to complement Western medicine treatment and stimulates the body's innate healing abilities. Her philosophy embraces treating the whole person, physical, emotional and spiritual dimensions, to achieve optimal health. Dr. Ring received her medical degree from the University of Chicago/Pritzker School of Medicine and has been practicing medicine since 1997.