Fasting is an old process that allows your body, mind, and soul to rejuvenate. Water fasting is a form of fasting in which you can only drink water. Oxidative stress, blood pressure, and weight loss may be minimized. Usually, water fasting lasts for 24 to 72 hours. You must have medical approval if you want to prolong the duration. Read on to learn about the benefits of water fasting, who should stop it, how to do it, and the risks if you push it too far.
Is water fasting a healthy idea for you?
Fasting is a perfect way to improve your appetite and rejuvenate your body. But it is not scientific or safe to have complete water fast for more than 72 hours.
Autophagy is associated with a short-term fast (water fast) (a process by which the body cleans out damaged cells and replaces them with newly formed ones). However, extended fasting can pose many health hazards and may prove to be dangerous.
To improve metabolism, one day of water fasting can be attempted under careful medical supervision. However, if you intend to lose weight, do not try this risky method for a long time. Water fasting is just a short-term solution that can be practiced for a period of 1-3 days once every 15 days.
Benefits Of Water Fasting
1. Lowers Blood Pressure
Drinking more water and minimizing salt is a way to minimize blood pressure. When regulated medically, water fasting can help control blood pressure for long periods.
Research by US scientists has shown that 82 percent of 68 individuals with minimal hypertension decreased the blood pressure after clinical water fasting.
More human studies are required, however, to evaluate the effects on blood pressure of short-term water fasting.
2. Improves Insulin Sensitivity
Insulin and leptin are respectively hormones that assist in the regulation of blood glucose and hunger. Fasting increases overall sensitivity to insulin and the control of blood glucose.
Research by Alabama University showed an improvement in insulin sensitivity and appetite intermittent fasting (8-hour period).
However, no studies have been performed to assess the potential effects of water fasting on blood glucose levels. Since it is water fasting, diabetes patients should consult a doctor before attempting.
3. Lowers Oxidative Stress
Another advantage of water fasting is the elimination of oxidative stress. Reactive oxygen (ROS) accumulation caused by a poor lifestyle and malnutrition increases oxidative stress and inflammation throughout the body. Eleven days of water fasting in ten volunteers decreased oxidative stress.
4. Lowers Risk Of Cardiovascular Diseases
Periodic or intermittent rapidity can help lower levels of cholesterol and triglyceride. But this is backed by very little research.
A pilot study showed that a day of fasting could minimize triglyceride concentrations and boost total cholesterol and HDL.
The report also notes that these short-term shifts do not have long-term consequences. More studies are needed to understand how water fasting can be used to decrease metabolic disease risk as a preventative treatment.
5. Promotes Autophagy
Autophagy is the process of removing waste from the body created by cell degradation or from damaged or unwanted components. It is simply a method of cleaning up the body.
The abnormal protein aggregation, which may be decreased by autophagy, triggers most neurodegenerative diseases. Fasting water once or twice a week helps purify abnormal cells.
There are no short-term treatments that can help clean cell debris by fasting for a short time. This factor needs to be illustrated by further human studies.
Side Effects Of Water Fasting
While you can drink plenty of water during fasting, rehydration of the cells is not necessary. From the foods we eat, we get 20% of the water, which is enough to hold water in the cells and tissues. Fasting water improves urinary output, leaving our cells dehydrated.
2. Unhealthy Weight Loss
Water fasting for 24-48 hours will help people lose almost 2 kg. This loss of weight should not be called fat loss, but the loss of weight, muscle, and carbs from water. It is an unnecessary loss of weight and not a safe solution, as no food, but water is allowed.
3. Orthostatic Hypotension
It is a popular problem among people who fast for a long time. It includes a sudden drop of 20 mmHg in systolic blood pressure and 10 mmHg in diastolic blood pressure when you stand up unexpectedly.
4. Exacerbate Certain Medical Conditions
Certain medical conditions can exacerbate both short-term and long-term fasting. It may result in a sudden decrease in insulin levels, which in people with diabetes impairs blood glucose control. It also increases the production of uric acid (medically known as gout). As it increases the production of stomach acid, it can also cause heartburn.
Your body loses nutrients during water fasting, and you can experience dizziness, fatigue, and brain fog. You might lose focus and concentration as your brain does not get enough fuel.
How To Fast
Two sub-stages are available: Exclusive Water Fast (24-72 hours) and Post-Fast Eating Process (1-3 days).
1. Exclusive Water Fast (24-72 hours)
You are permitted to drink only water in this process. No juices, herbal teas, non-alcoholic beverages are permitted. Throughout the day, drink enough water. There are a few pointers here:
- Try going without food for 4 hours if you are new to fasting. Get a healthy breakfast at 8:00 a.m. Break your fast at 12 and at noon.
- Increase the fasting time gradually to 8 hours.
- Try fasting over Ramadan. Until sunrise, load up on proteins, dietary fiber, and healthy fats. Eat it again after sunset.
- Increase the fasting time to 24 hours if you can. Once or twice a week, do this.
2. Post-Fast Eating Phase ( 1-3 days)
This step is important because you can tend to binge-eat once you break your fast. You need to be very careful, therefore, to post your fasting point. Don’t eat the hog. Break your fast with some dried fruits, accompanied by juices or smoothies that are good. Here are a couple of points:
- Include whole grains and lean protein in your diet to fill and improve muscle loss.
- Consume dried fruit and a combination of nuts and seeds to recover the fatty acids omega-3
- Do not binge on foods that are fried and refined.
If practiced under proper medical oversight, water fasting has many advantages. However, most animal studies have been carried out, and further human studies are required to assess its benefits or effectiveness.
If you have some medical problem, consult a doctor and a registered dietitian. Long-term fasting with water is not medically recommended, but consider intermittent fasting or alternate-day fasting if you want to fast.
Also Read: What To Eat And Avoid On Empty Stomach