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Fasting is defined as the willful abstinence from food and sometimes drink. It is often used for religious, medical, or weight-loss purposes. A fast usually lasts for 12 to 24 hours, but some types continue for days at a time.[1]

Fasting, abstaining from food for a set period, has a profound impact on both the body and mind. When we deprive ourselves of food, our bodies shift into a state of ketosis, using stored fat for energy. This metabolic change can lead to increased mental clarity, sharper focus, and even heightened sensory perception.

Psychonauts sometimes utilize this shift to explore the inner landscape. By removing the distraction of digestion, the mind becomes quieter, allowing for deeper introspection and meditation. This can be particularly helpful in practices like visualization, where a clear and focused mind is essential.

Adverse effects

Refeeding syndrome

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Refeeding syndrome if severe enough, may result in death

Refeeding syndrome (RFS) is a metabolic disturbance which occurs as a result of reinstitution of nutrition in people and animals who are starved, severely malnourished, or metabolically stressed because of severe illness. When too much food or liquid nutrition supplement is eaten during the initial four to seven days following a malnutrition event, the production of glycogen, fat and protein in cells may cause low serum concentrations of potassium (hypokalemia), magnesium (magnesium deficiency) and phosphate (hypophosphatemia).[2][3] The electrolyte imbalance may cause neurologic, pulmonary, cardiac, neuromuscular, and hematologic symptoms—many of which, if severe enough, may result in death.

Refeeding syndrome can occur when someone does not eat for several days at a time usually beginning after 4–5 days with no food.[4]

Stimulants like amphetamines, methylphenidate, and cocaine, along with opiates, contribute to appetite suppression. This can lead to prolonged periods of inadequate calorie intake, mimicking anorexia nervosa. Individuals with drug abuse who begin to reintroduce normal eating habits after a period of malnutrition may be at increased risk for refeeding syndrome.[5]

External links


  1. What You Should Know About Fasting 
  2. Mehanna HM, Moledina J, Travis J (June 2008). "Refeeding syndrome: what it is, and how to prevent and treat it". BMJ. 336 (7659): 1495–8. doi:10.1136/bmj.a301. PMC 2440847Freely accessible. PMID 18583681. 
  3. Doig, GS; Simpson, F; Heighes; Bellomo, R; Chesher, D; Caterson, ID; Reade, MC; Harrigan, PWJ (2015-12-01). "Restricted versus continued standard caloric intake during the management of refeeding syndrome in critically ill adults: a randomised, parallel-group, multicentre, single-blind controlled trial". The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. 3 (12): 943–952. doi:10.1016/S2213-2600(15)00418-X. ISSN 2213-2619. PMID 26597128. 
  4. Webb GJ, Smith K, Thursby-Pelham F, Smith T, Stroud MA, Da Silva AN (2011). "Complications of emergency refeeding in anorexia nervosa: case series and review". Acute Medicine. 10 (2): 69–76. doi:10.52964/AMJA.0470Freely accessible. PMID 22041604. 
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