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Last updateTue, 16 Oct 2018 12am







    Monday, October 15, 2018-4:24:26P.M.






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Fasting in Micronesia

FASTING is practiced by different cultures around the world for various reasons. Many observe fasting as part of their religious beliefs. Others fast to lose weight.

From left, Grace Divinagracia, Arlene Silva, and Maryann Caminero. Photo by Christy Sakaziro

In its report titled  “Global Health Case Study — Pohnpei,” the Centre of Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment states that “starchy staples, including breadfruit, banana, taro, yam and cassava, are the basis of the traditional diet in Pohnpei, along with coconut, fish and seafood, and some fruits and vegetables. Research has shown that Pohnpei people, young and old, maintained excellent health while on this type of diet and adequate physical activity. However, since around the 1970s there have been many changes in the diet, an increased consumption of imported processed food, including white rice, flour and sugar and other processed refined foods, and a decreased level of physical activity. Following this has been a great increase in health problems, in particular, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and vitamin A deficiency.”

A University of Illinois at Chicago study indicates that daily fasting helps reduce weight and lower blood pressure. The study observed 23 obese participants for 12 weeks. They were instructed that between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., they could eat any type and quantity of food they desired, but for the remaining 16 hours they could only drink water or calorie-free beverages.

According to the study, 16 hours of fasting and eight hours of feasting align with previous research on other types of intermittent fasting diets. “The ‘16:8’ diet is another tool for weight loss that now has preliminary scientific evidence to support.” However, the study added, “people need to find what works for them.” They should consult a doctor before trying a new diet.

Local residents interviewed by this writer believe that eating white rice results in weight gain.

Arlene Silva said whenever she fasts on liquid and not eat rice, she feels lighter and more active. She also sleeps well.

Grace Divinagracia and Maryann Caminero fast to control their weight.

For her part, Carmen Verde, who  has lived on  island for all most 20 years now, said she  serves her family locally grown crops, including vegetables and seafood.

She said eating rice should be balanced with lots of vegetables and fruits. From time to time, she avoids eating rice.

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