All you need to know about water fasting All you need to know about water fasting

All you need to know about water fasting

 

By abstaining from consuming anything but water, fasting is an extreme practice that some people use to shed pounds, for spiritual or religious purposes, or to attempt to treat specific health issues.

It has been found that fasting on particular occasions may help with weight loss, although other approaches may be more successful in achieving long-term results.

Before attempting water fasting, individuals should ensure they are adequately prepared and choose an appropriate time to abstain from food when the body is not demanding too much energy.

What is water fasting?

A water fast is when a person does not eat and drinks nothing other than water.

The duration of water fasting can vary, but medical professionals typically advise limiting the fast to between 24 hours and three days.

People have participated in fasting for spiritual or religious purposes since ancient times. In recent years, water fasting has become a widespread practice among those who prioritise natural health and wellness, often accompanied by meditation.

Benefits

It might benefit people with risk factors for certain diseases to fast for a short period. The following are among them:

  • Heart disease

  • Being overweight

  • High blood pressure

  • High cholesterol

  • Diabetes

When the body's access to carbohydrates, its preferred energy source, is limited, it will begin to break down fats for energy. As a result, a fast can lead to weight loss because the body uses fat stores as fuel.

Healthily losing weight starts with changing your eating habits. Reducing sugar intake and limiting snacking can help. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics also recommends combining a healthy diet with exercise and gradually taking the weight loss process.

Safety

Fasting can have positive health effects, but some dangers can arise if it is done for too long or if someone has an existing health condition or is of a certain age. This can lead to physical harm.

Before engaging in a prolonged fast, it is prudent to seek medical advice. They can provide guidance on the best and safest approach and may even suggest doing the fast under supervision.

Therefore, it is not recommended that water fasting be done by people over 18 years old, under 18 years old, or underweight people.

Research

Intermittent fasting is an alternative to fasting for long durations. This involves alternating between periods of eating nothing or very few calories with periods of regular diet. One example is the 5:2 diet, where you consume a regular amount of calories five days a week and only one-quarter of your daily calories on the other two days.

Both intermittent fasting and a low-calorie diet were equally beneficial for weight loss and reduce the risks of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Furthermore, intermittent fasting was determined to be as easy to adhere to as a low-calorie diet.

Research conducted on mice and rats has indicated that fasting may help to protect against certain diseases, such as diabetes, and may even be able to delay the ageing process. In addition, studies have found that regularly fasting for short periods can lead to lower rates of diabetes, a lower BMI, and a decreased risk of coronary artery disease for those people being tested for blocked arteries.

Although there has not been a lot of research conducted on fasting in humans, some studies have found that fasting can positively impact blood pressure, body weight, and the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. However, it is essential to note that fasting can hurt the immune system of older adults, so it is recommended that they consult with a doctor if they are considering occasional water fasting.

Who should not fast?

Water fasting is not suitable for everyone, particularly for those who are under 18 or are older adults and for other people who

  • Are pregnant or breast-feeding

  • Are undergoing a blood transfusion

  • Have uncontrolled migraines

  • Are underweight

  • Have heart problems

  • Are taking specific medication; seek the advice of a doctor

  • Have an eating disorder

  • Have type 1 diabetes

Tips

For those who have never fasted, a 1-day fast may be an excellent way to start. However, if fasting for longer than three days is desired, it is essential to consult a medical professional before proceeding.

To prepare for fasting, people must take the following steps:

  • Eat high-energy foods before the fast

  • It might be best to pick a day when you are not at work so that you can rest

  • In case of illness or fatigue, avoid fasting

  • Avoiding strenuous exercise

By reducing meal size, you can gradually build up to a fast reducing meal size; you can gradually build up to a fast

It is essential to ensure that you are consuming adequate amounts of water while fasting and doing so throughout the day. Drinking too much water in one sitting can have adverse effects, so you must pace yourself when drinking.

After a water fast, a person should not abruptly consume large amounts of food but instead gradually increase their intake to prevent an upset stomach or feeling unwell.

What to expect

Fasting can harm energy levels and overall health. Many people experience fatigue, dizziness, weakness, and nausea when fast. It is essential to listen to your body; if these symptoms become severe, it is essential to eat something to avoid further health complications.

If you are fasting, it is essential to ensure you get enough rest, sit down, and avoid strenuous physical activity. It is normal to experience fatigue and irritability while fasting, but if you become disoriented or confused, you should seek medical attention.

Takeaway

Water fasting may have some potential health benefits. However, reducing overall calories can be as effective for weight loss and much safer. Intermittent fasting could be a better alternative for long-term health, as it can reduce the risks of heart disease and diabetes and be more sustainable than a lengthy water fast.

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