Why You Dont Need A Detox Diet
It sounds logical that fasting could cleanse your body of harmful substances that could cause a host of ailments like obesity, fatigue, and headaches. But there is no scientific evidence that you need to fast to “cleanse” your body or remove toxins.
Does Water Fasting Fight Aging
Some water fasting exponents claim it can delay or reverse aging, improve your skin tone, and increase your energy levels.
In other words, when your body is scrambling for energy, it starts rooting through the garbage in your cells for scraps.
And according to many fitness gurus, this slows aging, wards off disease, and improves your health in just about every way you can think of.
Whats the science say about this, though?
Despite the brouhaha about autophagy in some corners of the Internet, we dont know how much fasting really influences this process in humans, or if it does, how much of an effect that would have on your health over the long term.
Heres what we know:
Fasting promotes autophagy , and autophagy seems to be involved in the prevention of degenerative diseases.
Autophagy is going on all the time anywaywhether youre water fasting or notand right now, there isnt a single study on people that shows water fasting is the best way to increase autophagy, or that this offers any health benefits.
Although ROS are generally considered unhealthy under all circumstances, this isnt the case.
Hard Truths About Weight Loss
But thats not all. Dr. Bhatia says water fasting can strain the kidneys and lead to nutrient deficiencies as well. That same muscle wasting that water fasting can trigger can lead to excess protein delivery to the kidneys, which makes these organs have to work harder.
Other side effects may include fainting, brain fog, fatigue, and in women, alterations in hormone levels if done for a prolonged period, she says. Fainting, brain fog, and fatigue is likely the result of low blood sugar from not eating, notes Harvard Health Publishing. Yet more research is needed on whether fasting alters hormone levels in women. For example, a small study published in 2014 in the journal Clinical and Experimental Obstetrics and Gynecology found that after one month of Ramadan fasting, the hormonal changes in 30 women were statistically insignificant. However, Ramadan fasting happens between dawn and sunset, so people can eat at night, unlike the water fasting described in this article.
One thing about water fasting is for sure: Because its self-imposed starvation, which isnt a healthy or maintainable way to lose weight, you go back to eating food after the fast and the weight is likely to come back, perhaps even more than before, says Kelly Kennedy, RDN, staff nutritionist at Everyday Health. This can set you up for yo-yo dieting, which wreaks havoc on your metabolism and can have other negative health effects. Even worse? It can trigger disordered eating in some people, she says.
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May Improve Insulin And Leptin Sensitivity
Insulin and leptin are important hormones that affect the bodys metabolism. Insulin helps the body store nutrients from the bloodstream, while leptin helps the body feel full (
Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage parts of cells. They are known to play a role in many chronic diseases .
Moreover, animal research has found that water fasting may suppress genes that help cancer cells grow. It may also improve the effects of chemotherapy .
Keep in mind, only a handful of studies have analyzed the effects of water fasting in humans. More research in humans is needed before making recommendations.
Research shows that water fasting may lower the risk of many chronic diseases and promote autophagy. However, most research is from animal or short-term studies. More studies are needed before recommending it.
Although water fasting may have some benefits, it comes with health risks.
Here are a few dangers and risks of water fasting.
What Is Water Fasting Exactly
There may be no easier diet to define than water fasting, for this approach involves exactly what it says. Water fasting is complete absence of all substances, except pure water, in an environment of complete rest, says Alan Goldhamer, doctor of chiropractic and founder of the TrueNorth Health Center in Santa Rosa, California, who runs medically supervised water fasts that last anywhere from 5 to 40 days . The idea behind being at complete rest , Dr. Goldhamer says, is your body wont need as many calories.
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Use An Aggressive Caloric Deficit
Studies show that the only way to lose a significant amount of fat is to eat fewer calories than you burn.
You see, the reason youre carrying excess body fat is, over time, you consistently ate more calories than you burned. And the only way to get rid of that excess fat is to do the opposite: eat less than you burn.
When you do this, youre in a caloric deficit because, well, your energy intake is falling short of your bodys needs. It must get that energy from somewhere, though, and its go-to is body fat.
Now, the larger the caloric deficit, the faster the weight loss, but if you make it too large , youre going to run into various problems related to starvation dieting.
You want to avoid that, but you also want to push the envelope as much as we can. That is, you want to be aggressive in your fat loss efforts, but not reckless. .
To put yourself in that sweet spot, set your calorie deficit at 20 to 25% .
Research shows that this will allow you to lose fat rapidly without losing muscle.
Sure, you might feel twinges now and then, but nothing like what youd experience with water fasting.
Want to learn more about how to calculate how many calories you should eat? Check out this article.
Water Fasting And Muscle Loss
In this part of the guide, we’ll take a closer look at the research that can help us understand muscle loss during water fasting.
You will find out how much muscle mass you can expect to lose .
You will also see how water fasting compares to other low-calorie diets .
And most importantly, you will discover an alternative to water fasting that doesn’t destroy your muscle mass .
You can find more actionable details in the part of my guide that explains everything about water fasting and muscle loss.
Water Fasting Tips And Tricks
In this section of my guide you will see the science behind some advanced water fasting tips and tricks.
You will learn 3 tricks that will help you enter a state of high fat burn up to 3 days earlier.
I will also show you a couple of science-backed tips you can use to better target your body fat reserves, while simultaneously reversing the loss of muscle mass.
