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Fasting from Sunrise to Sunset: A Holistic Approach


Fasting has been a part of human culture for thousands of years, and practiced for religious, spiritual, and health reasons across cultures. In recent years, the concept of intermittent fasting has gained popularity, and one specific variation—fasting from sunrise to sunset—has piqued interest. Let’s explore the health benefits of this practice and its alignment with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).


Research shows that nutritional information prior to fasting is beneficial. Studies show that fasting can cause an increase in good cholesterol (HDL), albumin (a protein that helps transport fluids in the body), and lower AST (an enzyme that is high when there is liver damage) , and triglycerides (when high it indicates a lipid disorder). Fasting can also affect anthropometric parameters such as weight and BMI and other metabolic conditions. In studies observing participants fasting for four weeks, participant blood tests showed that proteins associated with atherosclerosis, heart disease and cancer promotion were decreased, while proteins associated with cancer and inflammation suppression were increased. 


Sunrise-to-Sunset Fasting: What Is It?

At its core, sunrise-to-sunset fasting revolves around a structured eating pattern that confines food consumption to a specific window of the day—typically from sunrise to sunset. No food or drink is ingested during these times. This style of fasting echoes the natural circadian rhythms of the body by aligning meals with the body’s internal clock.


Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Perspective

TCM, with its rich history and holistic approach, supports fasting. Here’s how it relates to sunrise-to-sunset fasting. The Chinese Body Clock assigns specific hours to different organs. For instance, between 1 and 3 am is when the Liver is at its highest function. According to this model, the digestive system functions best in the morning and requires time to rest and recover at night. Therefore, fasting during daylight hours aligns with TCM principles.

TCM emphasizes that the body functions optimally when on a regulated schedule. Maintaining a regular eating pattern is considered more beneficial than fasting for extended periods.


While TCM supports eating only during daylight hours, it doesn’t endorse skipping breakfast.


Health Benefits of Sunrise-to-Sunset Fasting

  • Weight Loss and Fat Burning: During a dry fast, the body taps into stored fat for energy since there’s no food or water intake. Sunrise-to-sunset fasting can aid in weight loss.

  • Improved Insulin Sensitivity: Studies show that this type of fasting can enhance insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control, benefiting individuals with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.

  • Reduced Inflammation: Fasting has been linked to reduced inflammation, which can alleviate symptoms associated with chronic disorders triggered by inflammation.

  • Lowering cholesterol

  • Improves the digestive system

  • Improve heart health and lower blood pressure

  • Improve sleep 

  • Reduce risk of cancer

For the Mind and Spirit

  • Increases humility and patience

  • Strengthen willpower

  • Heighten the ability to connect with inner guidance

  • Reduces stress and anxiety

  • Increases focus

  • Balances insulin 

Who Is It Suitable For?

  • Chronic Disorders: Fasting can benefit those with chronic disorders due to its anti-inflammatory effects.

  • Weight Management: It aids in weight loss, preventing diabetes and heart disease.

  • Consult a Professional: Always consult a healthcare professional to determine if fasting is right for you.

Who Should Avoid It?

  • Women during menses, when pregnant, or breastfeeding.

  • People with hormonal disorders.

  • People with a history of disordered eating

Sunrise-to-sunset fasting combines ancient wisdom with modern science. Whether you follow it for health, spirituality, or both, remember that balance and individuality matter most. Listen to your body, honor its rhythms, and nourish it mindfully.


Despite the benefits of fasting, it’s essential to approach fasting mindfully. Consult a healthcare professional especially if you have chronic illnesses or are on medications. Let this journey rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit.


References:


Chiu, M. (2023, January 4). Dawn-to-dusk dry fasting leads to health benefits in the study of 


Emhj. (n.d.). Comparison of time-restricted feeding and Islamic fasting: a scopingreview. World Health Organization - Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean. https://www.emro.who.int/emhj-volume-25-2019/volume-25-issue-4/comparison-of-time-restricted-feeding-and-islamic-fasting-a-scoping-review.html


Urooj, A., Pai Kotebagilu, N., Shivanna, L. M., Anandan, S., Thantry, A. N., & Siraj, S. F. (2020). Effect of Ramadan Fasting on Body Composition, Biochemical Profile, and Antioxidant Status in a Sample of Healthy Individuals. International journal of endocrinology and metabolism, 18(4), e107641. https://doi.org/10.5812/ijem.107641



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