As the name says, a water fast means a person doesn’t consume anything else besides water. Common reasons for water fasting are:
- to lose weight;
- for spiritual or religious reasons;
- or to try to combat certain health problems.
Medical advice suggests water fasting from 24 hours to 3 days as the maximum. You should not follow a water fast for longer than this without medical supervision. If you have never done a water fast before, it’s a good idea to spend 3–4 days preparing your body for being without food. You can do this by eating smaller portions at each meal or by fasting for part of the day.
Water fasting can have many health benefits including:
- lowering inflammation;
- lowering a risk of several chronic diseases like like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
It has also been shown to help people with high blood pressure to lower their blood pressure. Water fasting may also promote autophagy, a process in which your body breaks down and recycles old, potentially dangerous parts of your cells. This might be beneficial for cancer prevention and treatment.
Despite its benefits, water fasting is not safe for everyone. If you are under 18 years old, are underweight, have an eating disorder, are pregnant or breastfeeding, have heart problems, have type 1 diabetes or are taking specific medication, you should seek advice from a medical professional before doing any fasting.
It’s essential to drink enough water during the fast, and spread the water intake throughout the day. Drinking too much water can be harmful, as it can lead to water intoxication. This happens when the amount of salt and other electrolytes in your body become too diluted.
When finishing the fast it’s very important to break the fast carefully by eating small meals. A big meal can lead to feeling sick and can even be dangerous.
Like other types of fasting, water fasting can help you lose weight. However, a lot of the weight you lose comes from water, and even muscle mass.
SUMMARY: Water fasting is a popular method of fasting that may have some health benefits. Either may have risks. Intermittent and alternative-day fasting might offer you the benefits of fasting and weight loss with fewer risks. These fasts allow you to eat some food, making them easier to follow long term.
Article by Suvi