December 12, 2007
One Day Per Month Fasting Good For Arteries

Fasting once a month for 1 day substantially cuts artery disease risk.

Mormons have less heart disease something doctors have long chalked up to their religion's ban on smoking. New research suggests that another of their "clean living" habits also may be helping their hearts: fasting for one day each month.

A study in Utah, where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is based, found that people who skipped meals once a month were about 40 percent less likely to be diagnosed with clogged arteries than those who did not regularly fast.

Thanks to James Bowery for the tip.

Even non-Mormons benefited.

Though more than 90% of the people studied were Mormons, the findings held true even in those who had a different religious preference, says Benjamin D. Horne, PhD, director of cardiovascular and genetic epidemiology at Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City.

Yes friends, even you can benefit. Step right up and choose your day to go hungry. I'm thinking the fasting day needs to be a day where there's a whole lot of constant distraction so you don't have to spend the day thinking how hungry you are. Maybe we need fasting amusement parks where you spend all day riding roller coasters.

The research was conducted at LDS Hospital using the Intermountain Heart Collaborative Study registry, made up of patients who had heart angiography between 1994 and 2002. The researchers focused on patients who are LDS to see if other church-dictated practices besides not smoking had an impact, said Benjamin Horne, director of cardiovascular and genetic epidemiology, now at the new Intermountain Medical Center. He's also an adjunct professor at the University of Utah.

Researchers looked at data from more than 4,600 people, average age 64, who had come through the cardiac cath lab, to see the degree of risk for someone who was LDS compared to others. They focused on those with obvious coronary artery disease (CAD), defined as 70 percent narrowing or blockage in at least one artery, and those who had little or no CAD (less than 10 percent narrowing). They found that while 66 percent of others had CAD, only 61 percent of LDS members did.

I am going to found a church which preaches a high vegetable, high fruit, and low glycemic index diet. Maybe call it the SENS Church for Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence Church. I need to find a barrel to look into to receive divine messages. What are my prospects for success?

SENS believers, you've got to suffer hunger pangs once a month to survive until the redemption of rejuvenation therapies. Once we receive the rejuvenation therapies we will enter the promised land of no harm daily Roman style feasts.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2007 December 12 08:06 PM  Aging Diet Studies

aa2 said at December 13, 2007 5:04 AM:

Thanks for posting this I am going to try this out. Seems like a very substantial reduction.. maybe it gives the body a chance to do some cleaning?

michael vassar said at December 13, 2007 8:32 AM:

Fasting for a day is tough the first time, but try fasting for two or three days once or twice and after that one day fasts will be very easy.
Hint: get off caffine before you start fasting. Caffine withdraw and hunger are NOT two great tribulations that go great together.

James Bowery said at December 13, 2007 8:54 AM:

Although many Mormons avoid caffeine I doubt that a caffeine pill to stave off withdrawal would impact the cardiovascular results of a fast.

Brett Bellmore said at December 13, 2007 4:01 PM:

Guess I'll give it a try; I've fasted through days occasionally just by virtue of being too rushed to eat, and it wasn't any big deal. I wonder, though, just how low you have to push your calorie intake to get the benefit. Surely not to zero... Perhaps you could get by on cellery and the like during that day?

Perhaps what we need are the "Nothing Munchies(TM)" of fiction; Not just beverages, but zero calorie solid foods to go with them.

Commodore said at December 14, 2007 6:16 AM:

why not just eat only fruits and vegetables the last 4 days of every month? Seems like that would make more sense.

auntulna said at December 15, 2007 9:02 AM:

I think the important number is that 61% of Mormons had CAD. No one wants to be in that group (CAD that is). So fasting is probably helpful, but not the whole story. Mormons, and all the rest of us, and particularly our doctors, need to follow the heart disease markers, and eat to live (a long time).

Brock said at December 20, 2007 8:39 AM:


Your "church" is already started. It's called "Evolutionary Fitness." Search this site ( ) for posts on Intermittent Fasting, which is relevant to this post. The arteries (and many other systems) benefit from the irregular fasting because the body's cells must undergo autophagy (consuming themselves) every now and then to clear out the junk. Evolution has created an efficient system where the cells store junk inside them so that they have an energy source during times without food. It's like having a compost pile outside your kitchen window. But if you never go without food, the junk is never cleaned out and the compost pile just piles up and becomes a health hazard.

A diet that controls your insulin levels will also control hunger. There are no serious hunger pangs if you eat correctly.

A picture of the author on his 70th birthday:
A post on his blood/cholesterol/insulin profile:

ElamBend said at December 22, 2007 8:21 PM:

Here, here Brock. I second you recommendation.

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