Something is causing the huge uptick in heart disease. I’m pretty confident it is not Lent. Tell that to the international press, which has recently decided to scapegoat fasting for ill health and base that claim on fake science.

Every major religion has a tradition of fasting. Certainly, Christianity has historically practiced it, and not only as a symbolic homage to the suffering of Christ in the desert and then on the cross. It’s also an excellent way to reset one’s biological functioning in body and mind. It serves to focus us on what’s truly important. It’s a cleanse, physical and spiritual.

So, too, for Ramadan for Islam. It’s different from Christianity but shares the same spirit. In Judaism, we have Yom Kippur and Tisha B’Av. Hinduism implores its followers to fast often throughout the year, and the same is true of Buddhism and Jainism.

Religion aside, fasting is ever more common in secular culture. Dry January took over this year for some reason, and to the great benefit of many. Intermittent fasting has also become a norm among a multitude of people. The model is simple: no eating for 18 hours following dinner, which in practice simply means skipping breakfast.

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