Health Benefits Of Short
Water fasts between 16 and 24 hours fall into the category of short-term water fasting or time-restricted eating, which involves consuming all of your meals within a time range. For example, you could choose to have your meals and calories between 10 am and 6 pm and drink only water when you are not eating. Time-restricted eating is flexible, but its particularly beneficial if you eat your meals before sunset. This helps you eliminate bad habits like late-night snacking, and it improves your sleep and insulin sensitivity.
Water fasting benefits include:
Water fasting leads to weight loss
In the only long-term study of time-restricted eating conducted to date, those who ate within an 8-hour window dropped 9% of their body weight after 12 months, while those who ate without the time restriction lost 7.2%. Most other studies of time-restricted eating show 3-4% weight loss within 8-12 weeks. A more recent study showed that participants who ate in an 8-hour window lost 2.3 kg more in 14 weeks than those eating over 12 or more hours.
Water fasting improves insulin sensitivity and reduces blood pressure
Eating within a 6-hour period was shown to improve insulin sensitivity,blood pressure, and oxidative stress in men with prediabetes. These health benefits occurred even in the absence of weight loss. Greater insulin sensitivity and low inflammation are associated with reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Water fasting reduces breast cancer risk
How Does Fasting Work
Caloric restriction promotes weight loss through the process of ketosis, during which the body metabolises fat for energy. Around 12-16 hours into a fast, blood glucose and insulin levels drop and the nutrient signalling pathways that are regulated by the mTOR kinase protein are deactivated .
This forces the body into the fasting state and it starts to switch from using glucose from food for energy to metabolising fat stores, producing ketones that are oxidised by the brain. As food is reintroduced, nutrient signalling pathways are reactivated and ketosis plateaus. This process can promote weight loss as well as improve metabolic function, reduce inflammation and enhance immune functioning. Weight loss has numerous benefits to health and longevity, reducing the risk of morbidity from heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some cancers .
Ketosis has the additional advantage of burning fat supplies without using protein, making it possible to continue weight training for maintaining and growing muscle during caloric restriction .
Cons Of Water Fasting
While there may be some health advantages of fasting with water, there are also significant risks and drawbacks.
To achieve many, if not all, of the purported health benefits of a water fast, there are often safer, healthier approaches. For example, you might try reducing your sodium or alcohol intake as part of a healthy diet instead.
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The Pros And Cons Of Fasting For Women Of Childbearing Age
Virtually all of the clinical studies on intermittent fasting have been carried out with test subjects who are men or post-menopausal women. Studies generally do not include pre-menopausal women due to concerns that fasting of any kind may negatively affect hormonal balance and the monthly cycle.
Some pre-menopausal women use intermittent fasting for weight loss, and with great successyou can search the internet to see countless before and after pictures. But there are an equal number of women out there who report that intermittent fasting had significant negative effects on their hormonal balance and monthly cycle. Since controlled studies with pre-menopausal women havent been done, we can only guess at the factors that could affect why some women can safely fast while others cant. They likely include: overall health, how much excess weight they have to lose, how long they fast each day, and how much they restrict their overall caloric intake.
On the flip side, there some potential benefits of fasting for pre-menopausal women when it comes to fertility. First, intermittent fasting is becoming popular among women with polycystic ovary syndrome as a way to lower their insulin levels, lose weight, reduce inflammation, reduce stress, and alleviate depression and anxietyall symptoms of PCOS. Some of these positive effects have now been proven in studies.
Physical Fatigue Or Achiness
The switching of fuel sources in your body wont feel great but there are some things that can reduce the discomfort:
Tips to try:
- Eating a generally low carb diet the week before I found that the switching of fuel sources was far less uncomfortable when I ate a generally low carb diet for a week prior to fasting to prepare my body for it.
- Warm water with Himalayan Sea Salt or electrolytes Most of us get our electrolytes from our food. Low electrolytes can cause your body to be achy or feel crampy. While most healthy bodies are capable of restoring the balance of electrolytes on its own, I did find that taking salt made me feel better.
- Lots of water Drink lots of water.
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What Are The Challenges And Benefits Of A 3
Before you gain greater experience, most of the challenges of the three-day water fast are physical, as your body learns how to enter the state of ketosis. Ketosis is the process of burning fat directly from adipose tissue, which is achieved through the production of so-called ketone bodies in order to metabolise the fat. Unless you happen to be following an extremely low-carb diet, this is entirely different from how your body normally extracts the energy needed to power each cell. As a result, the vast majority of people never experience ketosis in everyday life, and rely instead on metabolising carbohydrates until the day they die. This is a real shame. We have two eyes, and we use them both. We have two arms and two legs, and we use each of them. We also have two metabolisms: our everyday carbohydrate-based metabolism, as well as ketosis. They each serve their own function and offer their own benefits.
