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Does Water Fasting Make You Lose Weight

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How Is Water Fasting Different From Intermittent Fasting

8 Fasting Variations for Weight Loss | Jason Fung

As you learned a moment ago, intermittent fasting isnt the same as water fasting.

Intermittent fasting generally involves not eating for a period of 14 to 24 hours. During this time, youre generally allowed to eat flavored beverages like coffee, tea, or calorie-free energy drinks. Most people who practice intermittent fasting do this every day.

For example, a common intermittent fasting protocol looks like this:

6 AM: Wakeup

12 PM: Eat first meal

4 PM: Eat second meal

8PM Eat third meal

10 PM: Go to sleep

In this case, the person would be fasting for 16 hours and eating for 8 hours.

If you want to learn more about intermittent fasting, read this article:

Water fasting involves not eating or drinking anything except water, and generally for multiple days at a time.

Obviously, people dont do this every day like they can intermittent fasting, because it involves consuming no calories whatsoever. Youre allowed electrolytes like salt, potassium, magnesium, and a multivitamin, but you arent allowed to consume anything that contains calories, including supplements like fish oil.

Most proponents of water fasting also eschew flavored or extremely low calorie beverages like coffee, diet Coke, and tea.

At bottom, water fasting is a short-term crash diet, whereas intermittent fasting is a long-term eating strategy for managing your calorie intake.

Health Benefits Of A Water Fast

Water fasting is an acute form of stress for the body. Most of what we know about the health benefits of water-fasting has come from studies of intermittent fasting methods such as alternate day fasting and prolonged fasting. These methods have potential health benefits for slowing the progression of chronic diseases such as Alzhemiers and Parkinsons.

Is Intermittent Fasting Safe

Some people try intermitting fasting for weight management, and others use the method to address chronic conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol or arthritis. But intermittent fasting isnt for everyone.

Williams stresses that before you try intermittent fasting , you should check in with your primary care practitioner first. Some people should steer clear of trying intermittent fasting:

  • Children and teens under age 18.
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • People with diabetes or blood sugar problems.
  • Those with a history of eating disorders.

But, Williams says, people not in these categories who can do intermittent fasting safely can continue the regimen indefinitely. It can be a lifestyle change, she says, and one with benefits.

Keep in mind that intermittent fasting may have different effects on different people. Talk to your doctor if you start experiencing unusual anxiety, headaches, nausea or other symptoms after you start intermittent fasting.

Don’t Miss: How Long Before You Lose Weight With Intermittent Fasting

Do A Lot Of Heavy Compound Weightlifting

When the goal is maintaining muscle mass while losing fat, nothing beats heavy compound weightlifting.

Its better than workout machines, pump classes, bodyweight exercises, Yoga, Pilates, and everything else you can do to develop your muscles.

What do I mean by heavy compound lifting, though?

Well, by compound, I mean focusing on compound exercises, which are those that target multiple large muscle groups, such as the squat, bench press, military press, and deadlift.

And by heavy, I mean lifting weights that are above 75% of your one-rep max .

The main reason heavy compound weightlifting is so effective is its the best way to overload your muscles, which is the primary trigger for muscle growth.

I think you can figure out how this benefits you when youre restricting your calories for fat loss.

In short, it allows you to minimize muscle loss while dieting, or, depending on your circumstances, even gain muscle while youre losing fat.

Want to know how to build an effective weightlifting routine? Check out this article.

What To Expect On A 5

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For National Fasting February in 2019, a group of LifeOmic employees voluntarily did a 90 to 120 hours of modified water fasting for science. For more than a year we had been researching and reading scientific literature reviews on the mechanisms of prolonged water fasting and its potential benefits for aging and longevity. But we wanted to experience a prolonged fast ourselves, measure its outcomes, and be able to better relate to our LIFE Fasting Tracker users. More recently, our CEO Dr. Don Brown, embarked on a 5-day modified fast. We describe what we experienced below.

