How Long It Should Last
Typically, water fasts last anywhere from 24 hours to 3 days, but that can vary if youre following more of an IF routine. Generally, extended fasts without medical supervision are not recommended especially if you have any preexisting conditions.
Additionally, you probably shouldnt water-fast for a long period more than once or twice per month. Water fasting too often can deprive your body of vital nutrients that it can only get from food.
How Does Water Fasting Help In Weight Loss And Provide Other Benefits
Water fasting is used for many reasons including religious and spiritual reasons, for losing weight, detoxing, for other health benefits, and when preparing for a medical procedure such as a colonoscopy.
If you are thinking about going on a water diet for losing weight, there are some things you need to consider first. To benefit from a water diet, you need to be a healthy adult. If you are under 18 or underweight, it can be dangerous for your health.
The same goes for older persons. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, a water diet is not a healthy diet for you. Heart patients, people with type 1 diabetes, people suffering from uncontrollable migraines, or undergoing blood transfusion should not do a water diet. Those who are taking specific meditation for a long-term disease should also avoid water fasting.
If you are not going through any of the conditions stated above, you can safely follow a water diet. However, it is always advisable to always consult with your doctor before water fasting.
Staying Safe During Your Water Fast
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My Experience Of Water Fasting
If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that has been read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately.
I am not a doctor, I am just telling you my experience, please be mindful of overexerting yourself, giving blood, or doing strenuous workouts. People have died from drinking too much water and flushing out electrolytes causing cardiac arrest so please be careful and do your research, Speak with your doctor if you are worried or need advice.
Water Fasting Vs Intermittent Fasting
If water fast seems too extreme for you, you can reap a plethora of benefits from a short term fast. You dont need to fast for more than 24 hours to reap the benefits of fasting such as disease prevention, reduced inflammation, and weight loss.
Intermittent fasting is a form of fasting that can be done at your own pace to fit your unique goals and lifestyle. Even an overnight fast of 14-16 hours is beneficial for your health. You can also try a 5:2 style of fasting where you eat few calories for 2 days of the week and eat normally the other five.
Intermittent fasting protocols are more moderate and allow you to eat a greater variety of nutrients and foods during your eating window, making them more sustainable and easier on your body.
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Slowly Cut Back On Food
The best way to prepare the body for a water only fast is to slowly cut back on food. If you normally eat 3 meals per day, start cutting down one meal each week so that in 6 weeks time you will reduce it down to just one meal per day. This gradual reduction makes the transition easier and reduces discomfort during the early stages of the fast.
This slow elimination of calories allows the body time to get used to functioning with less fuel and stores up more energy in the muscles and liver, which are going to be your main energy sources during this type of fast.
Another thing you can do is drink more water during this week prior to the fast. Being hydrated at all times will help control hunger pangs and avoid headaches or lightheadedness during these first few days . You also want to stock up on your vitamins, as you wont be taking any during the 5-day fast.
What Happened When I Broke The Water Fast
Chats with my parents over the duration of the fast progressed from intrigue, to jokingly trying to convince me to break the fast, to strong concern. Id politely acknowledged their concerns and, on the eighth day, eased their concerns with a text to let them know I had decided to eat again.
From what I read on Zero Fasting, breaking the fast needs to be done gently. Light, clean and easy to digest foods that wont place too much strain on the stomach. Not too many flavours, either. I went with some chicken bone broth, smashed avocado and all-vegetable crackers. I also worked up to fried eggs and sauteed vegetables.
Eating for the first time in eight days was insane. Its hard to describe how good food tastes there was a heightened richness, as well as infinitely more details and nuances to the flavours that I had never noticed before. And once I broke the 8-day fast, the floodgates were open. I was constantly hungry for the following week. I still eat clean, unprocessed foods and in doing so added 6k to my body weight.
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Notes On Health Benefits:
This is OUR personal story about water fasting. Were not doctors and have never claimed to be. In no way, shape, or form are we stating that water fasting will cure anything. You should always check with your doctor before embarking on an extended fast!
Ive summarized our findings on the benefits of water fasting here, but if you prefer to see the research for yourself, we recommend reading Water Fasting for Wellness.
For a doctors viewpoint of water fasting, check out Fasting and Eating for Health.
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.
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The Truth About Fasting
The bottom line: Nutrition experts agree that fasting is a potentially dangerous, and not particularly effective, way to lose weight.
Instead of a fast, opt for a healthy eating plan that you can stick with long-term Healthy diets provide a minimum of 1,200 calories and include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean protein, and healthy fats, along with regular physical activity.
If you are not convinced and want to go on a fast, be sure to consult your physician first.
Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, is director of nutrition for WebMD. Her opinions and conclusions are her own.
Summary: Should You Try A Water Fast To Lose Weight Or Reap Other Benefits
If you want to use water fasting as a weight loss tactic at home and dont have any contraindications, it could be acceptable, Katz says. Just check with your doctor first and make sure you dont do it for any longer than 48 hours. Anything over that period should be done under constant medical supervision to prevent unwanted consequences, Bhatia says. Regardless, if you experience any side effects, like dizziness, light-headedness, or fainting, stop fasting immediately.
