Why ‘water fasting’ is bad for your health
Water fasting is a method of detoxing in which you eat or drink nothing but water. As well as being somewhat of a fad in the health community, it is embraced by religious communities during periods of fasting. Typically, a water fast lasts between 24-72 hours, and during the fast people consume around two litres of water each day.
Benefits of water fasting
Undoubtedly, water fasting has some benefits. Recent studies suggest that monitored, long-term water fasting can lower blood pressure. It may also improve your metabolism by increasing insulin and leptin sensitivity, which helps you feel fuller more quickly. Heightened insulin and leptin also reduces blood sugar, decreasing the likelihood of developing diabetes.
Those suffering from chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart disease can try water fasting as a way of combating the effects. However, such efforts should always be overseen by doctors, and never used as a means for losing weight.
You’ll lose the wrong type of weight
Hollywood films often feature glamorous women complaining about ‘water weight’, and this is exactly what you’ll lose during a water fast. Rather than helping to tackle excess fat, water fasting targets weight from water, carbohydrates, and muscle mass. Research shows that people lose up to two pounds each day while fasting, but that won’t stay off. To lose fat, you should eat a balanced diet and exercise.
It’s possible to become dehydrated
On average, 25% of your daily water intake comes from the foods you consume. Consequently, despite consuming plenty of water during the fast, you may experience dehydration as water consumed directly and that consumed through food is absorbed differently.
Common signs of dehydration include headaches, sickness, and sluggishness, which may affect your productivity in and out of work, too. A rapid drop in blood pressure, which will lead to dizziness, is also a risk.
If you must fast, stop immediately if you experience any adverse effects.
The doctor won’t be happy about it
Common illnesses may get worse with water fasting. For instance, it can exacerbate damage to the kidneys, so should be avoided if you suffer from kidney disease.
Evidence also shows that fasting encourages eating disorders in teenagers, which may lead to a list of medical conditions. Heartburn is another risk as your body will continue to produce stomach acid to digest food while being starved.
Health professionals suggest that you should consume two litres of water per day, and this should be done in coordination with a balanced diet to retain optimum health, rather than by water fasting.
Some people struggle to consumer enough water day-to-day, often because their water is hard, altering the taste. You should consider adding a water softener or filtration system so that your water is free of harmful minerals. In doing so, you’ll take a step in the right direction towards a healthy, balanced diet.