With the ever growing talk of the Keto Diet, comes the equally growing popularity of the use of fasting. Inntermittent fasting is a pattern of eating that alternates between those times of fasting or eating.
Studies have shown that the act of fasting has many health benefits, including those of increased insulin sensitivity, weight loss, and repair on a cellular level. Although individuals more commonly choose fasts of a shorter duration, there are some that choose to fast for a longer period of time.
The longest suggested duration for a fast is that of 48 hours. Although there are many benefits to this intermittent fasting technique, there are also drawbacks that need to be kept in mind as well.
There is nothing hard about the understanding of a 48 hour fast. It is merely the process of giving your body a break for a full two days from eating anything. The most common time to begin the fast is after dinner on the first day, and then start eating again at dinner on the third day.
When fasting, there is the possibility of dehydration, so you must drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration is a potential complication that occurs in those individuals who choose to do the longer length fasts.
Once you have completed your fast, you must reintroduce food at a gradual amount. If you reintroduce it too fast, it can result in an overstimulating of your gut, which, in turn, can lead to bloating, diarrhea, and nausea.
When coming off of your fast, and you begin reintroducing food, your first meal should be that of a small, light snack. This can be something as simple a few handfuls of almonds. Then, one to two hours later, you may then partake in a small meal.
On those days in between fasting, you can maintain your usual eating routine, but make sure to refrain from the overindulging in those higher-calorie foods.
A 48-hour fast should only be done at most 1-2 a month, and not more than once a week. This is where this type of fast differs from many of the other types of fasts out there. It is believed that by spreading out your 48-hour fasts, you will reap more health benefits.
Keep in mind that when beginning any change in your diet, it is best to consult a physician. The 48-hour fast is not one for everyone, and you may better benefit from another type of fasting technique, such as the 16:8 or alternate-day methods.
Even though the health benefits of an intermittent fast are well documented, any specific research pertaining to 48-hour fasting is somewhat limited. However, many studies have examined the method of prolonged fasting, which is any fasting of 24 hours or more, and have some interesting data.
- Slowing of Cell Aging
Our bodies naturally replenish the cells we need through the process of cellular repair. It is believed that this process may aid in the prevention of disease, or even slow down the aging of tissue.
The repairing of cells and the delaying of the aging of tissue has been shown to possibly support our overall longevity. It is worth noting that the research in this area has to date been limited to that in animals.
- Reduction of Inflammation
Inflammation, when temporary, is a normal response of the body’s immune system. However, chronic inflammation that persists over time can contribute to serious health problems. A few of which are cancer, heart disease, or rheumatoid arthritis.
Through the process of fasting for periods of 24 hours or more, inflammation may be reduced by way of the reduction of oxidative stress within the body’s cells.
- Aid in Blood Sugar Levels
Our body produces insulin to help in the processing of such food as carbs, protein, and fats. As such, your body prefers carbs and fats, as these are converted into a source of energy.
When performing a 24 hour or longer fast, the compound glycogen—the stored form of processed carbs—is lowered, which then also reduces the body’s level of insulin. This, in turn, allows the body to use the stored body fat to burn for its energy.
A study of ten individuals diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, when fasting for 12-72 hours, found to have decreased blood sugar levels by up to 20% when tested after a single fast. It is also believed that when fasting longer than 24 hours, there may be additional health benefits in the arena of controlling blood sugar levels.
- Aid in Weight Loss
Although studies of 48-hour fasts are lacking specifically, there is the chance that intermittent fasting may aid in boosting weight loss. This is achieved by the fact that, when choosing to perform a 48-hour fast once to twice a month, the reduction of calorie intake can factor out to 8,000 calories a month.
Fasting has also been shown to aid in the increase of metabolic rate by 3.6%-14%. This, in turn, can translate to our body’s burning of an additional 100-275 calories per day.
For all its potential health benefits, there are also several drawbacks to take into consideration when choosing to 48-hour fast.
- Hunger—many individuals have noted that this is the main drawback in this period of fasting. However, those same individuals admit that the feeling is temporary and short-lasting.
- Dizziness—one of the drawbacks that makes it essential that you work your way up to a 48-hour fast. By beginning with shorter durations, you can prevent the dizziness from setting in.
- Exhaustion—if you find that you are feeling sluggish after the first 24 hours of your 48-hour fast, this is due to the drop in carbs in your system, causing your body to switch gears and burn fat.
- At-risk individuals—as with any new diet or change in eating routine, there are those who are at risk for complications. It is best to contact and consult your healthcare provider before starting any fast.
48-hour intermittent fasting can offer many health benefits, as shown above. If done in the proper manner, and worked up to slowly, there should be little to no drawbacks. There are many different methods to do intermittent fasting, and what works for one individual may not necessarily work for another. However, if you properly approach the process, it can prove to be a powerful path to your road to wellness.