For our company 120-hour modified water fast, we used the Prolon fasting-mimicking diet developed by Dr. Valter Longo at the University of Southern California. Prolon is a plant-based low calorie, low protein and low carbohydrate diet that puts the body in a similar metabolic state as does water fasting. It mimics water fasting by restricting calories , elevating ketone levels in the blood and lowering levels of glucose, insulin, insulin-like growth factor 1 and IGF-binding protein. Our CEO created his own fasting-mimicking diet. He put a couple of cups of mixed greens in a bowl and sprinkled on a tablespoon of olive oil, some salt, and a dozen almonds. This single, 250-calorie meal was all he ate everyday for 5 days.

Recommended Reading: What Do You Eat When You Do Intermittent Fasting

Weight Loss And Fat Burning

While your resting energy expenditure stays the same during a fast, your body quickly learns to switch to burning fats for this energy. By 18 to 24 hours into a fast, your body begins to rely heavily on fat breakdown for energy. This is a great thing if you have fat youd like to lose while preserving lean muscle mass.

After 12 hours of fasting, energy mobilized from adipose tissue stores was approximately two times that available from glucose production, whereas after 72 hours of fasting the energy released from adipose tissue was sixfold greater than that generated from gluconeogenesis . Klein et al., 1993

Our LifeOmic employees lost an average of 5.5 pounds over the course of a 5-day fast, or an average of a little over 3% of their body weight. The percentage of weight loss range was from 1.5% to nearly 7% body weight loss over the course of five days.

Our CEO dropped almost 9 pounds over the course of his five-day modified fast .

Fasting Tip: Doing light to moderate resistance activity during your prolonged fast can help to preserve muscle mass while helping your body to burn fats for fuel. Exercise will also further promote ketone production and autophagy, and may help you feel energized through the tougher periods of your fasting. Consider going for walks, rock climbing, swimming, or doing some strengthening or slow flow yoga.

Going on a multi-day fast, whether a water fast, a low-calorie or Prolon fast?

Download the LIFE Fasting Tracker app here.

What Are The Risks Of Water Fasting

Research published in the journal BMC Complementary Medicine Therapies showed that the most common adverse events from water fasting include:

  • Quality of life problems like fatigue
  • Heart problems like high blood pressure
  • Musculoskeletal problems like arthritis
  • Gastrointestinal problems like colitis, gastritis, and constipation
  • Endocrine problems like thyroid trouble or diabetes
  • Neurological problems like headache, neuropathy, and dizziness
  • Urologic and renal problems
  • Psychiatric problems like depression and anxiety
  • Pulmonological problems like inflammation, labored breathing, and infection

Two people in the studies analyzed required hospitalization, one with severe dehydration and another with dangerously low sodium levels.

In a recent study of middle-aged men from Poland who did an eight-day water fast, patients lost weight and perceived a reduction in stress, but their bodies experienced some negative consequences including dehydration, low sodium levels, low blood sugar levels, and an increase in uric acid in their blood.

The study authors concluded: Therefore, for the safety of middle-aged people subjected to eight-day water fast, it is recommended to discontinue such intervention, as it is a drastic form of fasting that already begins to generate unfavorable symptoms for a healthy person.”

Read Also: Weight Loss In Intermittent Fasting

Easy Ways To Lose Water Weight Loss

Water plays an important role in every aspect of human life, with 60% of the body being water. Many people worry about their water weight. Professional athletes and bodybuilders are particularly concerned about their water weight.

Edema is another issue. Although it is usually harmless, excessive water retention can be an indication of serious medical conditions like heart, liver, or kidney disease.

Is Water Fasting Right For You


If you want to give water fasting a try, its crucial you learn the inherent risks involved. Before you begin a water fasting protocol, be sure to consult with your doctor.

If youre on the fence about water fasting, consider an intermittent fast instead. As a less intense and lower-risk option, you can experience the benefits of fasting without the fear of dehydration or fainting.

