In the health and diet world, intermittent fasting is having its time in the spotlight. But what is intermittent fasting? And why are health-conscious people and those looking to lose weight flocking to this eating method?
Below, we’ll go through the ins and outs of intermittent fasting and provide you with a helpful 48-hour fasting guide to get you started.
Intermittent Fasting Explained
Fasting is described as going through a period of time where you are intentionally not eating. Intermittent fasting is a variation of this and involves rotating a schedule of eating and fasting.
The concept of fasting itself is not new. Humans have been known to regularly fast for periods of time throughout history, and it’s considered a natural and helpful occurrence. In fact, by fasting over time, it’s believed that tolerance for going without food has been developed.
Why 48 Hours?
While fasting can regularly last anywhere from 16 to 24 hours, 48 hours is one of the most commonly used periods of time for intermittent fasting. Those who practice intermittent fasting will often conduct the 48-hour fast once per week. It’s believed, that by doing this, quite a few different health benefits can be achieved.
What Are the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
So why fast? It turns out there are several benefits sought by those who practice intermittent fasting. Here’s a review of some of these common benefits:
- Inflammation Reduction – Inflammation is known to cause a barrage of common health problems. Through fasting for 48 hours, some studies have shown that inflammation can be reduced.
- Caloric Reduction – Many choose to practice intermittent fasting for the benefit of calorie reduction. It’s believed that, by fasting regularly, up to 8,000 calories per month can be eliminated.
- Blood Sugar Reduction – Intermittent fasting has been shown to have potential benefits for those with diabetes. Throughout fasting for 24 hours or more, insulin levels have been shown to be reduced, and blood sugar levels reduced by about 20 percent.
- Weight Loss – Weight loss is most commonly associated with intermittent fasting. Some studies have shown that a person’s metabolic rate can be reduced from three to fourteen percent.
- Slow In Tissue Aging – Some experts believe that, by fasting for 48 hours, your body can slow the cell aging process and promote cellular repair.
What Are the Negatives of Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting isn’t just positives, unfortunately. Before choosing to participate in this method of dieting, it’s essential to consider potential drawbacks:
- Increased Hunger – It goes without saying that not eating for 48 hours is going to make you feel pretty hungry. For some, the severity of the hunger feeling can be challenging to deal with; however, other participants claim that hunger diminishes over time.
- Tiredness – Because your body will be burning stored fat for energy as opposed to incoming calories during your fast, this can lead to increased feelings of exhaustion.
- Social Impacts – During your fast, you’ll want to consider any food involved gatherings or events you may have coming up. Is your fasting time frame going to interfere with your social schedule?
- Dizziness – Dizziness is one of those side effects that can be more severe for some than others. If you’re concerned about this side effect, it’s probably best to start with a shorter fast.
Steps to Doing a 48-Hour Fast
After weighing the pros and cons, if you’ve decided to go forward with the 48-hour fast, we’ve got the steps to get you started:
- Schedule Your Fast – As mentioned before, you’ll want to schedule your fast so it doesn’t interfere with your schedule. On the day fasting begins, many participants find it easier to start with not eating dinner on the first day and resuming eating at dinner on the third day.
- Eat Healthily – Before your fast, it’s crucial to load up on healthy foods. Avoid consuming junk food that your body may have a more difficult time processing. Instead, choose foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains that can provide your body with energy.
- Drink a Lot – Throughout your fast, it’s important to drink fluids as much as possible to avoid dehydration. You can consume water, sugar-free drinks, coffee, and tea during this time.
- Start Back Slow – At the end of your fast, it can be tempting to eat everything in sight; resist this temptation. You’ll want to eat balanced and healthy portions to slowly bring your body out of its fasting state; otherwise, your body may reject what you’re putting into it.
Fasting Isn’t For Everyone
Intermittent fasting isn’t a healthy or safe choice for everyone. Those who have the following medical conditions should consider avoiding the 48-hour fast method so as not to incur serious side effects:
- Low blood pressure
- Eating disorders
- Type 1 diabetes
- Those who are on blood pressure, blood thinner, or NSAID medications
As always, before starting any new diet, it helps to consult with your physician.
Common Fasting Questions
If you’re left with questions regarding intermittent fasting, you’re not alone. Here are some commonly asked questions and answers that can help:
- How does fasting affect metabolism? You can definitely expect your metabolism to be impacted by fasting but in a good way. It’s been shown through studies that metabolic rates can actually be increased through fasting.
- What liquids can I drink? You don’t have to stick to just water. As long as the drink is calorie-free, you should be fine to consume it during this time.
- Is fasting safe? For most, fasting can be considered safe and beneficial. It’s vital that you make this decision based on your current health, medical history, and with your doctor when possible.
- Is it safe for children to fast? Children have higher caloric requirements than adults. It’s not generally recommended that children participate in a 48-hour fast.
- Is it okay to workout while on a 48-hour fast? Working out should be fine while fasting. Just watch out for dizziness and feelings of exhaustion.