Are you thinking about doing a fast? You could do intermittent fasting, which usually involves fasting for 16, 18, or 20 hours. Then there’s the 24-hour fast. This is a lot tougher but can provide even more benefits. For example, many detox/cleanse diets are for one to three full days. Many of us find it tough to go 12 hours between a 6:00 PM dinner and 6:00 AM breakfast the next day. Imagine skipping the next three square meals before breaking your fast. This can be tough and especially if you’re getting off a high-carb/salt/sugar diet. That said, you can get several benefits of a 24 hour fast.
Fasts can provide several health benefits. In recent years several fad diets have featured liquid fasts that include water, juice, bone broth, etc. There’s some debate about whether or not these diets are needed since many experts argue a “colon cleanse” is done naturally by the organ itself. You can still get rid of your body of extra salt, sugar, and bad fats. Some studies also show long diets like 24- hours can provide other benefits like lower blood pressure and blood sugar. It might even help to lower the risk of serious diseases like type-2 diabetes and heart disease.
Top Ways to Do 24-hour Fast
In recent years Intermittent Fasting (IF) has been trending. This type of fasting involves fasting/cycling daily. For example, you might fast 16 hours then eat within an 8-hour window.
1. 5:2 Diet
This involves eating regular amounts of calories for five days and fasting for two days. The fasting days are usually low-calorie. However, you could also do a full 24-hour fast for those two days.
If you go low-calorie it’s usually 600 calories for men and 500 calories for women. Even though it’s not a zero-calorie fast it’s still a rock-bottom calorie.
This method usually involves spacing out the fasting days. For example, you could do a 24-hour fast on Monday then another one on Thursday. The 5:2 Diet should include 1+ non-fasting days between the two fasting days.
The benefits of the 5:2 Diet are mixed. Research seems to show it can provide some benefits like lower insulin levels, which could help prevent type-2 diabetes.
This is a 24/24 fasting/eating cycle. It’s quite tough and shouldn’t be done by fasting newbies. It can be brutal when your body goes into ketosis and starts pulling energy from fat stores. However, besides that, it’s quite doable. This also a good option after an epic cheat day that’s loaded with calories/carbs.
Fasting gurus can do 24/24 fasts without problems. However, you should still take some precautions. It’s best not to do any workouts on your fasting day since you’ll be running on empty (technically, fat).
3. Weekly 24-hour Fast
This includes a zero-calorie fast for one or two days per week. It doesn’t have to be midnight to midnight fast. You could fast from breakfast-to-breakfast or lunch-to-lunch. What’s important is that you do a full fast within 24 hours.
This diet provides calorie/carb-reduction for the week. However, you can still get all the nutrients you need.
Top Benefits of a 24 Hour Fast
1. Heart Health
An unfortunate statistic is global statistics show heart disease is the top cause of death. There’s good news! Studies show that fasting seems to boost heart health. That’s because it lowers stuff like blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
These factors have been linked to a healthy heart. So, lowering these factors can, in turn, reduce your risk of heart disease.
2. Fights inflammation
In recent years there have been lots of studies done about inflammation. Many health experts link it to serious diseases like type-2 diabetes and heart disease.
There’s scientific proof that inflammation could be related to such diseases and others like arthritis and cancer. Fasting might lower inflammation levels and also improve a person’s overall health.
3. Cancer Prevention
Some studies show that fasting might also help to lower the risk of some kinds of cancer. This includes benefits like blocking cancer tumors. It also might help chemotherapy to blast cancer cells.
4. Weight Loss
You can lose more weight than short-term fasts since your body goes into “ketosis.” This causes your body to get energy from the fat it’s stored up. When you fast for 24 hours instead of 16, for example, your fat will be working longer as a fat-burning machine.
One surprising benefit of fasting is it boosts your metabolism at the start. This allows you to ditch calories and fat at a faster rate.
A key benefit of 24/24 fasts, in particular, is the changes in caloric intake can boost metabolism. Your body’s metabolism gets tricked and ends up burning more fat than regular low-calorie diets.
5. Brain Function
It might be surprising that eating less improves brain function. Some animal studies link fasting to boosted brain health.
There’s another major plus. Fasting might also reduce inflammation. This could help to prevent certain disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Top Tips for 24-hour Fasts
1. Boost your electrolytes
You can add a little salt to a glass of water to boost your electrolytes (salts). This is especially important on a low-carb diet and zero-calories qualifies as one.
Make sure to dissolve the salt completely in the water. This will make it easier to consume, which is critical when you’re already dealing with fasting symptoms.
2. Get your mind right
In the modern world, we often consider skipping a meal as a bad thing. Our bodies are hardwired to deal with fasts and famines. The hack the keto diet does to get the body into “ketosis” is a natural way that humans get energy during low-carb times.
One issue to consider is there is a big difference between doing a 24-hour fast and starvation. 30-day water fast wouldn’t cause any health issues for most people, because the average person has enough fat stores to get through it easily.
3. Drink sparkling water and herbal tea
These are some good 0-calorie drinks that can provide some nutrients while you are on the 1-day fast. Plus, with sparkling water, you also get some bubbly goodness as an added plus.
4. Consider your reasons
This might seem like an odd issue to think about. Yes, 24-hour fasts can provide several health benefits. However, it’s good to think about which ones you’re trying to achieve. Do you want to lower weight? Are you hoping to reduce glucose/blood sugar levels? Do you need a body detox?
5. Start your fast with sleep
While a 24-hour fast isn’t a 2 or 3-day fast, it’s not “easy.” One way to get through it is to start your fast before bedtime. This makes sure you have enough energy/nutrients for the next day. You’ll also get to break the fast before your next bedtime as one of the benefits of a 24 hour fast.