In recent years, fasting has become very popular in terms of health and fitness. But, before you jump into the trend for yourself, you should be aware of the different types of fasting and their benefits.
Intermittent fasting is going to be your starting point. This is when you compress the time you eat into a 6 to 12-hour window. That means you go without eating (but you can drink water) for a 12 to 18-hour period. This includes sleep time, so you can easily get 8 hours out of the way without even knowing it.
This is not something that should be done seven days of the week, so there are different ways in which people go about it. For example, if you’re following the 5-1-1 method, you would intermittent fast for five days, feast for one day, and then dry fast for the last day.
Dry Fasting (24 Hour)
Dry fasting is when you completely eliminate both food and water, typically for a 24-hour period. When doing this type of fast, it only takes your body about 12 to 18 hours to realize that it has to switch to a different energy source. Instead of relying on glucose, your body then uses fats and other metabolites. This actually gives the liver exercise because it has to change to a new way of processing the foods and other things that come through.
Unhealthy and precancerous cells don’t do well with a diet that is not a steady stream of glucose. So, you end up forcing those unhealthy tissues out of the picture through a process called Autophagy — where your body eliminates unhealthy or old cells and replaces them with new and vibrant cells. Fasting is one of the most powerful ways we can do this. The process can start within 10 to 15 hours with no food or drink.
Going three days without food seems nearly impossible, so it’s a good idea to work your way up.
Start with intermittent fasting and get yourself comfortable with 18 hours without food. Next, do several 24-hour fasts (Do this over the course of several months, not every other day). At this point, you’ll already start to notice a positive difference, giving you motivation to keep pushing.
One of the major benefits of fasting for this long is that it resets your mast cells, which are essentially the control switchboard for the immune system. If these cells are given a steady glucose diet and don’t have to switch over to something else, they can live for 20 years. Over the course of those 20 years, they are constantly adding memory. Unfortunately, a lot of that memory is bad and can cause confusion to the body. Autoimmune disease is skyrocketing because people are not resetting these mast cells.
Anything over 72 hours without food is considered long-term fasting. At this point, you’ll start to burn fat at a higher level, your immune system will continue to reduce, and you’ll eliminate a lot more insulin from your system. This type of fasting tends to be popular with those who are obese or have diabetes.
3 Critical Steps before a Lengthy Fast
The idea of eliminating food and water from your diet can be intimidating, but in reality, the body is amazing. It’s designed for this.
If you are planning on doing a fast of 24 hours or more, just make sure to safely work your way up and follow these 3 critical steps beforehand:
• Take a good multivitamin
• Keep up on your electrolytes
• Mild or moderate exercise (20-minute walk, gentle calisthenics, etc.)
To learn more about the types of fasting and their benefits, listen to our podcast below. Also available on YouTube and iTunes.
Denali Medical Center was founded by Brett J. Earl, MD, who leads a team of experienced and compassionate providers. This team is passionate about educating patients on empowering treatments that enhance overall wellness. This approach enables their patients to make well-informed decisions about their health care to avoid illness, prescriptions, and surgery.
To learn more about Denali Medical Center, visit DenaliMed.com.