I only just noticed this debate, I thought it was one of those "but you aren't really fasting if you drink tea" debates by the title.
Without having read it all, I will say I know of several modern doctors who agree that fasting is good, and I trust their honesty and integrity.
Example 1. Joel Fuhrman, apart from being a doctor, read his personal experience of fasting at my post here //www.curezone.org/forums/fm.asp?i=1354112#i
and I quote, Fuhrman "was an ice skater, hoping to compete in the Olympics. Unfortunately he suffered an accident, hurt his ankle, was unable to walk. Being a champion, he was offered lots of money to get treatment, and ended up having tests for a year or so.
They were going to drug him up and perform experimental surgery on him, but he refused and left the hospital, and guess where he went? Dr. Shelton's Health Center in San Antonio.
After being in pain and unable to walk for a year he was fasted for 46 days at Shelton's center, after which he was able to walk again. While there he saw asthmatics cured, colitis patients who recovered without drugs or surgery, and even people who otherwise would have needed heart bypass surgery get cured. Not only did he just get back on his feet, but a year later he came third in the World Professional Figure Skating Championships.
His leg healed completely. After seeing these amazing things decided to change career and become a doctor."
his website is at http://www.drfuhrman.com/
Example 2: Alan Goldhamer, Chapter 15, the Pleasure Trap, titled " Fasting Can Save Your Life . It's too long to quote, but mentions a guy that tried to commit suicide by fasting because he was ill, and he got better. He is director of the True North Health Center http://www.healthpromoting.com/node/13
Both these doctors also agree that eating can save your life too, provided it's the right type of food. Goldhamer says "Healthful eating is much easier after even a brief period of fasting". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bi9yk7HgrM
- and this was exactly my journey. I lost 90 pounds through fasting before becoming a nutritarian. I now have no major worries about cancer, even less concern about heart disease, and there is no chance I will get diabetes. I intend to make the most of the latter part of my life and enjoy it much better than the first.
Having said that, I think eating should, in general, be the first course of attack for any illness rather than an unsupervised fast, or better, let a good doctor such as Goldhamer of Fuhrman decide. Reasons being are that
1) people ate much better in the days of Shelton, just 50 years ago. They were more prepared for a fast. Most people eating today's diets aren't.
2) These days a lot of people use fasting as part of a binge purge process with junk food addiction. They are so badly nourished that they crave the empty calories and sometimes break their fasts with food addiction. Then they want to fast again, and so on. Fasting is a risky way to resolve this problem, well I think so anyway.
3) There is an immense amount of pressure to get thin these days, yet the food that is readily accessible makes us obese. No point in fasting if you are going to eat the same stuff afterwards, it's just like trying to fill a bucket with water that is riddled with holes. So for weight loss, this will only work in respect that it gets you on to healthy eating, because it restores your instincts. However I was fairly well nourished on my first fast, for example I did not eat sugar, salt, and ate a reasonable amount of fruit and vegetables.
So I think a month of healthy eating is good before a fast. But if you do fast, be prepared to make changes, else your problems will keep coming back.
And I agree with chrisb1 that Fasting is probably quicker at detoxing than eating, but sometimes the detox symptoms can be quite bad too, so eating properly may be preferable. But hey, I used fasting as a jump start to health, and it worked for me.
I also think that fasting can heal some things that eating can't and / or do it more quickly, this is why animals fast instinctively when they are ill.
But I would add that if you are fairly well nourished you should try fasting, it makes you feel great. Lots of nice symptoms, smooth skin etc, and it gives you confidence. We were made with this capability, we should at least know about it.
I guess the point I am trying to make is the converse of what Goldhamer says - "Healthful eating is much easier after even a brief period of fasting". I think fasting is probably much easier eating after even a brief period of healthful eating. It's like taking your mobile phone out for a day when the batteries are still flat. Charge it first. Healthful eating should be the norm, but it's not!