Monthly Fasting, One Day Per Month May Help Prevent Heart Disease

Benjamin Horne, a heart disease researcher from Intermountain Medical Center and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City led a study that found that among behavioral patterns of 515 people surveyed, only fasting made a significant difference in heart disease risks. Fifty-nine percent of periodic meal skippers were diagnosed with heart disease compared to sixty-seven percent heart disease among people who did not periodically fast. Fasting was defined as skipping two consecutive meals.

The factors that were examined included body weight, blood cholesterol levels, blood pressure, diabetes, family history of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), monthly fasting, avoiding tea, avoiding coffee, avoiding alcohol, religious persuasion, taking a weekly day of rest, going to church, social support metrics and donating time, goods or money to charity. Many of the behaviors were due to subjects being Mormons, but 8 percent of subjects surveyed were not Mormons and were consistent with study results.

Horne declared that this one study does not prove that one day fasting per month reduces heart disease, but it does bring the conclusion that a further look into one-day fasting is worthy of more research. Horne also reminded people that fasting slows down the metabolic rate, which stores more calories when eating resumes [Exercise Reports note: that means people trying to lose weight should be ready to increase exercise immediately after the fast to burn off the extra calories or burn the extra nutrients before they are even stored].

Horne postulated that one day fasting might:

Force the body to use fat reserves to burn calories

Give the body a break from constant exposure to sugar and insulin, which might reset cells that have become desensitized to insulin

Reports in the 1970’s suggest that Latter-day Saints (LDS, or Mormons) in Utah have lower cardiac mortality compared to other Utahns and the US population.

Brian S McClure, Heidi T May, Joseph B Muhlestein, Jeffrey L Anderson, Dale G Renlund, Beau M Bailey, and Benjamin D Horne
Abstract 3642: Fasting, a Novel Indicator of Religiosity, may Reduce the Risk of Coronary Artery Disease Circulation, Oct 2007; 116: II_826 – II_827.