Fasting reduces risk of coronary artery disease

Scientific research is proving that a monthly Mormon fast -- going without food and water for a 24-hour period -- reduces the risk of coronary heart disease.

Benjamin D. Horne, a doctor who directs cardiovascular and genetic epidemiology at Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City, presented the findings at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions during a November 2007 conference in Florida.

The Intermountain Heart Collaborative Study sought to explain why research from the 1970s revealed that Mormons generally have lower rates of heart disease when compared to the United States national average. Horne wanted to verify that Mormons did have lower heart disease death rates, and then discover what caused the decrease.

Horne said going without food or water for a 24-hour period "may allow the body to rest and reset metabolism, increasing the body's sensitivity to glucose and insulin." However, Horne said the "compelling findings" on Mormon fasting do not apply to random skipping of meals.

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