Also Check: What To Eat When Intermittent Fasting 16 8

Is Water Fasting Dangerous

Some people say that just about any kind of fasting is dangerous, and if you go more than a few hours without eating, your metabolism slows your muscle starts to dissolve.

The other side of the aisle says that water fasting is completely safe and you have nothing to worry about.

Both of these groups are wrong.

Short fasts of a day or less probably dont pose a serious risk to your health or muscle mass, but longer water fasts of several days or more can be dangerous.

The main things you need to pay attention to are:

Most people get about 30% of their daily water intake from foods, so if you keep drinking the same amount of water during your fast as before, you could become dehydrated.

As long as you drink when youre thirsty this shouldnt be an issue, but it could cause problems if you arent paying attention.

When some people embark on a water fast, they sometimes go to the other extreme and compensate for their lack of food intake by drinking absurd amounts of water.

While this seems harmless, it can dilute the level of sodium in your blood, causing a condition known as hyponatremia.

This can cause brain swelling and heart failure, and is one of the more common causes of preventable death among endurance athletes .

As long as you drink when youre thirsty and stop when you arent, you probably wont run into this issue, but its a possibility.

  • Blood Sugar Swings

If youre otherwise healthy, you shouldnt experience major swings in blood sugar during a water fast.

How To Fast For Weight Loss

Weight loss studies of intermittent fasting have typically investigated the 5:2 diet or alternate day fasting interventions lasting three to six months. For most people in such studies, it takes two to three months to lose 10 pounds.

The good news is that most studies of intermittent fasting using the 5:2 diet protocol or minimal calorie fasting days have reported statistically significant weight loss, approximately equivalent to what can be achieved through continuous calorie restriction. Reported weight loss outcomes of the 5:2 diet range from 3.2% weight loss in comparison to a control group over a 12-week period to 8.0% weight loss in an 8-week trial enrolling overweight adults with asthma.

Obese adults who participated on an alternate day fasting study for 6 months lost roughly 6% of their body weight during the first 3 months. They were allowed to consume up to 600 kcal on their fasting days and ate a low-carb diet on non-fasting days. In addition to losing weight, participants were also able to reduce their total cholesterol, blood pressure, and fasting insulin.

Shorter fasts are also effective at inducing weight loss in humans. Obese patients who restricted their eating windows to 8 hours lost significant weight and improved their blood pressure.

Don’t Miss: How To Do Keto Fasting

Why Do People Do Water Fast

People may undertake a water diet to lose weight, for spiritual or religious reasons, or to heal from particular health problems. Nowadays, water fast has become popular in natural health and wellness movements, often alongside meditation.

If you want to do a water diet, especially for medical reasons, you should take a recommendation from a health professional who is familiar with it. When you water fast under professional supervision following specific guidelines, it is also called therapeutic fasting.

The water diet is therapeutic fasting. Before you join a water diet program on a center, the health professional asks about your health history and make a physical examination. During water diet, patients are monitored daily, and if necessary, the health professional may terminate the fast. Compared to an unsupervised fast, a supervised fast has an increased probability of being successful, particularly emotionally and physically.

We live in disordered times, complicated, distracted, and demanding Whether in prayer or meditation, in visualization, fasting, or song, we need to step out of our usual roles, out of the busy days on automatic pilot.

Jack Kornfield, a Buddhist teacher, and psychotherapist

Find The Best Diet For You In Just 60 Seconds

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How many calories should you eat? What about “macros?” What foods should you eat? Take our 60-second quiz to get science-based answers to these questions and more.

Losing weight fast is easier than most think.

Eat as little food and do as much cardio as you can for the next month or two, and voila, the pounds fall off.

You may be disappointed in the end, though, even if you can suffer through it.


Well, for the reasons we discussed above. You might be pleased with the number on the scale, but the mirror will paint a different picture.

You may not look as fat as before, but youre going to look more skinny fat, and thats not the goal.

