Is Water Fasting Safe?

Water fasting is a practice that has been around for centuries. In addition to being a mainstay in many cultures and religions, it is also commonly used to improve certain aspects of health, including inflammation, blood sugar levels and heart health.

Every person’s water requirement is different because water needs vary because of body size, activity, amount and type of foods consumed, and blood oxygen.

Water fasting has been here for centuries and initially began in ancient Egypt as a way of preventing health ailments as well as for strengthening of the spirit.  You may be wondering just how healthy this common practice can be. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the benefits and risks of water fasting, along with some simple tips to ensure that you’re doing it safely.

Potential Benefits

Decreases Inflammation

Inflammation is a normal immune response that is often triggered by illness, injury or infection. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, can contribute to a long list of conditions, ranging from cancer to heart disease and diabetes.

There have been studies that have found that fasting could help alleviate inflammation. One study out of Saudi Arabia, for example, found that intermittent fasting altered the inflammatory status of the body by suppressing levels of proinflammatory immune cells.

Assists with Weight Loss

Water fasting involves restricting calories, many people use water fasting for weight loss, hoping to shed a few stubborn pounds or kick-start their metabolism. Studies show that fasting can lead to rapid weight loss, causing an average of two pounds of weight loss per day during the first week. Fasting also forces the body to use up stored glycogen and start burning fat for fuel instead of sugar, which may promote increased weight loss as well.

Fasting can be a useful tool that can help improve several aspects of health. Here are a few potential benefits of water fasting.

Improves Blood Sugar Control

A 2015 study that intermittent fasting was able to reduce blood sugar levels by 12 percent in individuals who are young and relatively healthy with no ailments. It also saw that insulin sensitivity was enhanced, allowing the body to use insulin more efficiently to transport sugar out of the bloodstream and into the cells.

While fasting may improve blood sugar control for some people, it can also cause side effects that can be dangerous for those with diabetes. If you have diabetes, it’s important to speak with a healthcare provider to see if this is a viable option for you.

While discussing the goodness that a water fast can provide, we must also discuss the downside of it as well. For starters, fasting is not recommended for children, teenagers or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. It is also not advisable for those with a history of eating disorders as it may encourage unhealthy eating habits. Additionally, fasting may also increase the production of uric acid, which can trigger flare-ups of gout. Just as consuming a juice cleanse, some common side effects of fasting include dizziness, weakness, muscle aches and fatigue. 

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