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Is A 7 Day Water Fast Dangerous?

Written by:

Obi Obadike

Obi Obadike

Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert, CFT, SFN, M.S. Founder & CEO – Ethical Inc.
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Is a 7 day water fast dangerous? It is not advisable to do a water fast past 24 to 72 hours. And any water fast you decide to do should be under medical supervision. There have been some studies that shown that a water fast is linked to lower risk of cancers, diabetes, heart disease, etc.

What is a water fast? You are not allowed to drink or eat anything besides water. Most people that do a water fast feel, weak, dizzy and their energy levels are low.

Is a 7 Day Water Fast Dangerous? Photo Credit: iStock- NastjaPungracic

If you do a fast for 24 to 72 hours, it is advisable not to eat a large meal right away as it can cause your body to have some symptoms that aren’t comfortable. It is better to eat smaller meals after fasting for a couple of days after a fast. A refeeding syndrome can happen, and one must be careful about that after a fast. And it is a fatal condition when your body undergoes rapid changes in fluid and electrolyte levels.

And this is why after a fast you want to introduce smaller meals slowly as opposed to stuffing a large meal immediately. Your body can go into a refeeding syndrome shock if you are not careful in how you introduce smaller meals slowly into your body.

Studies On Water Fasting:

  • There are some studies that have shown that a water fast can help reduce your blood pressure levels. There was one study where 68 people had high blood pressure levels. That group in that study water fasted under medical supervision for 14 days.
  • At the end of the fast 82% of the people saw a drop in their blood pressure levels. And it fell to healthy levels of 120/80.
  • There was another study of 174 people who had high blood pressure. And they fasted for about 10 days and at the end of the fast 90% of the people saw their blood pressure drop lower than 140/90.
  • So far there haven’t been any human studies that have shown a link to short term healthy water fast of 24 to 72 hours and blood pressure drop.
  • Another study of a group of 30 people who fasted for 24 hours saw a significant drop in their blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. High cholesterol levels are one of the key factors in high-risk for heart disease.

When you water fast for 24 to 72 hours you can lose up to 6 to 8 pounds. But most and all of it will be water loss not fat loss. Dehydration is a common thing when you are doing a water fast because you are depriving your body of so many important vitamins and minerals.

20 to 30% of water comes from food and that is where your dehydration would potentially come from.

Some of the medical conditions that can exclude you from water fasting are:

  • Any type of eating disorder like bulimia
  • Gout

“When you water fast for 24 to 72 hours you can lose up to 6 to 8 pounds. But most and all of it will be water loss not fat loss.”- Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert Obi Obadike

The Bottom Line is water fasting has some health benefits but if you decide to do this it is advisable to do it under some form of medical supervision. And it shouldn’t be done longer than 24 to 72 hours.

If you have any interest in trying any of our Ethical Supplement products to help you heighten your immune system or assist you with your fitness or health goals. You can go to https://ethicalinc.com/product/probiotic/

References

  1. Stice, E., Davis, K., Miller, N. P., & Marti, C. N. (2008). Fasting increases risk for onset of binge eating and bulimic pathology: a 5-year prospective study. Journal of abnormal psychology117(4), 941–946. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0013644
  2. Kerndt PR, Naughton JL, Driscoll CE, Loxterkamp DA. Fasting: the history, pathophysiology and complications. West J Med. 1982 Nov;137(5):379-99. PMID: 6758355; PMCID: PMC1274154.
  3. Fox IH, Halperin ML, Goldstein MB, Marliss ER. Renal excretion of uric acid during prolonged fasting. Metabolism. 1976 May;25(5):551-9. doi: 10.1016/0026-0495(76)90009-3. PMID: 1263845.
  4. Popkin, B. M., D’Anci, K. E., & Rosenberg, I. H. (2010). Water, hydration, and health. Nutrition reviews68(8), 439–458. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00304.x
  5. Kerndt PR, Naughton JL, Driscoll CE, Loxterkamp DA. Fasting: the history, pathophysiology and complications. West J Med. 1982 Nov;137(5):379-99. PMID: 6758355; PMCID: PMC1274154.
  6. Horne BD, Muhlestein JB, Lappé DL, May HT, Carlquist JF, Galenko O, Brunisholz KD, Anderson JL. Randomized cross-over trial of short-term water-only fasting: metabolic and cardiovascular consequences. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2013 Nov;23(11):1050-7. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2012.09.007. Epub 2012 Dec 7. PMID: 23220077.
  7. Castello L, Froio T, Maina M, Cavallini G, Biasi F, Leonarduzzi G, Donati A, Bergamini E, Poli G, Chiarpotto E. Alternate-day fasting protects the rat heart against age-induced inflammation and fibrosis by inhibiting oxidative damage and NF-kB activation. Free Radic Biol Med. 2010 Jan 1;48(1):47-54. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2009.10.003. Epub 2009 Oct 8. PMID: 19818847.
  8. Lee C, Raffaghello L, Brandhorst S, Safdie FM, Bianchi G, Martin-Montalvo A, Pistoia V, Wei M, Hwang S, Merlino A, Emionite L, de Cabo R, Longo VD. Fasting cycles retard growth of tumors and sensitize a range of cancer cell types to chemotherapy. Sci Transl Med. 2012 Mar 7;4(124):124ra27. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3003293. Epub 2012 Feb 8. PMID: 22323820; PMCID: PMC3608686.
  9. Goldhamer A, Lisle D, Parpia B, Anderson SV, Campbell TC. Medically supervised water-only fasting in the treatment of hypertension. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2001 Jun;24(5):335-9. doi: 10.1067/mmt.2001.115263. PMID: 11416824.
  10. Goldhamer AC, Lisle DJ, Sultana P, Anderson SV, Parpia B, Hughes B, Campbell TC. Medically supervised water-only fasting in the treatment of borderline hypertension. J Altern Complement Med. 2002 Oct;8(5):643-50. doi: 10.1089/107555302320825165. PMID: 12470446.
  11. Mehanna, H. M., Moledina, J., & Travis, J. (2008). Refeeding syndrome: what it is, and how to prevent and treat it. BMJ (Clinical research ed.)336(7659), 1495–1498. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.a301
  12. Choi JH, Seo JD, Kim MJ, Choi BY, Choi YR, Cho BM, Kim JS, Choi KD. Vertigo and nystagmus in orthostatic hypotension. Eur J Neurol. 2015 Apr;22(4):648-55. doi: 10.1111/ene.12622. Epub 2014 Dec 30. PMID: 25641037.

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