Q: Is fasting dangerous? I’ve heard mixed messages.
A: While fasting has been a big fad over the last several years, it’s actually a practice that has been prescribed for centuries as a way to purify the body and even reach spiritual enlightenment.
Whether a particular fast is dangerous or not would depend on what type of fast you were planning and whether you had any underlying health problems that might react to a fast in a negative way.
I think the important question is why do you want to do the fast? Is it to lose weight? There are definitely healthier ways to do this. Is it detox? There’s really no proof that any fast “detoxes” the body, so in my opinion the risk outweighs the benefits in this case, too
Anyone considering a fast should discuss the details of the particular program with their health care provider before starting.
Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting www.beekman1802.com.
Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.