How do I Fast Safely?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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Fasting is an ancient practice that was primarily known for religious purposes until the past few decades. Although still used for spiritual reasons, fasting has has also proven to be an effective method for weight loss, detoxifying the body, and improving overall health. Unfortunately, when done incorrectly, fasting can also lead to stalled weight loss, malnutrition, and other side effects. To fast safely, it is important to discuss your plans with your family doctor, to follow a safe fasting plan lasting a limited number of days, and to make sure to stay hydrated during your fast.

Most fasts that are used for weight loss or detoxification heavily restrict food intake for a certain period of time. There are various plans which advocate fasting, some of which recommend eating certain foods during the weeks leading up to a fast. The most common types of fasts are juice fasts which allow participants to have fresh juices and water several times a day, but no food. Others may permit things like broth, herbal teas with no sugar or caffeine, and other liquids. Check with your doctor before trying any particular plan to ensure that the one you choose will allow you to fast safely.


In order to ensure that you body gets enough fluids and energy to withstand the fast, be sure you drink at least the recommended 64 ounces (1892.71 ml) of water per day aside from any juice you will intake during the fast. This will not only curb hunger pangs while you are not able to eat, but will also keep your body hydrated. If at any time you feel dizzy, short of breath, or fatigued be sure to drink additional water or juice. Staying hydrated and keeping blood sugar levels as steady as possible are both important in order to fast safely.

You should also remember to limit your fast to no more than three to five days. Up to a week without food may be recommended by some plans, but in order to fast safely and effectively most doctors recommend adding light meals or snacks into your diet sooner. Remember to add foods slowly to allow your body to adjust to digesting solids again, Failing to do so may result in severe stomach upset.

If at any time during a fast you begin to feel ill, dizzy, short of breath, nauseated, or experience headaches or vomiting, you should drink fluids to see if it helps. In the event symptoms continue, you may need to begin adding food back into your diet to prevent severe low blood sugar. Consult your doctor immediately if symptoms do not subside after eating and drinking.



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