Water Consumption During Fasting

Water Consumption and Fasting

Fasting is a self-healing mechanism

Historically, fasting has been practiced by numerous cultures for thousands of years. Major religions have traditions which include fasting which has physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual benefits. When the body is sick, it naturally loses its appetite and this is the same for animals. Fasting is a self-healing mechanism that brings the body back into balance during illness.

According to founder Dr. Edward Group of the Global Healing Center located in Houston, Texas, the various fasts are:

  • Diagnostic Fast
  • Dry Fast
  • Liquid Fast or Water Fast
  • Juice Fast
  • Partial Fast
  • Intermittent Fast
  • Alternate-day Fast
  • Extended Fasting
  • Ketogenic Fast

A Diagnostic Fast occurs when your doctor asks you to fast prior to a medical procedure so that he or she can obtain a more accurate reading of your medical condition. This type of fast might also include a dry fast recommendation prior to surgery for example. Alternatively, a Dry Fast occurs when no food or fluid is ingested during the fasting period. The problem with this fast, is that dehydration can set in which has its own set of issues and can be dangerous. For example, one negative effect would be not flushing out the toxins because you’re not drinking any water. Along with dehydration as one of the side effects, a toxic build up may occur due to the lack of flushing out toxins with water. Blood volume and tissues can also be affected.

A Liquid Fast or Water Fast involves just drinking water and abstaining from eating any food whatsoever. The Master Cleanse is also in this category which is a combination of lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and spring water. Usually this type of fast is done for a required period of time and then you ease back into eating by following a procedure. On the other hand, a Juice Fast includes fasting with fruit and vegetable juices which usually lasts 3-5 days in length or longer if desired, leading to detoxification. It’s best to use organic fruits and vegetables for this type of fast.

There are two types of Partial Fasts where the first type involves eating small amounts of solid food and the second type excludes specific foods like carbohydrates, red meat, alcohol, coffee, sugar etc. but you’re allowed to eat other foods.

Currently, the Intermittent Fast is one of the most popular ways of fasting that has been adopted by a wide demographic. You can either fast once a week or alternate fasting and eating during a day for instance. For example, you can eat during the day on a Monday but fast from after dinner that evening to dinner on Tuesday. This is referred to as eating or fasting during a window of time or where it is done intermittently.  Compared to the Intermittent Fast, the Alternate Day Fast is different because this fast covers a 24-hour period then you eat the next day.

The Extended Fast usually lasts for a duration like 48 hours or it could last up to a week. This fast may not be for everyone. Adding nutritional supplements to your water to avoid electrolyte imbalance may be necessary. Supervision also might be needed during this type of fast for people who have not experienced a fast this long before.

Lastly, there is the Ketogenic Fast which forces your body into the fat burning stage of ketosis. A Ketogenic Fast requires you to eat a small amount of food like the Partial Fast. The only difference is that the Ketogenic Fast involves consuming fatty foods to help your body go into ketosis. Toxins are stored in fat cells so the ideology is that when you burn through fat reserves, toxins are released. During a Ketogenic Fast, the body burns fat and stops the body from storing fat simultaneously. There is also a Ketogenic Fast for Vegans suggested by Dr. Group.

On the All About Fasting website, the transition period before and after a fast is just as important as the actions taken during a fast. You should transition in and out of the fast by reducing intake and also increasing intake gradually after a fast. Plus, the transition period lengths can be based on the the length of the fast. There are useful guidelines on this website for the transition periods during a fast, as well as choosing a fasting length.

Fasting too frequently is not advisable since you must give your body time to rebuild nutritional reserves. Two days per week and one week per month is too frequent according to the All About Fasting author, Katie, who has had experience with fasting. The recommendation is that fasting for regular and occasional maintenance should be one day per week, three days per month or 10 days yearly. For water fasts, if you choose to do it for more than 3 days, having medical supervision would assist in the process to avoid any complications.

There is controversy whether fasting is healthy or not. In this article Is Fasting Healthy? on WebMD, Madelyn Fernstrom PhD, CNS, founder and director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Weight Loss Management Center, and Dr. Joel Fuhrman MD, author of Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Plan for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss and Fasting and Eating for Health, discuss this issue.

Fernstrom states that fasting is not a good weight loss option because as soon as you start eating again, the weight will come back. Also, people mistake fluid loss for weight loss. There are other health risks as well and Fuhrman agrees. Fernstrom suggests that lowering fat intake, eating 5 fruits and vegetables daily, drinking only water, walking 30 minutes daily, and getting more sleep is a better approach than fasting.

Fasting can be dangerous if you don’t eat healthy already, if you’ve got kidney or liver problems, a compromised immune system, or if you’re on medication that you have to take with food. Additionally, Fuhrman suggests that a pregnant woman should not fast nor should people with wasting diseases, those with malnutrition or a history of cardiac arrhythmias, and people with hepatic or renal problems.

When it comes to reducing toxins, Fernstrom suggests that the body does this itself by way of the liver, lungs, colon, and kidneys. But Fuhrman who has monitored fasts for medical purposes has a different outlook as a result of his experience stating, “The body is designed to fast; we do it every night.”

When you fast, your body goes into a state of ketosis which occurs when the body doesn’t have carbohydrates to burn for energy so instead, it burns fat which is where the toxins are stored.

Fasting has also been used to treat diseases and advocates say that it can effectively treat health conditions such as arthritis, colitis, heart disease, and depression. In Dr. Fuhrman’s practice, he shares with WebMD that he has seen fasting along with good healthy eating before and after the fast, eliminate lupus, arthritis, psoriasis, eczema, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and it can lower blood pressure. With autoimmune diseases when the immune system is overreacting, fasting followed by a Vegetarian diet interferes with the overactive immune system therefore calming it down. Many studies support the theory as stated in this article.

There are reasons why every culture has included fasting as part of their spiritual practice for thousands of years. It works, especially if a moderate approach to fasting is done. It’s best to eat healthy during the transition periods, fast periodically, drink lots of water to flush the toxins out, and get plenty of rest and exercise. Moderation and choosing wisely by doing your research, will go a long way to having a long, healthy fulfilling life.

 

LINKS AND REFERENCES

Global Healing Center – About Dr. Group

All About Fasting

Is Fasting Healthy?

 

 

 


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