What is Fasting | What is the 2-Day Fast | How to do a 2-Day Fast | Risks and Restrictions of a 2-Day Fast
In recent years, fasting has gained popularity as a way to improve health, increase longevity, and even lose weight. While there are many fasting regimens, one that has gained attention is the two-day fast. Fasting for two days may seem daunting, but some advocates suggest it may benefit the body and mind. We will answer the question everyone is asking -Is Fasting for 2 Days Healthy?
However, before embarking on a two-day fast, it is essential to understand the potential risks and benefits. In this article, we shall dive into the details of a two-day fast, explore the science behind it, and examine the possible impact on your health. So if you are curious whether fasting for two days is healthy, keep reading to discover all you need to know.
What is Fasting?
Humans have practiced fasting since prehistoric times. It is a method based on time-restricted feeding that leads the body into ketosis. Ketosis is the process that happens when your body exhausts its stores of glucose, which is the principal source of energy, and instead begins to use the stored fat as a source of energy. Many people fast for cultural, religious, and health reasons.
Fasting has gained much popularity among those who are keen on losing weight. A vast majority of people who are looking to shed extra pounds swear by the rules of intermittent fasting. This eating pattern asks you to refrain from calorie consumption for a certain number of hours daily and eat your food in the remaining hours. Studies have pointed out that this fasting method can increase longevity, promote weight loss, and enhance health.
There are many types of intermittent fasting; let us look at the most popular ones.
- 16/8 fasting: In 16/8 intermittent fasting, you are required to abstain from food for 16 hours a day, after which you can have three regular meals and snacks if needed in the remaining 8 hours of the day. 16/8 fasting is one of the easiest ways of intermittent fasting and is recommended for beginners.
- 5/2 Fasting: In 5/2 fasting, you will eat normally five days a week and restrict your calorie intake to 500-600 calories on two non-consecutive fasting days. It is quite a popular IF method. The 5/2 IF method is a favorite for those who lead a very active life and need constant energy to keep going through their busy day.
- OMAD fasting: OMAD stands for One Meal A Day. It will require you to fast for 23 hours daily and eat calories in one big meal restricted to the 1-hour feeding window. Compared to other fasting methods, OMAD fasting is challenging and only recommended for those who are used to intermittent fasting and want to step up their dieting game. It is not recommended for novices.
What is the 2-Day Fast?
A two-day fast is when you do not eat food for two days, restricting yourself to only water and calorie-free drinks like unsweetened tea and coffee. A 2-day fast is one of the more challenging fasting methods out there and will need you to refrain from succumbing to hunger pangs during the fast. It is certainly not for amateurs who are new to intermittent fasting. The 2-day fasting method has caught the imagination of people worldwide. Let’s take a look at the potential benefits it has to offer.
Regulation of Blood Sugar
Compared to short-time, fasting for a longer period, like two days, has a more significant effect on reducing blood sugar. When you fast for longer than 24 hours, your body will start using glycogen, lowering your insulin levels. Hence, fasting for two days will give you impressive results like boosted sensitivity to insulin and an overall reduction of up to 20% in blood sugar levels.
Autophagy (Slowed Aging)
Fasting for two days will promote autophagy in your body. Autophagy is a process where your body disposes of damaged cells that are not functioning optimally. This will allow your body to regenerate and recover. It is known that intermittent fasting leads to autophagy. During long-term fasting, like a two-day fast, your energy stores will get exhausted, activating specific pathways responsible for triggering autophagy.
A 2-day fast will create a huge calorie deficit, which helps in long-term weight loss for most people who are overweight. However, remember that you should not perform 48-hour fasts regularly, as it will be too taxing on your body. A study found that obese and overweight people who follow intermittent fasting achieve similar short-term weight loss results as those who employ traditional calorie-cutting dieting methods. Hence, intermittent fasting can be as effective at weight loss as those other diet plans concentrating on reducing calories.
Enhanced Brain Function
Fasting for 48 hours at a stretch will increase the production of the brain hormone BDNF. BDNF is responsible for the regrowth and regeneration of nerve cells and has a vital role in preventing cognitive disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Reduction In Inflammation
Practicing fasting for two days at a stretch will reduce inflammation. Inflammation is directly associated with chronic diseases like high blood sugar and high blood pressure. Practicing a 2-day fast will help you manage these conditions better.
Heart Health Improves
Studies have found that risk factors for heart disease, like LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin resistance, high blood sugar, and others, are significantly reduced with fasting.
How to do a 2-Day Fast?
The ideal way to do a two-day fast is to start your fast after dinner on the first day and end your fast with dinner on the third day. For example, if you want to start your 2-day fast on Thursday, you must stop eating after dinner. You would again begin to eat on Saturday evening. All through this, you will give your body time to digest your last meal on Thursday before you sleep. By the time you wake up on Friday, 10-12 hours of your fast will have passed.
During fasting, you only have calorie-free fluids like water, unsweetened herbal tea, and black coffee sans sugar. This is the reason why a lot of people call this a 2-day water fast.
When Saturday evening comes, you should have a simple and light dinner. Then, from Sunday onward, you can ease back into your regular diet. Another important thing is to stay hydrated during your fast. Drink a lot of fluids to prevent dehydration, which is a common occurrence with fasters who are not careful.
Risks and Restrictions of a 2-Day Fast
While a 2-day fast seems tempting for its various benefits, you should be aware of certain restrictions and risks. You need to refrain from fasting if you are:
- Suffering from Type 1 Diabetes
- Have Low blood pressure
- Underweight or with a history of eating disorders
- Pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive
- Taking medications like those for insulin, blood pressure, blood thinners, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
- Under the age of 18
Here are some of the risks associated with fasting for two days:
Dizziness and Hunger
When you restrict yourself from eating calories for 48 hours, you will feel intense hunger pangs. However, for most people, it is a temporary feeling, but consider it if you think you cannot stay away from food. Before starting with a 2-day fast, you should acclimate to shorter forms of intermittent fasting like the 12/12 fast, the 16/8 fast, or the OMAD fasting regime.
Sluggishness and Exhaustion
Because of its long duration, the 48-hour fast is quite hard to follow compared to other fasting methods. Exhaustion is common. On top of this, you may feel sluggish and deprived of energy during the fast. This is why it is essential to conserve your energy and not do intense physical exercises during the two-day fast. It will also help you if you schedule the fast for the weekend so that it does not interfere with your work productivity. Do not indulge in heavy exercise during this period, as it will aggravate your feelings of exhaustion.
Apart from these two primary risks associated with the two-day fast, consider other risks like
- Digestive issues
- Mood swings
- Troubled sleep and insomnia
- Fainting spells
Yes, short answer is fasting for 2 days is healthy in certain circumstances. But in deeper detail, a two-day fast is an effective way of bringing about positive changes in your health, but there is a risk of falling prey to some associated side effects. Only attempt the 2-day fast if you are confident and can last the distance.
Before embarking on this fasting regime, taking your doctor’s advice is essential to ensure the minimum risk of associated side effects. A two-day fast can do wonders for your overall health and weight loss goals if you get the all-clear. Weigh the pros and cons of this fasting method, and then embark on the journey to be a better you!
Also need help fasting? Check out the Best Intermittent Fasting Mobile Apps we recommend to help you on your journey.