Fasting is the willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. An absolute fast or dry fasting is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period, usually 24 hours, or a number of days. Water fasting refers to abstinence from all food and drink except water, but black coffee and tea may be consumed. Other fasts may be partially restrictive, limiting only particular foods or substances, or be intermittent. In a physiological context, fasting may refer to the metabolic status of a person who has not eaten overnight, or to the metabolic state achieved after complete digestion and absorption of a meal. Several metabolic adjustments occur during fasting. Some diagnostic tests are used to determine a fasting state. For example, a person is assumed to be fasting once 8–12 hours have elapsed since the last meal. Metabolic changes of the fasting state begin after absorption of a meal (typically 3–5 hours after eating). A diagnostic fast refers to prolonged fasting (from 8–72 hours, depending on age) conducted under observation to facilitate the investigation of a health complication, usually hypoglycemia.
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