What is a 3-Day Water Fast | Intermittent Fasting vs 3 Day Water Fast | Benefits Of A 3-Day Water Fast | Tips For a 3-Day Water Fast
You must have heard this old adage, “if you want to lose weight, you must stop eating.” It may sound ridiculous and downright dangerous, but this saying is not all wrong. Weight loss is all about eating fewer calories than you burn, hence fasting is quite an effective method of slimming down.
While it’s obvious that you shouldn’t be starving yourself, keeping off food for short periods has helped numerous people and may be of assistance to you. So, have you ever considered a 3 day fast? It can be an effective way of losing weight and bettering your health. However, does three days of fasting really work, or is it another fad? What will be the benefits of fasting for 3 days? This article covers everything you need to know.
What is a 3-Day Water Fast?
There are many kinds of fasting, and you may be familiar with some, like intermittent fasting. Some fasting regimens restrict certain food groups, while others ask you to abstain from eating for certain periods. The term “3-day water fast” is self-explanatory. Here you do not eat or drink anything but water for a period of 3 days. Water fasts range from 24 hours to 72 hours, but there are cases where people practice water fasting for 30-40 days. While water fasting for 3 days is relatively safer, extended fasts greater than this have to be performed with utmost caution.
Difference Between Intermittent Fasting and 3 Day Water Fast
One type of fasting called intermittent fasting has gained much traction recently. It has a lot of health benefits and is a good tool for weight loss. In intermittent fasting, you will alternate between fasting periods and eating windows. Some of the best intermittent fasting diets are the 16/8 diet plan, the 18/6 IF plan, and the 5/2 diet. Compared to these, a 3-day fast is where you don’t eat or drink anything but water for a period of 3 days and do not just alternate between fasting and eating windows.
What Are The Benefits Of A 3-Day Water Fast?
There may be some substantial benefits of fasting for 72 hours. At the outset, it must be noted that most studies on fasting have been conducted on animals and not humans. As the physiology is similar, we can be hopeful that the benefits are too. Here are the potential benefits of fasting for 3 days.
Autophagy comes from the Greek term, which means “self-healing.” Our body has over 30 trillion cells, and over a period of time, damaged, and waste materials can build up. Autophagy is the body’s natural cleansing mechanism and also a process of regenerating healthy and new cells. Autophagy is induced through fasting, and a 3-day water fast could well fit the bill. Research also shows that autophagy reduces inflammation and helps people with neurogenerative and infectious diseases.
2. Immune System Reset
Research was conducted on mice on the effects of prolonged fasting on the immune system. It was found that fasting for 3 days or more, with only water consumption, could “reset” some of the immune system components. Fasting lowers the white blood cell count, triggering the immune system to produce new white blood cells. Fasting recycles a lot of immune cells that are unneeded. Two particular mechanisms that factor in are the PKA enzyme and a hormone named IGF-1. Both of these are reduced by extended fasting, like a 3-day fast.
3. Weight Loss
Most people who try a 3-day fast do it for weight loss. While you will lose weight, it is mostly water weight instead of fat loss. There is a positive correlation between weight loss and increased consumption of water. This is because water suppresses appetite, helping to keep cravings in control. Water also increases calorie burning while you rest.
4. Might Improve Leptin and Insulin Sensitivity
Leptin is your body’s satiety hormone. Leptin will reduce your appetite and make you feel full. Insulin, on the other hand, regulates your blood sugar levels and allows glucose to be used as an energy source for your body. When you do a 3-day fast, your body becomes quite sensitive to leptin and insulin. Increased sensitivity means that insulin and leptin will function better and more efficiently in your body with prolonged fasting.
5. Lowers The Risk Of Chronic Diseases
Research on rodents has shown that periodic or intermittent fasting helps protect against several cancers, heart disease, diabetes, and neurodegeneration. Prolonged fasting in humans will help reduce the risk of obesity, asthma, hypertension, and rheumatoid arthritis.
6. Increases Good Cholesterol Levels, Lowers Triglyceride levels
A controlled and randomized trial conducted on 30 individuals showed that a one-day fast increased HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels and also decreased triglycerides as well as weight. The one-day fast also increased human growth hormone (HGH), hemoglobin levels, and red blood cell (RBC) count. With a prolonged 3-day fast, these benefits could well be greater.
7. Might Lower Blood Pressure
Water fasts that were clinically supervised and lasted for 2 weeks have shown that there could be a link between fasting and lowered blood pressure. This is associated with the fact that you are not consuming salt but only water during the fast. However, you should note that fasting for 3 days will, in all likelihood, not lower your blood pressure; it is only possible if you undergo a long fast under medical supervision.
8. Cancer and Fasting
Prolonged fasting might increase the efficacy of cancer treatment, stop resistance acquisition, and reduce chemotherapy side effects.
Tips For a 3-Day Water Fast
With intermittent fasting, you can eat during the feeding windows, but fasting for 3 days does not allow you any food or drink besides water. Thus, water fasting can be extremely demanding for someone who has never done it before. Here are some tips for you to make this process easier.
Start Off Small
Don’t jump into a 3-day fast if you have never fasted before. You should start 12 or 16-hour intermittent fasting and see how it suits you and your body. After you get used to not having food for a few hours each day, you can extend the fast to a 24-hour fast. Once you are comfortable with it, try a 3-day water fast.
Do Not Exercise
When you do a three-day fast, your body will be without food. You will not have the energy to exercise. It is highly suggested that you skip your workouts during this time. If you exercise while fasting for three days, your body will not be able to produce enough energy to keep you going.
Do not Attempt a 3 Day Fast if Unwell
This goes without saying and is self-explanatory. Your first priority should always be health, whatever your weight goals and other plans may be. It is not worth harming your body for the sake of weight loss. A 3-day fast is never easy; you should not underestimate it. Under no circumstances should you put your health at risk for the sake of a water fast. Get a doctor’s clearance before attempting it.
Have High-Energy Foods Before Starting
A 3-day fast is a real challenge. To succeed, you must ensure that hunger pangs do not strike you on the first day. This is why you must start preparing your body for the fast by consuming high-energy foods before starting. They will assist you in keeping your energy levels up on the first day. You can consider having bananas, brown rice, quinoa, lentils, fatty fish, eggs, oatmeal, avocados, and more.
Time it Right
If you are a working professional who keeps busy, time your fast so that the days do not take a heavy toll on your energy levels. It is better to time your fast for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday instead of at the beginning of the work week or even during it.
Stop Fasting if Feeling Unwell
Your first priority should be your health. After a few hours or after a day of your 3-day fast, if you feel unwell, do not push yourself. There are a lot of other methods for health improvement and weight loss out there. You should not give up on wellness to achieve weight loss. If a 3-day fast is not for you, focus on a healthy diet that creates a calorie deficit. Exercise and enjoy gradual weight loss.
At the end of the day, a 3-day water fast is a tough, demanding, and grueling regime that will test you to your limits. You may want to pull out of it in the middle due to an energy deficit and hunger pangs. However, if you can stick it out, there are some amazing benefits to fasting for 3 days.
It is equally important to consult a doctor who can give you the go-ahead.
A 3-day water fast can be a powerful tool for resetting the body and promoting various health benefits. As with any major change to your diet and lifestyle, it is important to proceed cautiously and ensure you’re fully prepared for a 3-day water fast.
Also need help fasting? Check out these Top 6 Fasting Mobile Apps we recommend to help you on your journey.