Do you want to do a body detox or lose weight? You can achieve both goals with something called water fast. As the name implies this fast only includes drinking H2O. So even if you’re used to drinking 6 to 8 eight-ounce glasses of water per day this is more extreme since it’s all water all the time. The only more extreme you can go is a “dry fast” that doesn’t let you drink one drop of water while fasting. As always, it’s important to know how to water fast safely. For example, what’s the general protocol? Are there possible side-effects? What are the risks? These are big questions before you start your fast.
It’s important to know the possible dangers of going on a water fast. For example, you might experience low blood pressure. Certain health conditions like diabetes and kidney disease might get worse. An ironic possible side-effect is a dehydration since you’re not getting water from fruits and veggies. Water provides many health benefits to the human body and brain. However, there’s a difference between having a glass of water with a meal and swapping out the meal. As always you should talk to your doctor before doing a water fast.
What Exactly Is a Water Fast?
You might have read something on health sites or Facebook about “water fasts.” This is nothing new and people have been doing water-only diets for thousands of years. This is a simple body detox that can provide many benefits like weight loss and lower risk of disease.
As always, it’s important to talk to your doctor before you start any new diet. He/She knows your medical history. In fact, various health conditions and over-the-counter (OTC)/prescription medicines might be affected if you only consume water.
That said, there are usually a few issues involved with going on a water fast. This is an excellent way to reboot your body/brain. There are other fluid detoxes that include fruit/vegetable juice, green tea, bone broth, etc. However, water is best. Fun Fact: Water makes up nearly 85% of human lungs.
In fact, it’s worth noting that when you do water fasting you can’t have other beverages just because they contain H2O. That includes brewed coffee, herbal tea, fruit/veggie juice, and so on.
However, the fast’s feature actually provides some key benefits. You don’t have to follow a strict schedule about how much broth you can eat at certain times of the day, for example. The results are also more effective when you don’t add the extra calories from other foods even if they’re low-calorie.
The fasts often last for 1 to 3 days. In fact, health experts usually recommend that people only go on short-term fasts to limit side-effects. There are some fasts that last 30+ days but they’re a lot tougher when you’re literally running on empty (zero calories).
Studies show that water fasts can provide several benefits:
- Better acid/alkaline (pH) balance
- Stronger immune system
- Fight oxygen damage
- Lower inflammation
These are major benefits. For example, fighting inflammation and oxygen damage, and boosting the immune system can help to prevent/fight illness and disease.
How to Water Fast Safely
There are various ways you can do the fast as safely as possible. It starts with water. While it’s not practical for most people to buy Pierre sparkling water you should generally avoid tap water as well.
The exception of tap water is if your home has a multi-stage filter that provides your home with purified water. Another option is distilled water, which requires the water to go through less processing.
When you’re just drinking water one of the main possible health issues is consuming fewer electrolytes (salt). You could add some quality sea or Himalayan salt to a few glasses of water during the day. This will help to deal with issues like fatigue and headaches.
Another key issue is how much water you should drink. Experts recommended 2 to 4 quarts per day. This might seem like a lot but keep in mind this the only food/drink you’ll be consuming while on the diet. Another issue to consider is water is 0-calorie/carb.
It’s also important to break your fast safely. In fact, it might be surprising but this can become the fast’s most dangerous stage. It involves adding sugar, salts, and non-water fluids to your diet.
A good option is to start out with bone broth, cooked vegetables (soft), and low-sugar fruits. Another good option is fermented veggies like sauerkraut.
When you break the fast it’s a good idea to add foods like fish/meats, raw veggies, and dairy about 3 days after you break the fast. If you want to drink alcohol or caffeine consider waiting up to 5 days.
Here are some possible risks when fasting:
- Dehydration due to no water from fruits/vegetables
- Worsening some health conditions (GERD, diabetes, kidney disease)
- Low blood pressure
- Losing muscle mass
This highlights the need for your doctor to guide you through the fasting process.
Top Water Fast Tips
- Take some supplements. These include some options like Vitamin B12, iron, and calcium.
- Drink enough H2O. Remember you won’t be getting any way from food while doing this fast. So, it’s important to drink at least 2 quarts of water/day.
- Stop if you feel sick. It’s one thing if you feel a little hungry while fasting. If you actually feel sick then stop the fast immediately. This is especially true if you have health conditions like diabetes.
- Eat protein is allowed. If you’re on a water fast that allows eating limited calories then make sure to eat some protein. This will help to prevent muscle loss while fasting.
- Eat some food if you feel very weak. In theory, you’re not supposed to take this step. However, if you feel super-weak due to low blood pressure you could eat a small healthy snack to boost your blood sugar.
- Eat whole foods when not fasting. Before and after the fast make sure you eat lots of whole foods. Avoid stuff like white flour, white rice, and refined sugar.
- Stay busy. It’s a lot harder to think about food when you’re doing things. You could do some yoga/meditation, walk in the park, or surf the web (no foodie websites).
- Do light exercise. When you’re on a zero-calorie diet it’s important to avoid doing high-intensity exercise. Wait until you’re getting calories/carbs from food to fuel your body.
- Don’t do binge-eating after the fast. It can be tempting to gobble up everything in sight when breaking your fast. Ease back to solid food with bone broth, light veggies, etc.
- Keep your fast short at 1 to 3 days. There are different plans you can follow. The key is to pick the one that will be easiest for you to follow when learning how to water fast safely.