Intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting – briefly

The definition of “intermittent fasting” is not strict. For some people, it means eating only within a window of six, eight, or twelve hours each and every day. For others, it means eating nothing for at least twnety-four hours, which is what I do now and then.

This article reviews the book “Fasting Can Save Your Life” by Dr. Herbert Shelton, MD, originally published in 1964. Briefly, you can gain health and build strength without eating. You are nourished not by what you eat, but by what you absorb, assimilate, and excrete. Shelton points out that fasting:

  • is not starvation,
  • gives your digestive system a rest, and 
  • is optimal individually, that is twenty-four hours of drinking water and tea is healthy for some, while fasting for a longer time can be better for others.

The purpose of fasting is to let the digestive system rest and to improve digestion. Weight loss is a side effect.

This insightful fifty-six minute documentary video explains the science of fasting.

Except in Russia, there are few if any clinical trials that prove that fasting works to gain health, but who would sponsor such a clinical trial? Has anybody ever done a clinical trial to prove that water is a cure for dehydration? Is there a clinical trial that proves that prunes have a laxative effect? 

Drs. Longo and Mattson refer to the clinical applications of fasting, particularly for the ageing.

The term “intermittent fasting” can also refer to the practice of limiting the number of hours in the day that you eat. This sort of intermittent fasting restricts eating to an eight-hour window between eight in the morning and four o’clock in the afternoon. This may give the digestive system a daily rest of sixteen hours. This method requires self-discipline. I have never tried it myself, but some people enthusiastically claim that it works for them. Try it for yourself and see.

If you have a medical condition, see a doctor.


Shelton, Dr. Herbert MD, “Fasting Can Save Your Life“, 1964, American Natural Hygiene Society
Shelton, Dr. Herbert MD, “Fasting and Sun Bathing“, 1950, self-published
Mattson, Longo, and Harvie, “Impact of intermittent fasting on health and disease processes”, Ageing Research Reviews, 2017 Oct;39:46-58., here
Longo and Mattson, “Fasting: molecular mechanisms and clinical applications”, Cell Metabolism, 2014 Feb 4;19(2):181-92, here

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