Water fasting has become a popular method for weight loss in recent years, but many people aren't sure how to water fast or what the benefits are. Here, we look at the science behind water fasting and learn how this diet is used for weight loss.
What Is Water Fasting?
Water fasting is a type of fast that involves consuming nothing but water for an extended period. It's similar to intermittent fasting, another popular weight loss and health approach, but it's more extreme since you're not allowed to consume anything except water.
Water fasting is a form of detoxification and fasting, where the body mostly utilizes fats as an energy source rather than carbohydrates. The body then breaks down fats into ketone bodies via the liver. When this happens, you are in what is referred to as a ketogenic state. This state allows the body to burn stored fat instead of glucose (blood sugar) as a primary energy source.
Different Duration of Water Fasting and their benefits
Based on a study, there is a lack of data when it comes to the ideal duration of fasting. Healthline.com, a trusted website has advised that 24 to 72 hours is the ideal duration. More than this may have health risks. There are many different types of water fasts, but we will focus on the most common ones:
A 24-hour water fast is usually done for people who want to try it out for the first time or for people who just want to see how their body reacts. It helps flush out toxins from your body and gives you an idea of what it feels like when you don't eat anything at all.
A 3-day water fast is perfect if you want to lose weight quickly, especially if you have recently been eating unhealthy foods and have gained some extra kilos. During this time, your body will start burning fat reserves, which will help eliminate excess weight in no time!
A 5-day water fast is excellent if you want to cleanse your system and eliminate any remaining toxins in your body that may have been left behind during previous shorter fasts. If you have been doing shorter ones before, this might be worth trying out!
Benefits of Water Fasting
Water fasting is one of the most effective ways to lose weight quickly and safely because it reduces your calorie intake by about 90%. The average person loses 0.9 kg per day on a water fast.
Reduction in cholesterol levels
Cholesterol levels tend to be very high when you overeat food, especially junk food and processed foods that contain trans fats and saturated fats. However, when you fast on water alone, your body will start producing ketones, which reduce cholesterol levels by burning fat instead of carbohydrates or sugars as fuel sources. This way, you can significantly lower your risk for heart disease by improving your cardiovascular health through water fasting.
Increased energy levels
When you fast, your body uses its stored energy reserves first before it begins to burn fat for fuel. This gives you increased energy throughout the day — making it easier for you to get through workouts and daily tasks without feeling fatigued or tired.
Improved mental clarity and focus
Fasting can help improve mental clarity and focus by giving your brain a break from all the food energy it normally burns up. As we digest food, our brains use up as much as 5% to 10% of our metabolic energy. This can leave us feeling tired and slow down our thinking process. Fasting gives our brains more time to rest so that they work more efficiently when we eat again. This helps us think clearly and positively during times when we need it most.
Detoxifies your body
You may be familiar with the term "detox" as a marketing term for juice cleanses and other weight loss products. But detoxification is a normal part of the human body's daily processes.
The kidneys and liver are responsible for removing harmful substances from our blood and eliminating them from our bodies in urine or bile. However, when we consume foods that aren't easily digested — like artificial sweeteners and refined carbohydrates — they remain in our digestive tract and are not fully absorbed by our bodies. These foods also contain toxins that can be harmful if they build up over time.
Water fasting allows your body to focus on eliminating these toxins instead of digesting food.
Risks of Water Fasting
While there are many benefits to water fasting, it is not without risks. Water fasting can cause adverse health effects if done incorrectly or for an extended period of time. The following are some potential risks associated with water fasting:
If people do not have enough sodium or other electrolytes in their diet, they may become dehydrated while practising water fasting. Dehydration can be particularly dangerous for those who are elderly or have diabetes since both conditions can increase the risk of dehydration during a fast. To reduce the risk of dehydration during your fast, drink plenty of water and make sure that you have adequate concentrations of sodium in your diet before beginning your fast.
Blood sugar levels drop when you fast because there are no carbohydrates in your system to fuel them. If they drop too low, it can cause seizures or even coma. Blood sugar levels should be monitored regularly during any type of fast, so this does not happen.
One of the biggest risks associated with water fasting is muscle breakdown. When you don't eat enough calories or protein, your body will begin breaking down its own muscles to obtain the nutrients it needs to survive. This can lead to muscle wasting and weakness.
Water fasting improves your health by allowing all body organs to rest and regenerate. While water fasting may be safe for some, it is not for everyone. If you're considering water fasting as a weight loss tactic, talk to your doctor first and read up on the risks. Also, make sure you have proper support in place before you attempt the fast.
April is a fun-loving mother of three beautiful children. She is one of a few people who enjoy public speaking and loves motivating others. April is a registered nurse by profession but always had a passion for writing, thanks to Carrie Bradshaw. She has written over two thousand blogs and counting. She is also a link-building expert and works as the SEO Specialist for VPA Australia.