The First Negative Experience
Unlike on Day 1, I definitely didnt make any personal bests in my Day 2 workout. I felt like I did the day I tried working out after taking the bus from Lima to Huaraz in Peru .
My body felt strong, but it didnt have the endurance it normally did. After one or two lifts my strength evaporated, and at times I was lightheaded to the point of dizziness.
I was glad to have gotten some exercise, but it was certainly the first negative effect I felt on my 3 day fast.
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Use Sleep To Your Advantage
Go to bed earlier if you think hunger will strike at night. Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation increases ones risk for cognitive deficits, obesity, type-2 diabetes, heart disease, depression and suicide. Eating when you should be sleeping and infusing your brain with artificial light at the wrong times can cause you to be out of tune with your natural rhythms, which in turn affects the quality and quantity of your sleep, your ability to exercise the next day, and your ability to lose weight.
Fasting While Working & Working Out While Fasting
When Brendon and I did our water fast we aimed to fast for 72 hours. Consuming nothing but water, tea and black coffee for three days. We had our last meal on Monday evening and then we didnt eat again until Thursday evening. During this time we also:
- Worked three full days
- Went to the gym three times
- Walked up the Rapaki Track at Otautahis Port Hills
- Attended a Bikram Yoga session at Flow Hot Yoga Christchurch
- Ran around Hagley Park, Otautahis largest park
All while not eating. This is not exactly necessary, but we wanted to highlight the fact that we do not always need to eat to operate. Our body stores energy for us to use in these times, however, we never have access to this stored energy because we keep topping up our fuel tank with food.
As a matter of fact, one of the most surprising outcomes of the fast is how much more focused you are, and how much work you can get done when youre not having to prepare and consume a meal three times a day. Your body is the most complicated and intelligent machine that we have ever discovered. Youre not going to fall over and die if you dont eat for 12 hours – Im not sure how we would have made it this far otherwise. Especially when we have so much energy stored around our body.
My favourite part its so simple! Just drink water and dont eat I dare ya!!
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The Bottom Line: Is Fasting For 3 Days Worth It
No, it is not. Whether you are looking for potential health benefits or as a way to jumpstart your weight loss, water fasting for 3 days is truly not the way to go about it. This is a very unhealthy and potentially fatal way to try living a healthier life.
Instead of trying fasting or 3 days, try a healthy, well-balanced diet with a caloric deficit of 500 to 1000 calories a day. You should also consult your doctor or dietitian before attempting a calorie deficit diet. A caloric deficit diet and working out for 30 minutes a day is a better way to help you lose weight. If you are still insistent on trying this fast, please be sure to do it under direct medical supervision.
Who Should Not Try A Fasting Diet For 3 Days
While fasting for 3 days is relatively safe for most people, it can be quite dangerous for some people. These exceptions include :
- Patients with diabetes, as it can lead to dangerous dips and spikes in blood sugar.
- Pregnant women, new moms, or breastfeeding women.
- Anyone who is ill, under medication, or suffers from uncontrollable migraines.
- Older adults, children, or teenagers.
- People with heart problems.
- People with eating disorders. Fasting has been linked to an increased risk of binge eating and bulimic pathology . The risk of triggering such disorders gets worse with anyone with an existing eating disorder.
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How To Prepare For The 3 Day Fast
If youre going to be doing your first water fast, then youre going to want to prepare your body for it.
To use an analogy, consider someone addicted to drugs. If they suddenly stop using these drugs, theyll go through intense discomfort, known as withdrawal.
The only way to prevent this is to slowly stop using the drugs before dropping off.
The same goes for food. If youve never done a fast, and come from a well-off family, then that means youve been eating food every day since you were born. Your body is highly accustomed to a regular intake of food, so if you suddenly stop eating, you wont feel very good.
You can minimize the discomfort by spending 3-7 days before your fast reducing your overall food intake. You can eat smaller meals, refrain from snacking, and fast for a few hours every day.
If youre addicted to food or stimulants then youll probably want to take care of those addictions first.
Of course, you could go cold-turkey but most people are surprised to find out how horrendous the withdrawals from sugar and caffeine can be if theyve never experienced them before.
Irritability, headaches, depression, and anxiety are all common issues that arise when people suddenly stop eating sugar, drinking coffee, or eating refined carbs. Try to spend a week or 2 detoxing from these unhealthy foods and substances before going on a fast.
People with health problems like diabetes or chronic high blood pressure will need to be monitored by their doctor.
How Much Weight Did You Lose During The Fast
And since completing the fast, I’ve gained it all back. I’m near to where I was I started.
