When most people hear “fast”, they immediately think of starvation diets or diets that people do to get rid of it quickly. But, fasting has more benefits than just losing weight. It’s proven to help with everything from brain health to mental clarity to chronic illness. It is also recommended by health experts for its many benefits.
If you’ve never tried fasting before, here’s a quick guide on how to do it safely to get the most out of your fast.
What Is Fasting?
When you fast, you do not eat or drink anything for a specified period of time. Apart from water. This is also why long-term fasting such as a three-day fast is often called a “water fast”.
The point of fasting is to temporarily stop putting calories into your body.
The obvious side effect of not eating is weight loss. But, not putting any food in your body for a certain period of time also helps to maintain good health.
What Are the Different Types of Fasting?
There are three main types of fasting;
1. Calorie Restriction
The most important fasting is known as calorie restriction. Most people have this image in their head when they hear the word “fasting”.
You abstain from food for a set period of time. The duration of these types of fasting can be anywhere from 18 to 48 hours.
2. Macronutrient Restriction
During this type of fasting, you won’t eat a lot of macronutrients (the three macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates, and fat).
Athletes who need a lot of protein and who often have stress on their stomachs are the ones who need this type of fasting the most.
3. Seasonal Eating
To achieve this kind of fasting, we need to go back to ancient times and find out how the available food would have changed according to the changing climate.
In the winter, people used to cut meat and tubers, while in the summer, fruits and cuts of meat were preferred. Eat only those foods that are naturally available at a given time of year.
Six Benefits of Fasting
The benefits of fasting are many and may vary from person to person. This is also affected by how often you fast. Some of its benefits include:
#1. Cleansing Your Body
When you fast, your digestive system cleans itself. Cleansing your gut of bacteria will get the system started again.
#2. Improving Brain Function
Your brain works best when you are dehydrated. During a water fast, you replace your food with water. It helps clear the fog and gives you mental clarity and increases focus.
#3. Increases Defense
Your immune system will be stronger if you fast regularly. A strong immune system means fewer days of illness.
#4. Reduces Stress
Stress causes your body to produce cortisol, the stress hormone that makes you feel hungry. Cortisol also makes you more sensitive to stress, so you may crave unhealthy foods. When you stop eating, your body produces less cortisol.
#5. Mental Health
You will be calmer and sharper during fasting. You will not be distracted by thoughts about food or other things in life. Instead, you’ll focus on what’s important and get more mental health benefits.
#6. It helps to lose weight
If you want to lose weight, try fasting for 72 hours. You will burn up to 500 extra calories every day.
5 Effects of Fasting
Fasting is a great way to lose weight, but there are side effects that need to be shown.
One of the side effects of fasting is headaches. Most of the time, it happens in the first few days when your body is detoxing.
Nausea is another common side effect of fasting. You may experience nausea after fasting. It just means that you need to drink more water and stay hydrated throughout the day.
#3. Painful Hunger
Fasting can make you feel hungrier than usual. You may feel nauseous and dizzy. To avoid these symptoms, it is important to drink plenty of water.
#4. Dry Mouth
Dry mouth is another common side effect. This happens because your saliva production decreases, which can also cause your lips to dry out.
Constipation is another side effect of fasting. It is caused by dehydration. Drink plenty of water to prevent constipation.
Is Fasting Three Days Good?
Yes! A three-day fast, or water fast, offers many amazing health benefits. However, it is not recommended for everyone. People with certain diseases should not fast without medical supervision.
Pregnant women should not fast. Their bodies can’t make enough fat, which can cause problems for their children.
Children and young people should not try to fast because their bodies and organs are not mature. Fasting is not recommended for those who are underweight (BMI < 18.5), which most children have as they grow.
In addition, diabetics or those with other medical conditions should consult their doctors before fasting as this may worsen their health problems.
What Are the Benefits of Fasting for Three Days?
There are several benefits of fasting, many of which are listed above. When you fast for 72 hours, your body goes through different stages that have different benefits. Here is the best explanation you can have for a 3-day fast.
After 12 hours
When you start fasting, your body enters ketosis from the 12th hour. This is the metabolism in which the body gets more energy from fat instead of glucose.
This speeds up the rate at which your body burns fat.
During ketosis, your liver converts fat into fatty acids called ketones. These ketones enter your bloodstream and provide energy to your brain and muscles.
Ketosis also reduces inflammation in the body. Chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and diabetes are associated with inflammation.
During ketosis, your body releases hormones called glucagon and insulin. Glucagon helps regulate blood sugar levels, while insulin regulates the amount of sugar in your body.
After 18 hours
After about 18 hours, your body starts burning fat for fuel. Your body starts making more ketones and less insulin. This makes it easier for your body to use fat for energy.
After 24 hours
After 24 hours, your body will enter the next phase called autophagy.
Autophagy is a natural process that recycles old cells and tissues. It is a self-destructive process that helps us live longer.
Autophagy is triggered by starvation and stress when your body doesn’t get enough food. This process involves breaking down damaged organelles such as mitochondria, ribosomes, and lysosomes to make new ones.
It helps eliminate toxins and bacteria and is one of the reasons we should eat every two to three hours.
After 48 hours
After 48 hours, your body enters the next phase where other hormones such as growth hormone increase.
Growth hormone is produced by the pituitary gland. It promotes protein synthesis, muscle growth, and bone growth. It also increases metabolism and boosts the immune system.
At 72 hours
Finally, at 72 hours, your body enters a final phase called catabolic.
Catabolism is different from anabolism. Anabolism is the building process while catabolism is the breaking down process.
Your body starts using protein, carbohydrates, and fat for energy. It also removes waste products such as cholesterol and uric acid.
How Can You Do a Three Day Fast? 5 Important Tips
Usually, a three-day fast consists of drinking only water to keep your body hydrated. Some may include black coffee and tea in your diet or adding lemon or sea salt to your water.
Aside from these basics, here are our five essential tips to ensure a safe and effective three-day fast.
1: Ask an Expert
Consult your doctor before fasting to make sure you are in good health. Your doctor may recommend that you eat a high-calorie diet before you start fasting because your body will recover.
Additionally, you can reduce the amount of food and portions you eat as a way to prepare for fasting. It will help you prepare for fasting for three days.
2: Listen to Your Body
During the first few hours of fasting, you may feel relaxed. However, after that, it is important to pay attention to your feelings.
Do not do any strenuous exercise. Doctors may advise you to stop exercising while fasting. If you feel unwell or tired, stop fasting.
Remember that your health is very important, so avoid pushing your body too much because it can cause serious injury.
3: Practice Fasting Correctly
After you finish your fast, you may want to partake in a big spread. Since you haven’t eaten in a few days, it makes sense.
When breaking a diet, however, there are many things to consider. And because many people do not know this, they end up spoiling their food in a dangerous way.
Your digestive system needs something easy to handle after a few days without food. Fruit, such as watermelon, or a smoothie is a great snack to stop eating with. You can have bone broth to get extra nutrients into your body.
Give your body time to adjust to the food before you start eating solids.
4: Do This With Someone
Fasting with someone like a friend or partner is good. You can share your fasting experience with someone and let them feel and experience what you do.
It is also good to have someone with you during the fast to encourage and support you. Fasting is hard, so doing it with someone can make it easier.
5: Encourage Fasting
Different people react differently to fasting for three days. If you have never fasted before, it is best to start with a 24-hour fast and see how your body changes in 24 hours.
You will find many benefits in it, but there will also be some bad things. This shows if you are healthy enough to fast for 3 days.