First Time User? Enroll now.
Notice of Data Security Incident
COVID-19: Vaccine information and additional resources | Medicaid: The program is changing and you must take steps to keep your UNC Health providers
Home > Health Library > Fasting
Fasting means choosing to go without food, drink, or both for a period of time. It can mean going without any food or going without certain types of food.
There are different kinds of fasting.
Some people use fasting as a way to lose weight. There are different kinds of fasting for weight loss. They all require limiting food (or not eating at all) on certain days of the week or during certain times of the day. Experts don't agree on whether fasting is a healthy way to lose weight and keep it off over time.
Intermittent fasting is a type of fasting that limits food on certain days or during certain times of the day. For example, one form involves eating only between the hours of 8 p.m. and noon the following day. People sometimes use intermittent fasting to try to lose weight. You may hear other terms used to describe it, such as alternate-day fasting or 5-to-2 (5:2) fasting.
For people who are healthy, some fasting is probably safe. But for people with some health conditions or who are pregnant or nursing, it might be harmful. It's a good idea to talk to your doctor before you start any new diet or weight-loss plan.
Other Works Consulted
Bloomer KG, et al. (2010). Effect of a 21-day Daniel fast on metabolic and cardiovascular disease risk factors in men and women. Lipids in Health and Disease, 9: 94. Also available online: http://www.lipidworld.com/content/9/1/94.
Whitney E, Rolfes SR (2011). Metabolism: Transformations and interactions. In Understanding Nutrition, 12th ed., pp. 205–229. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Current as of:
December 17, 2020
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineRhonda O'Brien MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
Current as of: December 17, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.