Recently I spoke with a friend who had fasted with his girlfriend for approximately 5 days, consuming only water during that time and reducing his weight by approximately 12 pounds. I began to think about doing this myself: I am not at my ideal weight and fasting would be an interesting test of my will power (as I simply adore food).
In doing some research on the health benefits/drawbacks for fasting I came across an interesting National Geographic article called "The Pollution Within", about the increasing number of chemicals we are being exposed to:
The classic example is lead. In 1971 the U.S. Surgeon General declared that lead levels of 40 micrograms per deciliter of blood were safe. It's now known that any detectable lead can cause neurological damage in children, shaving off IQ points. From DDT to PCBs, the chemical industry has released compounds first and discovered damaging health effects later.
A recent example of how complicated (and delicate) the chemical ecosystem in our bodies really is comes from a woman in California who learned the hard way that extremes are not a good thing for the body. She died from water intoxication (where water dilutes enzymes enough to disrupt normal body operations) while trying to win a Wii by drinking the most H2O without peeing. While it's sad that she died, at least she might become a candidate for this year's Darwin award.