April 5, 1965

Fasting May Have Undesirable Results

JAMA. 1965;192(1):A33-A35. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080140087045

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Fasting, currently popular as a weight reduction therapy, apparently has undesirable effects, Navy investigators told the annual meeting of the American College of Physicians.

Studies of gross body composition of seven fasting, obese patients indicate that they catabolize undesirable amounts of lean tissue, said Lt Cdr Fred L. Benoit, MC, USN, of the Naval Medical Research Institute, Bethesda, Md.

Later in the program, during a panel discussion of obesity, four other physicians also said they are generally opposed to fasting. Their objections ranged from loss of protein to the opinion that "psychologically, it accomplishes nothing."

Mean weight of the subjects of Benoit's study was 254 lb 12 oz (115.6 kg). The study was conducted on a metabolic ward. The study period for each patient was 24 days, divided into ten days of fasting, four days of a 1,000-calorie mixed diet to allow a return toward equilibrium, and ten days of

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