Thats why your goal shouldnt be to lose weight, but to lose fat and not muscle, and that boils down to just five steps:

  • Use an aggressive calorie deficit.
  • Eat a high-protein diet.
  • Do a lot of heavy compound weightlifting.
  • Use high-intensity interval training to burn fat faster.
  • Take fat loss supplements that actually work.

Lets go over each.

Also Check: What Can I Eat Drink While Fasting

Water Fasting: Benefits And How To Do It The Right Way

Luisa Torres, PhDLuisa is a science communications manager at LifeOmic. She is a neuroscientist and science writer covering topics related to aging, metabolism, and brain health.

Luisa Torres, PhDLuisa is a science communications manager at LifeOmic. She is a neuroscientist and science writer covering topics related to aging, metabolism, and brain health.

What is it | Health benefits | Safety | Working out while water fasting | Tips

What Is Water Fasting & Does Water Fasting Make You Lose Weight

During a water fast, you dont eat or drink anything but water.

There is no defined time limit for water fasting, but medical advice normally recommends a maximum of 24 hours to three days without meals.

There has been a long history of people going on spiritual or religious fasts throughout history.

The natural health and wellness movement, on the other hand, has made water fasting increasingly fashionable, often in conjunction with meditation.

Also Check: How Many Pounds Can I Lose Intermittent Fasting

Water Fasting Can Help You Lose Weight But

Water fasting is often seen as a healthier form of crash dieting.

Now, if you know anything about how your metabolism works, you know that if you forgo any source of calories for a few days, youre going to lose weight.

Advocates of water fasting say theres more to the story, though.

They claim that if you want to lose fat as quickly and efficiently as possible, you need to put your body into a state of ketosis, and water fasting is one of the best ways to do this.

Are they right?

To learn the answer, you first need to understand and what ketosis is and how it works.

Ketosis is a metabolic process wherein your body gets energy from ketones instead of blood sugar .

Ketones or ketone bodies are energetic molecules produced by the liver that the body can make from fat.

When your body doesnt have an ample supply of carbs, ketone production rises to meet your energy needs. As your body adapts to burning more ketones for fuel, you enter a state of ketosis.

Now, to enter ketosis, you just need to severely limit or eliminate your carb intake, and you can do this in one of two ways:

  • Following a very low-carb diet .
  • In both cases, your body has to burn fatty acids for fuel instead of glucose.

    When most people enter ketosis through either of these methods, they experience rapid weight loss. Were talking five or ten pounds in a matter of days in some cases.

    This is why many people believe water fasting is a better way to lose weight than just restricting calories.


    Drinking Water Can Make You Burn More Calories

    How I Lost 50 Pounds in 30 DAYS ð?µ Water Fasting Weight Loss Guide

    Most of the studies listed below looked at the effect of drinking one, 0.5 liter serving of water.

    Drinking water increases the amount of calories you burn, which is known as resting energy expenditure .

    In adults, resting energy expenditure has been shown to increase by 2430% within 10 minutes of drinking water. This lasts at least 60 minutes .

    Supporting this, one study of overweight and obese children found a 25% increase in resting energy expenditure after drinking cold water .

    A study of overweight women examined the effects of increasing water intake to over 1 liter per day. They found that over a 12-month period, this resulted in an extra 2 kg of weight loss .

    Since these women didnt make any lifestyle changes except to drink more water, these results are very impressive.

    Additionally, both of these studies indicate that drinking 0.5 liters of water results in an extra 23 calories burned. On a yearly basis, that sums up to roughly 17,000 calories or over 2 kg of fat.

    Several other studies have monitored overweight people who drank 1-1.5 liters of water daily for a few weeks. They found a significant reduction in weight, body mass index , waist circumference and body fat .

    These results may be even more impressive when the water is cold. When you drink cold water, your body uses extra calories to warm the water up to body temperature.

    Also Check: Does Fasting Help With Belly Fat

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