What You Need to Know to Start Dry Fasting
Fasting is the voluntary abstinence from food. For thousands of years, religious groups all over the world have practiced it. Fasting, on the other hand, has recently become a popular way to lose weight.
Dry fasting, also known as absolute fasting, limits both food and liquid intake. There are no liquids allowed, not even water, broth, or tea. This is in contrast to most fasts, which encourage water consumption.
There are numerous ways to fast. Dry fasting can be accomplished using any method, including:
- Fasting on alternate days
Intermittent fasting alternates between periods of fasting and eating. Many people follow the 16/8 method, which involves restricting food intake for 16 hours and allowing eating during an 8-hour window.
- Fasting on alternate days
Every other day, alternate day fasting is practiced. It’s a type of one-day fast.
You follow this method by fasting once or twice a week for 24 hours.
- Fasting on a regular basis
Food consumption is limited for a set number of days, such as a three-day fast once a month.
Fasting appears to have some health benefits, including weight loss and slower aging.
Dry fasting, on the other hand, can be hazardous. You risk dehydration and other complications because you are not permitted to drink water.
There is also insufficient research on the benefits of dry fasting. In this article, we’ll look at the ostensible benefits of the practice, as well as the potential side effects and dangers.
Dry fasting supporters report the following advantages. Let us investigate the science behind each claim.
Dry fasting, according to proponents, is effective for weight loss. This is most likely due to the extreme calorie restriction.
Dry fasting and weight loss have been studied. Researchers examined the effects of fasting during the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, which lasts for one whole month, in a 2013 study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. Fasting during Ramadan means not eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset for one month.
240 healthy adults who fasted for a minimum of 20 days were included in the study. The researchers measured the participants’ body weight and calculated their BMI a week before Ramadan (BMI).
The same measurements were taken a week after Ramadan ended. They discovered that almost all of the participants’ body weight and BMI had decreased.
It is important to note that the dry fasting was done intermittently by the participants. Furthermore, Ramadan fasting is only for one month, so it is not continuous. It is also only performed by healthy adults.
These findings suggest that intermittent dry fasting causes weight loss in the short term. Otherwise, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to prove that fasting on a regular basis is safe or effective.
Immune system enhancement
Dry fasting is said to boost the body’s immune system. It is believed that by removing damaged cells during a fast, the immune system is “reset” and the body can then produce new cells.
Additionally, there is proof that calorie restriction (but not water restriction) reduces inflammation, which strengthens the immune system. Complete calorie restriction is thought to produce similar results.
Regeneration of cells
A 2014 animal study published in the journal Cell Stem Cell discovered that prolonged fasting causes mice to experience cell regeneration. Similar outcomes were seen in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy in a phase I human trial conducted by the same researchers.
However, the human study is still in its early stages, and the article did not specify whether water was permitted. It is necessary to conduct research to find out whether healthy humans who fast dry also experience the same effects.
Additionally, the relationship between reduced inflammation and dry fasting has been researched. One week before Ramadan, 50 healthy adults participated in a Nutrition Research study from 2012 that measured the proinflammatory cytokines in their bodies. This was repeated during the third week of Ramadan and one month later.
The third week of dry fasting was when the participants’ proinflammatory cytokines were lowest. This suggests that fasting reduces inflammation, which may benefit the immune system. However, Ramadan fasting is not continuous, and water is permitted at certain times.
More research is needed to determine the relationship between dry fasting and improved immune function.
Though water consumption promotes healthy skin, dry fasting is thought to be beneficial. This could be related to the alleged effects of fasting on the immune system.
Fasting, according to some, aids wound healing. Fasting increases immune activity, which aids wound healing, according to a 2019 review in Nutrients. A 2011 animal study published in Wounds discovered that temporary, repeated fasting accelerated wound healing in mice.
There are also contradictory results. Researchers discovered that calorie restriction slowed wound healing in rats in a 2012 animal study published in age.
Others believe that fasting slows the aging process, including skin aging. This is most likely due to the fact that calorie restriction is associated with slower aging. A small 2018 study published in Cell Metabolism found that calorie restriction decreased aging biomarkers in 53 young, healthy adults.
Despite these findings, no specific skin benefits of dry fasting have been discovered. The majority of the research also included mice. More research is required to confirm that fasting without water can benefit human skin.
According to some, dry fasting improves spirituality as well, which suggests a connection between the two.
Several spiritual benefits have been reported by supporters, including:
- increased gratitude
- deeper faith
- improved awareness
- opportunity for prayer
According to rumors, both religious and agnostic individuals claim that dry fasting has spiritual advantages.
Overall faster results
People claim that the benefits of fasting grow with repeated, regular sessions. However, because it is the most extreme, dry fasting is thought to produce the quickest results.
This is purely hypothetical. To date, studies have only compared the effects of Ramadan intermittent dry fasting to other types of fasting. A 2019 review in the Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, for example, discovered that these fasts produce similar results.
However, researchers have not compared the frequency of these outcomes in the same experiment. More research is needed to determine which type of fast produces the quickest and safest results.
Dry fasting, like all types of fasting, has potential side effects. You may encounter:
- Constant hunger
Any fast will cause hunger. Because water helps increase satiety, avoiding it can make you feel even hungrier.
Your body will not have enough fuel if you do not eat or drink. You will most likely feel tired, dizzy, and weak.
You’ll become irritable as your hunger grows.
Caffeine and nutrients, particularly carbohydrates, can cause headaches.
- Lack of concentration
It can be challenging to focus at work or school when you’re tired and hungry.
- Reduced urination
You will urinate less if you limit your fluid intake. Your urine may become dark and smelly if you become dehydrated.
Serious complications can arise if dry fasting is maintained or repeated. These are some examples:
Dehydration can result from a prolonged dry fast. It could also lead to low blood pressure and electrolyte imbalances, both of which are potentially fatal.
- Urinary and kidney issues
Kidney stones and urinary tract infections are both complications of dehydration.
- Nutritional deficiencies
Continuous fasting is associated with vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
You are more likely to faint if you are dehydrated or have low blood sugar.
- Anorexia nervosa
Some people may be more prone to binge eating after fasting, increasing their risk of disordered eating.
The effects of fasting
Dry fasting has different effects on different people. The length of time it takes to see results hasn’t been specifically studied yet.
Many factors will be considered, including:
- overall health
- level of daily activity
- frequency of fasting
Consider the studies from 2012 study in Journal of Public Health and this 2015 review in Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology to understand how other types of fasting function. Keep in mind that your results may vary.
Other methods for losing weight
While fasting has some advantages, if losing weight is your goal, there are other options. These procedures carry less risk of complications while having a higher likelihood of producing long-lasting results.
- Maintain a healthy diet Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein in your diet. To encourage weight loss while avoiding the omission of necessary nutrients, swap refined grains for whole grains and steer clear of added sugars.
- Drink plenty of water. Hydration regulates hunger and supports your body’s basic functions.
- Regular exercise
The best weight loss exercise program combines cardio and weightlifting. Cardio burns more calories per session, whereas weightlifting builds muscle and increases resting caloric burn.
Dry fasting is when you refrain from eating and drinking. Those who support it claim that it boosts immunity and weight loss, but there isn’t any conclusive proof to support these claims.
Most importantly, dry fasting is extremely hazardous. In particular, if it happens repeatedly, it can result in dehydration and other problems.
There are safer and healthier ways to fast or lose weight. If you want to fast, consult with your doctor first.