Fasting not the best, safest way to detox

Dear Dr. Gott: I read your column regularly and really appreciate your penchant for completely identifying and describing the maladies you discuss.
Please say a few words about fasting. I mean ingesting nothing but water for several days for the purpose of letting the body cleanse and/or readjust itself, not necessarily for weight loss.
I have a friend who fasts regularly — a one- or two-day fast monthly and a five-day fast each quarter year. He says the latter completely clears his body of toxins and essentially lets it start out renewed.
My PCP pooh-poohs fasting as a health benefit for the body, but my neighbor is in his 50s, is as fit as the proverbial fiddle and cites a lot of pro-fasting information from Europe, where he says it is relatively common.
Your comments, please. I would really like to know what you think of the subject.
Dear Reader: I am unaware of any scientific evidence to substantiate that fasting will remove toxins from the body. From a medical view, it is not a valid, healthful approach to weight loss or as a means of ridding the body of toxins. When undertaken for the purpose of weight loss, the process can carry health risks. Fasting is often accompanied with the use of an enema taken to cleanse the intestinal tract. The intestinal tract contains both “good” and “bad” bacteria in a delicate balance. If the good bacteria (necessary for proper body functions) are removed, this important balance is disrupted and problems can occur. The liver remains the body’s detoxification center. With the help of the kidneys, colon, lungs and skin, toxins are removed from the body of a healthy person naturally.
I have taken my personal stand, but will probably receive countless letters with opposing views regarding this ongoing debate. I am grateful readers feel strongly enough to take a stand either for or against the process.
My recommendation is to eat a healthful diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables, drink water when thirsty, exercise to the capability allowed and get adequate sleep. Reduce alcohol consumption and discontinue smoking. These changes will allow the average person to forget all about fasting and to concentrate on other more important issues — such as the health care system crisis we are facing.
For those readers who are considering fasting for weight loss, I recommend my Health Report “A Strategy for Losing Weight.” The reduction of flour and sugar from the diet is a safe, inexpensive and successful alternative. Simply send a self-addressed, stamped, No. 10 envelope and a check or money order for $2 to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.
DEAR DR. GOTT: Please tell me of any remedies you know of that may help with psoriasis. My husband was diagnosed with it several years ago and has had over-the-counters and prescription drugs that don’t seem to do much.
DEAR READER: The remedy that comes to mind is using the inside of a banana peel covering the area you wish to treat. Simply cut the peel with a knife or pair of scissors to the size necessary, and affix it with paper tape. Change the “peel” treatment daily until the area disappears.
I am sending you a copy of my Health Reports “Dr. Gott’s Compelling Home Remedies” and “More Compelling Home Remedies.” Other readers who would like copies should send a self-addressed, stamped envelope and a check or money order for $2 for each report to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title(s).

Dr. Peter Gott is a retired physician and the author of the book “Dr. Gott’s No Flour, No Sugar Diet,” available at most chain and independent bookstores, and the recently published “Dr. Gott’s No Flour, No Sugar Cookbook.”

Copyright 2009, Newspaper Enterprise Assn.
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