Everyone knows what fasting is. Fasting is a way of restricting what you eat and has been done for millennia.
What is water fasting?
Water fasting has become very popular in recent years. It is a version of fasting where you restrict everything you eat except for water. A human being can survive without food for up to 40 days. The same human will find it tough to go for more than two days without water. The reason- our bodies are made up of 65-70% of water, give or take a number of variables.
Water fasting is a quick way of losing weight with many studies showing that water fasting could also have a number of other health benefits. Water fasts should be followed for twenty-four to seventy-two hours. Anything longer could have serious medical consequences; the only times its practiced for longer is under trained medical supervision.
Tips for water fasting
Here are a couple of tips to help you accomplish your goals with fasting:
1. Don’t drink too much or too little water
Men should be drinking around thirteen cups of water and other fluids every day. Thirteen cups should roughly translate to three liters of water. Women should drink nine cups of water which is a little more than two liters of water (2.2 liters).
2. Prepare for hunger pangs
Work through your hunger pangs by drinking one to two glasses of water. Follow up by lying down and resting. The food cravings usually pass by doing this. Hunger pangs are your body’s way of telling you to get something to eat; it’s just looking out for you. Following a short-term fast doesn’t have any serious side effects and can actually be good for your health. Distracting yourself by reading a book or meditating is highly recommended.
3. Break your fast slowly
When the timer hits zero, anyone would want to stuff their face with food after going so long without food. However, this can be counter-productive as your body would be in survival mode which would undo all of the hard work you’ve put into the fast. Break your fast by consuming orange or lemon juice in the beginning and working your way up from there. Eat small amounts of food every two hours after you’ve broken your fast. Go from food that is easy to digest to food that is harder to digest. Here’s a list of food that goes from easy to harder to digest.
- Fruit juice
- Vegetable juice
- Raw fruit and green leafy vegetables
- Vegetable soup and cooked vegetables
- Cooked grains and beans
- Milk, dairy, and eggs
- Meat, fish, and poultry
- Everything else
Health benefits of water fasting
Some of the benefits that studies have highlighted are that water fasting might lower the risk of certain chronic diseases and might stimulate autophagy. Autophagy refers to the process that helps the body break down and recycle the old parts of cells.
Several studies have established a link between water fasting and a lower risk of cancers, heart disease, and diabetes. There are also many other diets modeled after the water fast because of its health benefits. An example of such a diet is the lemon detox cleanse which can be followed by only drinking a mixture of lemon juice, water, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper, several times per day for up to seven days.
People who can benefit from water fast include people with –
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Weight problems
The most popular reason why water fast is undertaken is for weight loss. This is because when the body doesn’t have access to carbohydrates, it turns to fats for fuel to burn as energy. Most people struggle with weight loss because the body is tuned to use carbohydrates for fuel first before turning to fats for energy.
However, you should be careful. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends taking weight loss slowly by combining exercise with a healthy diet. Changing eating habits will also bring about a positive change. Cutting down on sugary foods and snacks as well as soda and energy drinks will do you wonders.
Other fasting & detoxifying on regular basic ways
It’s easy to ignore the other ways of fasting and detoxifying when you’ve been reading up on water fasts. Here are the other types of fasts practiced by people around the world. There is no regular way of fasting as each type of fast is modeled after what a person intends to accomplish.
Juice fasts are pretty easy to understand. They are all about drinking the liquids from fruits and vegetables for a specified length of time. This can range from a day to two weeks.
Cleansing fasts involve using a liquid drink which contains lemon juice, a form of simple sugar which supplies calories, and a spice, such as cayenne pepper.
Partial fasts involve excluding a type of food from your diet. Examples of commonly excluded food in partial fasts are rice and meat. Partial fasts can restrict food to less than one in three meals.
Liquid protein fast
Obese patients benefit the most from liquid protein fasts and generally make up the highest amount of practitioners. Liquid protein fasts can make a person lose anywhere from ten to one hundred pounds but should only be undertaken under medical supervision.
Diagnostic fasts are exactly what their name suggests. It is a type of fast done for testing purposes. A person undergoing a diagnostic fast must stay away from food and drink for eight to twelve hours prior to testing. Water is exempt from the fast and can be consumed without worry.
Religious fasts are one of the oldest types of fasts. They are done for spiritual reasons. The Daniel fast is an example of a religious fast. It can be seen as akin to a partial fast which restricts all food except for fruits, vegetables, grains, and water for twenty-one days.