If you’ve gained it all back, why put the weight numbers here then?
Because weight is one of the easiest things to measure. I can’t measure and tell you how I feel inside but I can step on a scale and show you what it says.
I weighed in naked each morning after waking and after visiting to the toilet.
As you can see, one month after finishing the 3 day fast, I’ve since gained the weight I lost back, plus a little bit more. However, this is consistent with what I’ve been doing, eating slightly more than usual and lifting weights regularly. It’s Winter here. Bulking season.
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Fasting Is Already An Old Method Of Dieting
The idea of the fasting diet has taken the health world by storm and is positively changing the lives of people who are taking advantage of it. But, it’s not a new idea at all. It’s a technique that has been utilized for centuries to boost health. If you’re eating frequentlythree meals a day with snacksthen you’re missing out on the incredible benefits of prolonged fasting.
The great news is it’s never too late to start getting these health benefits. That’s why in this article, I will share with you everything you need to know about prolonged fasting, so you can start embracing a healthier life.
May Increase The Levels Of Good Cholesterol And Reduce Triglycerides
A randomized controlled trial done on 30 healthy individuals revealed that one-day fasting increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and decreased triglycerides and weight. This one-day-water fast also increased the levels of the human growth hormone, hemoglobin, and red blood cell count .
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What Was Your First Meal After The Fast
In an ideal world I would’ve broken the fast with a meal similar to what I started it with . Simple. Steak and salt or steak and salt and onions.
However, since we were fasting as a group, it was easier to book a restaurant at a central location than get everyone to go to someone’s place.
We went to a rib joint. Rolling in I could smell the place from a block away. Smoke billowing out of the roof. Even before getting there I’d pored over the menu deciding what to get. It’s all about the anticipation.
I ordered ribs. Standard sauce, not spicy. And a side of coleslaw. Not too big not too small. There were fries and other options but I tend to avoid anything fried. Though, I did end up digging into someone’s leftover sweet potato chips after I’d finished the ribs and realised my gut was okay.
Some people say go easy on the fast breaker meal. And what simple means can be up to you. A singular food maybe. Rice cakes on their own. Blueberries, other fruits. The thought here is because your stomach and gut haven’t been working over the past couple of days, they might be more susceptible to irritation. However, I’ve never really had any gut issues or troubles breaking a fast so I went for the not-so-simple combo of ribs and coleslaw.
How To Break A Fast
The most important thing to keep in mind when breaking your fast is to do it gently. The longer youve been fasting, the slower you need to take this.
There is a natural tendency after fasting to dive right back into food and to overeat, and that can lead to a lot of stomach discomfort and create a lot of discomfort.
Dont just dive into a pizza, especially after a longer fast, because its going to be quite painful!
If youve been fasting for 24+ hours, you want to start with a small snack, wait 30 minutes, then take an assessment of how you feel to see if youre still hungry.
Make sure to eat slowly, chew your food really thoroughly. Try something light, like some avocado, a small piece of fish or some vegetables cooked in olive oil.
I would avoid raw food in general, as that can be harder to digest. If you have trouble with eggs or another type of food , I recommend waiting a couple of days until your digestive system has warmed back up.
And of course, avoid any high-sugar food, highly-processed food, and any foods you know you have an intolerance to.
If youre really craving sweets, try some fruit: berries or an apple can be a great option.
I almost always break my own fast with a broth or soup. I have a chicken soup recipe that is my cure-all for everything I use it to reset my hunger, to calm my digestion, to get through a cold or flu, reduce bloating or get back on track after a period of overindulgence and you can find that recipe here.
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The Science Of Fasting
A large body of evidence now supports the benefits of fasting, though the most notable data has been recorded in studies with animals. Even so, these findings are promising for humans. Essentially, fasting cleanses our body of toxins and forces cells into processes that are not usually stimulated when a steady stream of fuel from food is always present.
When we fast, the body does not have its usual access to glucose, forcing the cells to resort to other means and materials to produce energy. As a result, the body begins gluconeogenesis, a natural process of producing its own sugar. The liver helps by converting non-carbohydrate materials like lactate, amino acids, and fats into glucose energy. Because our bodies conserve energy during fasting, our basal metabolic rate becomes more efficient, thereby lowering our heart rate and blood pressure.
Ketosis, another process that occurs later into the fast cycle, happens when the body burns stored fat as its primary power source. This is the ideal mode for weight loss and balancing blood sugar levels.
Fasting puts the body under mild stress, which makes our cells adapt by enhancing their ability to cope. In other words, they become strong. This process is similar to what happens when we stress our muscles and cardiovascular system during exercise. As with exercise, our body can only grow stronger during these processes when there is adequate time to rest and recover. Thats why short-term fasting is recommended.