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When Water Fasting For Weight Loss It Is Not Uncommon To Lose As Many As 40 And Even 50 Pounds In The First Nine
If you are overweight , losing 20 pounds quickly can reduce your risk factor for a variety of ilnesses such as Type II Diabetes and heart disease, among many others. It will also relieve the stress on the joints caused by excess weight. When you see the results, you will feel much better about yourself you’ll be encouraged to do more to improve your life and health.AND THAT CAN HAPPEN IN JUST SEVEN DAYS OF WATER FASTING!
When you are fasting to lose weight, the digestive system goes into hibernation, similar to a bear in winter. The body shifts its focus from constantly digesting and filtering food to burning accumulated fat. It eats away at the fat reserves and slims you down quickly. The body becomes a large furnace, focusing strictly on burning fat reserves and cleansing toxins in the colon and blood stream.
Common Questions About Water Fasting
Can you have coffee while water fasting?
A water fast should include just that water. Consuming coffee or tea activates the liver to detoxify caffeine molecules, so while your digestive system is getting a break, your liver is still working hard. That said, some experts say if its between not fasting or fasting with coffee/tea, use them.
Should you brush your teeth?
Yes! Your mouth has a microbiome, and you will still build up bacteria on your teeth, even if it isnt from food.
Do you need salt/electrolytes?
Studies show that during a short-term fast, although sodium levels drop, they do stay in the normal range. However, long-term fasts should be medically supervised to ensure the body does not go into starvation mode. To be safe, Id recommend consuming a few bottles of electrolyte infused water per day or taking a daily multivitamin along with a pinch of salt.
What about ketoacidosis?
Ketoacidosis occurs when fat is being broken down too quickly, and it can cause serious health problems. Ketoacidosis is most commonly seen in patients with Type 1 Diabetes, but extended periods of ketosis can also trigger ketoacidosis.
While a short-term fast is generally safe for healthy individuals, fasting while dealing with other physical stressors including exercise, lactation, or low body fat percentage can cause ketoacidosis.
Be sure to consult your doctor if you have any concerns prior to or during a fast.
Do I need to worry about refeeding syndrome after water fasting?
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What To Expect On A 5
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.
Why You Should Avoid Doing A Water Fast For Longer Than 2 Days
If you want to get to a healthy weight, look at water fasting not as a diet but a tactic that you try for a few days before returning to eating. Perhaps youve tried to exercise and use portion control. Maybe youve even eaten the highest quality foods that fill you up on the fewest calories. Not confident that those two options are doing the trick? This is where water fasting might come into play. But note: Theres no metabolic magic in fasting, and it may only work as well as caloric restriction, Katz says.
The problem with fasting, whether its water fasting or another type? Many people assume that if theyre not eating one or two days a week, they can eat whatever they want on the other days, and thats just plain wrong. Food isnt just about losing weight, Katz says. Everything in your body depends on the quality of your diet.
You might see that three- and seven-day water fasts are popular online, but thats longer than most experts advise. If you dont have any conditions that would make a water fast a no-go for you and youve cleared this approach with your healthcare team first Bhatia recommends not doing it any longer than 24 to 48 hours. This is when issues of brain fog and fatigue really start to set in, she says. Check with your physician first, and if at any point you dont feel well during the fast, call your doctor.
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Focus On Certain Healthy Foods
There are several foods that you may wish to include in your diet to combat water retention.
Potassium-rich foods are often recommended, as potassium can help balance sodium levels and increase urine production, helping you drop excess water .
The following foods and herbs are often recommended by alternative practitioners to drop water weight. Some clinical evidence supporting their use:
- Corn silk (
- 39 ).
Although bloated belly is usually not caused by water retention, you may also wish to limit or temporarily remove foods that may cause bloating.
These include highly processed foods, foods with lots of fiber and sometimes beans and dairy. You can also try sticking to low-FODMAP foods for a while to see if that helps.
Summary Certain foods and herbs can act as diuretics and reduce water retention. Combine them with easily digestible foods that dont cause bloating or intolerances.
Consider Prescription Water Pills
Prescription diuretics and water pills are sometimes used to treat excess water retention .
They work by activating your kidneys to flush out excess water and salt through urine.
These diuretic pills are often prescribed to those with heart or lung issues and to help with blood pressure, prevent fluid buildup and reduce swelling.
Its important to note the difference between prescription diuretics and over-the-counter or online water pills.
Prescription pills have been clinically tested for long-term safety, whereas over-the-counter pills may lack clinical research and have not always been tested for safety.
Either type may help combat medically diagnosed edema or excess water weight.
Speak to your doctor before trying these.
Summary When looking into diuretic medication or pills, consult with a medical practitioner and take prescribed drugs under supervision.
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Reduce Your Carb Intake Progressively
Again, switching to a fasting mode should not be abrupt.
Instead, go for a slow, unhurried, and cautious shift to this new stage.
Lets say its Wednesday and youve decided to start your water fasting diet on Sunday.
What you can do is to start decreasing your carb intake from Wednesday itself or the next day.
You can have all your meals but this time in a reduced portion, especially carbs.
Help You Lose 1lb Per Day
If youre looking for a quick, short-term weight loss method that is safe consider this 1 day benefit of water fasting. When your body cant get access to carbohydrates its favorite source of energy, it starts to use stored fats. As a result you can lose about one pound of fat every day. This makes water fasting one of the most effective short-term weight loss methods. This happens to be one the most significant 24 hour water fast weight loss results you would ever see.
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