This section of the book is from the "How and When to Be Your Own Doctor" book, by Dr. Isabelle A. Moser with Steve Solomon, published in 1997.
It is true that ethical medical doctors use the least-risky procedure they are allowed to use. But this does not mean there are no risks to allopathic treatment. The medical doctor justifies taking the risks by saying that the risk/reward ratio is the best possible. Any sick person is already at risk. Life comes with only one guarantee: that none of us gets out of it alive.
Compared to the risks of allopathic medicine, fasting is a far safer method of treating disease. The oft-repeated scare stories medical doctors and their allies circulate about fasting are not true, and it is important to remember that none of these people portraying fasting as evil and dangerous have ever fasted themselves--I"ll put money on that one. Or, on the slim possibility that someone telling fasting horror stories did actually not eat for 24 hours (probably because some accident or acute illness prevented them), they had a terrible experience because they didn"t understand the process, were highly toxic, and were scared to death the whole time.
Or worse yet they fasted for a short period with an "open mind"--a very dangerous state in which to approach anything new. I have found through considerable experience with people professing to have open minds that the expression "I"m open minded" usually means that someone has already made up their mind and new data just passes straight through their open mind--in one ear and out the other. Or sometimes, the phrase "open mind" means a person that does not believe any information has reality and is entirely unable to make up their mind.
The most commonly leveled criticism of fasting is that in its efforts to survive self-imposed starvation the body metabolizes vital tissue, not just fat, and therefore, fasting is damaging, potentially fatally damaging. People who tell you this will also tell you that fasters have destroyed their heart muscle or ruined their nervous system permanently. But this kind of damage happen only when a person starves to death or starves to a point very close to death, not when someone fasts.
There is a huge difference between fasting and starvation. Someone starving is usually eating, but eating poorly and inadequately, eating scraps of whatever is available such as sugar, white flour, rancid grease, shoe leather, or even dirt. Frequently a starving person is forced to exercise a great deal as they struggle to survive and additionally is highly apprehensive. Or someone starving to death is confined to a small space, may become severely dehydrated too and is in terror. Fear is very damaging to the digestive process, and to the body in general; fear speeds up the destruction of vital tissue. People starve when trekking vast distances through wastelands without food to eat, they starved in concentration camps, buried in mind disasters, they starve during famines and starve while being tortured in prisons.
Until water fasting goes on past the point where all fatty tissues and all abnormal deposits have been burned for fuel and recycled for the nutritional elements they contain, vital muscle tissues and organs are not consumed. And as long as the body contains sufficient nutritional reserves, vital organs and essential tissues are rebuilt and maintained. In fact the body has a great deal of intelligence that we don"t give it credit for. It knows exactly which cells are essential to survival, which ones are not. The body knows which cells are abnormal deposits, and it goes to work to metabolize them first. For example, the body recognizes arthritic deposits, cysts, fibroids, and tumors as offensive parts of the landscape, and obligingly uses them for foods in preference to anything else. A starving (not fasting) body also knows precisely in what order of priority body cells should be metabolized to minimize risk of death or permanent disability.
After a starving body has reached skeletal condition, or where some small amount of fat remains but nutritional reserves (vitamins and minerals) are exhausted and there is insufficient nourishment forthcoming, the body begins to consume nutrient-rich muscle and organ tissue in a last-ditch effort to stay alive. Under these dire circumstances, the least essential muscles and organs from the standpoint of survival are metabolized first. For example, muscles in the arms and legs would be consumed early in the process, the heart muscle used only toward the very end. The very last part of the body to be metabolized when one is starving and as has come very close to death would be the brain and the nervous system.
Starvation begins where fasting ends, which is when real hunger begins. If the return of hunger is ignored whenever it takes place, whether it is in 30, 60, or 90 days depending upon body weight and type of fast, at that point exactly, not a day before, starvation begins very slowly. Usually it takes a considerable period of time after that before death occurs. It is important to note that this discussion applies only to the abstention from food, not water. Death takes place very quickly in the absence of water.
The chart on the previous page shows numerically the phenomenal ability of the body to protect the most essential tissues of the body right up to the time of death. If a person fasted for 30 days, the average time it takes for the return of hunger in a person that is not overweight, and then ignored the return of hunger, and continued to abstain from food--if the person could avoid forced exercise, keep warm, and had enough hydration, it could take as much as an additional 20 to 60 days to die of starvation! At death the body would have experienced losses of 40 to 60 percent of its starting body weight. (Ancel Keys et al, 1950) A emaciated person can not afford to lose nearly as much weight as an obese person, and death under conditions of starvation will occur earlier. In all cases of starvation the brain, nerves, heart, lungs, kidneys and liver remain largely intact and functional to the very end. During a fast, it is almost impossible to damage essential organs, unless of course the person creates the damage by fears about the process, or by internalizing the fears of others. If those fears are present, the fast should not be attempted.