When it comes to the world of wellness, one of the popular trends is water fasting. However, you must approach it with caution because although it can be helpful to reach your weight loss goals in a short-term period, it isn’t a sustainable approach to weight loss or health. It may also put you at risk for some health complications if it’s not done properly.
An Overview of Water Fasting
Basically, as its name implies, it is a kind of fasting in which all drinks and food are restricted except for water–no tea, no coffee, no sports drinks, no alcohol, and no food.
So, what to expect when water fasting? It usually lasts for a day or three. For safety purposes, you must not fast for longer than 3 days without proper medical supervision and clearance.
There aren’t any scientific guidelines on how to water fast. But some groups of people must not water fast without the supervision of their doctors. These individuals include those who are old, pregnant, and people with diabetes or gout. People with eating disorders aren’t also recommended to water fast.
If you haven’t tried water fasting before, it’s best to spend 3 to 4 days preparing your body without food. You may do this by eating small portions at every meal or by fasting for a few days of the week.
Water Fasting And Its Potential Benefits
There are several possible benefits of fasting, but it’s crucial to note that there’s no research on this. It’s also unclear whether or not this procedure of fasting offers the benefit. For instance, reducing your sodium or sugar intake for several days can provide a few benefits. If you’re drinking regularly, avoiding any alcoholic beverages for some days can help you enjoy benefits.
Some of the potential benefits of water fasting include the following:
Lowers Blood Pressure
Consuming less salt and drinking more water are associated with low blood pressure readings. It may let you do both, which can help you manage your blood pressure.
In a study, water fasting that’s medically supervised has shown to be effective for people with borderline hypertension. But, in this study, the patients fasted for about two weeks, which is longer than the recommended number of days. So, one to three days might not create the same effect.
Promotes Weight Loss
By restricting your caloric intake for a day or so, you’ll likely experience weight loss. But it’s important to remember that this weight loss is in the form of glycogen and water weight, not your actual fat loss.
Take note that it may take several days for your body to start burning fat since it uses that available energy, like glycogen and glucose, first.
Promotes Cell Recycling
The cell breaks down and is recycled every day. This process is known as autophagy, which may play an essential role in preventing heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Based on research done on animals, it promotes autophagy.
Protects Against Diabetes
In a research, it shows that any type of fasting, like water fasting, may help improve one’s sensitivity to insulin. The primary factor in the development of Type II diabetes is insulin resistance, so it’s possible that short-term water fasting may lessen the risk of diabetes and improve insulin sensitivity. However, it can only be achieved once it is done properly.
Water Fasting And Its Possible Dangers
Whether you decide to try a 2-day or 3-day fast, water fasting can be beneficial in some ways. However, there are also possible dangers that may be associated with it. One of these is that water fasting may cause nutrient deficiencies as you’ll only drink water.
Water fasting is also unhealthy for those who want to lose weight. The reason behind it is that water fasting for a day or two may help people lose about 2kg and it’s the kind of weight loss that can’t be considered as fat loss. In fact, it isn’t a sustainable approach since there’s no food allowed.
Water fasting may also exacerbate particular medical conditions. Both long-term and short-term fasting may worsen particular medical conditions as it may cause a sudden decrease in insulin levels, which impairs a diabetic patient’s blood glucose regulation. It may also increase the production of uric acid or cause heartburn due to an increase in stomach acid production.
While water fasting has many potential benefits, like helping you lose a few pounds, odds are such pounds are mainly stored carbohydrates and water. It takes days of calorie restriction for the body to start burning body fat. However, if you decide to water fast, you must be clear on the risks and always consult your doctor before you start this kind of fasting.