Benefits and Side Effects of Water Fasting

drinking water

What Is Water Fasting?

Water fasting is a type of fasting in which you only drink water to reduce oxidative stress blood pressure lose weight, among other benefits. This fast usually lasts 24 to 72 hours and may be longer if your doctor advises so.

Fasting, generally, boosts metabolism and rejuvenates the body, while water fast specifically cleans out damaged cells and replaces them with newly formed ones. Doing a-day water fast will boost metabolism and help shed some weight.

Who Should Do a Water Fast?

  • Those who have a doctor’s prescription
  • People who want to boost their immunity
  • People who are overweight
  • Those on a supervised fasting program

Who Shouldn`t Do a Water Fast?

  • People who hypoglycemia
  • Diabetics
  • People on any medication
  • Those who just had a surgery
  • Pregnant women
  • Women who just had babies

6 Benefits of Water Fasting

Promotes Autophagy

Autophagy is the body’s way of cleaning up itself by discharging waste produced via cell degradation, as well as components that are neither functional nor required for bodily activity. Autophagy reduces the risk of neurodegenerative diseases which usually occur as a result of abnormal protein aggregation. Practicing water fasting 1-3 day(s) every 15 days will enhance this bodily clean-up process.

Lowers Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases

Periodic or intermittent fasting lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Going on a water fast for a day can reduce triglyceride levels and increase total cholesterol and HDL levels.

Lowers Blood Pressure

dates benefitsAdequate water consumption and reduced salt intake are simple and reliable ways to lower blood pressure. With appropriate medical supervision, water fasting for long periods can help manage blood pressure.

Improves Insulin Sensitivity

Insulin and leptin regulate blood glucose levels and hunger respectively, and fasting generally improves insulin sensitivity and blood glucose regulation. There are studies that show that intermittent fasting for an eight-hour period could improve insulin sensitivity and decreased appetite. Note, however, that this is not safe for diabetics.

Lowers Oxidative Stress

Water fasting is one of the surest ways to reduce oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs as a result of the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), owing to an unhealthy lifestyle and poor eating habits.

Lowers Risk of Chronic Diseases

Water fasting lowers the risk of some chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. It protects the heart against damage from free radicals, suppresses genes that aid cancer cells grow, and improves the effects of chemotherapy.

6 Side Effects of Water Fasting

Unhealthy Weight Loss

Water fasting for 24-48 hours may bring about the loss of muscle, water weight, and carbs, and this can be unhealthy.


Despite the fact that you`re drinking a lot of water during the fast, it`s not enough to rehydrate your body`s cells because 20% of bodily water is from the foods we eat. Water fasting increases urinary output, leaving your cells dehydrated.

Orthostatic Hypotension

Orthostatic hypotension is a sudden decrease in systolic blood pressure of 20 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure of 10 mmHg when one suddenly stands.


While water fasting, your body suffers nutrient inadequacy, and this might cause weakness, dizziness, and brain fogging. This could cause a loss of focus and concentration.

Risk of Binge-Eating

Having experienced zero-calorie intake, you might binge-eat once you break your fast, which may expose you to digestive issues.

May Worsen Some Medical Conditions

Water fasting may worsen certain medical conditions. It could cause a sudden drop in insulin levels, thereby inhibiting blood glucose regulation in people suffering from diabetes. That`s not all, as it may worsen gout, cause heartburn, and increase stomach acid production.

How to Water Fast

waterThere are two sub-stages of water fasting: they are the exclusive water fast which lasts 24-72 hours, and the post-fast eating phase which lasts 1-3 day(s).

Exclusive Water Fast

Here, you`re only allowed to drink water; no herbal teas, juices, and non-alcoholic beverages. You`re only required to drink enough water throughout the day. Here are some tips on practicing exclusive water fast.

  • If you are new to fasting, start by going without food for only 4 hours: have a heavy breakfast at 8 a.m., then another at noon.
  • You may then increase the fasting duration gradually to 8 hours.
  • Load up on dietary fiber, proteins, and healthy fats before sunrise, then eat again after sunset.
  • Increase the fasting duration to 24 hours if you can. You may do this once or twice a week.

Post-Fast Eating Phase

A number of people binge-eat once they break their fast, and this is outright unhealthy. You shouldn`t break your fast with heavy meals; instead, try breaking with some dry fruits,  healthy juices, or smoothies. Here are some tips on how to manage your post-fast eating phase better.

  • Incorporate lean protein and whole grains in your diet to improve strength and replenish muscle loss.
  • Consume nuts, seeds, and dry fruits to restore omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Avoid eating fried and processed foods.

Other Types of Fasting

Periodic Fasting

This entails regular eating for up to 24 hours, and only according to your appetite on the other days. The 5:2 diet is an example of periodic fasting, as it requires that you fast for two days and eat your normal diet for the other five days each week.

Alternate Day Fasting

Here, on alternate fasting days, you either fast completely or consume a low-energy diet. On your feasting days, you`re only allowed to eat according to your appetite.

Time-Restricted Feeding

This type of fast limits your food consumption to a certain time period of the day. The 16:8 diet is a type of time-restricted fasting because you only eat for eight hours of the day and fast for the remaining 16 hours.

Facts About Fasting

  • Intermittent fasting prevents the formation of tumors, and some studies even claim that it delays it just as chemotherapy does.
  • Intermittent fasting increases the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs in preventing the formation of cancer.
  • Fasting lowers the risk of developing heart disease and type-2 diabetes.
  • A recent study reveals that alternate-day fasting for a period of eight weeks reduces the triglycerides levels in the body by 32%, and LDL cholesterol by 25%.
  • Fasting specifically reduces the risk of coronary artery disease.
  • While fasting, the body burns up some LSD cholesterol to provide fuel.
  • The body`s consumption of LSD cholesterol decreases insulin sensitivity and diabetes, as well as contributes to an increase in blood pressure.
  • Eat sufficient fruits while fasting. At this time, your body dips into your glycogen stores, just as it does when you’re working out intensely. The natural sugars in fruits will replenish your glycogen stores, and hydrate you immensely.
  • While fasting, insulin levels dip down while growth hormone levels tip up, enabling your body to burn fat while preserving muscles.
  • Fasting changes cellular gene expression to improve longevity and protect you from severe disease.
  • You should drink a lot of fluid while you fast and after. A warm beverage will help stimulate digestion when you start eating. Ginger teas, hot lemon water, and other warm beverages are great for your gut at this time.

Now that you Know…

Water fasting, like other types of fasting, is highly beneficial to your body. Amid its numerous health benefits, there are side effects you need to be careful about. Fast in moderation, particularly with your doctor`s advice, and enjoy the wonders of this fast; your body will be grateful you did.