For more details on this, visit the part of my guide that contains some advanced water fasting tips and tricks.
Dangers Of Fasting For Weight Loss
When you dramatically reduce your calorie intake, you will lose weight. But it can also cause all kinds of health problems, including muscle loss. Further, when you start fasting, your body goes into conservation mode, burning calories more slowly.
Keep in mind that the initial weight lost on a fast is primarily fluid or “water weight,” not fat. And when you go back to eating, any lost weight usually gets a return ticket back. Not only do most people regain weight lost on a fast, they tend to add a few extra pounds because a slower metabolism makes it easier to gain weight. Worse, the weight that is regained is likely to be all fat — lost muscle has to be added back at the gym.
Side effects of fasting include dizziness, headaches, low blood sugar, muscle aches, weakness, and fatigue. Prolonged fasting can lead to anemia, a weakened immune system, liver and kidney problems, and irregular heartbeat. Fasting can also result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies, muscle breakdown, and diarrhea. When you drink laxative concoctions during a fast, there is an increased risk of fluid imbalance and dehydration.
The risks get more complicated and severe the longer you stay on a fast, or if you repeatedly go on fasts.
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In Conclusion: What Is Water Weight And How Do You Lose It
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The Truth Behind Fasting And Fat Loss
While most people know that weight loss occurs when you burn more calories than you consume, the science of slimming down is a little more complex. Your metabolism is the process by which your body burns calories in order to keep you breathing, keep your blood circulating basically, keep you alive, according to the Mayo Clinic. The speed of your metabolism is largely determined by your body composition: The more muscle and less fat you’ve got, the speedier your metabolism.
Although fasting means you consume fewer calories overall, your body also starts to burn those calories more slowly. Crash diets, like fasts, can cause your body to burn muscle for energy instead of carbs or fat, which leads to a slower metabolism, according to the UK’s National Health Service.
Fasting has also been shown to have little benefit over standard calorie-restricted dieting, according to a July 2017 study published in JAMA. After comparing people who followed an alternate-day fast to those who followed a standard calorie-restricted diet, researchers found that avoiding food altogether had no advantage in weight loss or weight maintenance.
Much of the long-term research on fasting has been done in rodents more research is needed to replicate the results in humans, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
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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.
Why Does Your Body Retain Extra Water
Carbs and sodium play the outsized role in excess water retention. Carbs are stored in your muscles and liver as glycogen, your bodys preferred energy source each gram of glycogen, in turn, packs away about 3 grams of water with it, explains Nick Clayton, C.S.C.S., the personal training program manager for the National Strength and Conditioning Association . Meanwhile, the electrolyte sodium attracts water in the spaces outside of your cells and in your plasma, says Karen Ansel, M.S., R.D., author of Healing Superfoods for Anti-Aging: Stay Younger, Live Longer. That means when you knock back a burger with fries, the heavy load of sodium and carbs store extra water weight in your tissues.
The amount of water weight your body stores can vary a lot, but the average person carries one to five pounds, Clayton says athletes can train their bodies to stash away double that .
Certain medications can also cause you to retain water, Health reported. Generally, these include prescriptions that manage high blood pressure such as calcium channel blockers, corticosteroids, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . Certain diabetes medications can also cause water weight. Your doctor can discuss whether your specific prescriptions cause water retention.
However, that’s not to say that these drugs cause weight gain. It’s important to realize that water weight is not the same as fat loss, meaning that decrease on the scale may not change your body composition.
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Iama Person That Just Finished A 10 Day Water Only Fast Amaa
So it was no food of any kind for ten days and about 128oz of water per day. I am alive and well and I think better off than I started ten days ago. I would do it again and plan to do another 10 day or even longer fast at some point. I’m hooked.
The first three days are horrible as others will tell you. I felt like I had the flu on day three. Some of that was due to caffeine withdrawal I’m sure. I had a really bad headache on day two and day three was terrible flu like symptoms. Then day four was great and day five through ten was the best I’ve felt in a long time. Each day got better than the last. I really could have gone on longer without a problem.
I actually went to the gym yesterday and I have not lost any strength that I could tell.
The hunger pains for me only lasted the first couple of days, after that I was never hungry. My facial skin started looking really really glowing about day four and I would do it again for just the skin improvements.
About day five I had a tremendous surge of energy. It’s hard to describe but you just feel so good and it’s like a heavy caffeine buzz but no crashing after it wears off, you just feel good.
After day four I could fall asleep at night easily and sleep much more soundly and woke up before the alarm feeling great and rested.
I posted an AMA here when I started:
Here is some stuff on wikipedia on fasting:
And another link:
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Typical Fasting Weight Loss Plans
Fasting regimens vary, but the basic premise usually starts with a strict regimen allowing only water, juice and/or some kind of laxative concoction. Some plans allow a few solid foods, but are still called fasts because they provide so few calories.
Not all fasts are created equal. Some can be perfectly safe, such as medical fasts supervised by a physician. Religious and cultural fasts are typically undertaken as an act of devotion, last from 24-48 hours, and are not intended to promote weight loss.
Fasts lasting a day or two are unlikely to be dangerous for most healthy adults. But high-risk people, the elderly, anyone with a chronic disease, pregnant women, and children are advised against any type of fasting.
The real danger lies in staying on the fast for prolonged periods, anywhere from three days to a month.