The Science of Fasting

Written By Claire C

“The Science of Fasting,” directed by Sylvie Gilman and Thierry de Lestrade, explores decades of clinical studies conducted by Soviet scientists that had previously been kept hidden.  These case studies present new applications for fasting and calorie restriction.

Watch the full documentary here:

A brief summary:

What were they interested in? This documentary focused on the possibility of replacing or reducing our need for medication through the use of fasting.

What did they do? The film visits the Goryaschinsk Spring Sanatorium in southern Siberia and observes their treatment program, which focuses on supervised fasts as a treatment for a variety of diseases.

What did they find out? The majority of patients found that the symptoms of their conditions disappeared after one twelve-day course. 

What direction could be next? The supervised fasting implemented at the Sanatorium could be implemented in other locations to allow for the treatment of various ailments without medications.  

The Current State of Science and Medicine:

  • Have reached an impasse when it comes to treatment with medications
    • An atmosphere of distrust when it comes to these medications due to side effects
  • Many of the diseases we are treating are due to “modern life and civilization”
    • Diabetes
    • Hypertension
    • Cancer 
    • Allergies
    • Asthma 
  • Wanted to consider fasting as a therapeutic alternative
    • Are fasting’s effects visible on the hormonal level?
    • What pathologies can fasting be used against?

The Science of Fasting as an Alternative for Medicine:

  • Visited the Goryaschinsk Spring Sanatorium in southern Siberia to observe their fasting treatment program
  • Observed patients with previous problems including allergies and asthma who were able to significantly improve their health using fasting 
  • Some of these patients had previously tried the “best clinical medicine available” and were unable to reduce their symptoms without fasting 

What Science Showed:

  • Most patients (nearly ⅔) saw symptoms disappear after courses of fasting 
  • The hardest part is considered to be “the acidosis crisis”
    • Feeling of naseua, cramping, joint pain, or headaches
    • Usually only lasts about 36 hours 
    • Due to the body’s adjustment to fasting
    • Process of cleansing and detoxification
  • This occurs when the body’s initial glucose stores run out
    • Body must adapt to make glucose from protein, as well as using fat in place of glucose for energy 


Other Fasting Flamingo Resources You May Enjoy:

  • Dietary Fat, McDonald’s French Fries, and Science Evolving
    • Gary Taubes and Malcolm Gladwell dive deep into dietary fat and the poor-quality science that led to the decline in Gladwell’s favorite order at McDonald’s.
  • How Fasting Can Help You Lose Weight, Live Longer, and Think Clearer
    • In this video, Tom Bilyeu compiles important moments from his interviews with 6 fasting experts.  Throughout these discussions, the experts cover everything from the benefits of fasting to the safety considerations fasters should make.  
  • The Most Important Thing – Practicing Fasting Safely
    • In this article, Dr. Jason Fung discusses some of the most important things to keep in mind in order to fast in the safest way possible.  He discusses some of the most common dangers associated with improper fasting and gives advice on how to prevent these.  Most importantly, he discusses the importance of fasting with knowledge and experience and the power of easing into fasting. 

Want to learn more about the science of fasting?

  • Fasting
    • A documentary exploring 7 different fasting methods through the eyes of the world’s leaders of fasting.
  • Food As Medicine
    • A documentary following the growing movement of using food to heal chronic illness and disease.
  • Fat Fiction
    • A documentary that reveals the questionable evidence used by the United States government to support one of their most damaging public health recommendations: the low-fat diet. 

Amazon Description for “The Science of Fasting”:

Young biologists from the University of Southern California have overturned conventional wisdom and used molecular biology to demonstrate the powerful effects of fasting. This research suggests a wide-ranging potential, which could include treatments for the disease of the century, cancer. If these scientists are right, maybe our approach to disease and treatment will need a rethink.

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