Even though dry fasting has been witnessing increased popularity in recent times, it is an ancient practice, which has been practiced for several millennia, primarily for religious purposes.
Dry fasting can be done for a limited period and can be combined with different fasting methods like Keto and intermittent fasting for more extended periods.
IMPORTANT: Under no circumstances should you avoid having water for more than 48 to 72 hours. No matter what others say, going without water for more than 72 hours can result in severe health consequences, and can also be fatal in some instances.
Dry FastingAs the name suggests, dry fasting is a method of fasting where one avoids consuming water or food for a specified period.
Lack of water can help accelerate certain benefits you get while being on a water fast such as metabolic health and reduced inflammation.
Dry fasting has been associated with reduced inflammation in the body, balanced glucose levels, and lower blood pressure.
Types of Dry FastingThere are two types of dry fasting:
Intermittent dry fasting: A fasting routine that can be either a 16/8 or 20/4 intermittent fasting where the eating window is usually 8 or 4 hours.
Prolonged dry fasting: When you go without any food or water for 24 hours or more.
Fasting for more than 24 to 48 hours is not advisable, and a lack of water for a prolonged period can be harmful.
Benefits of Dry FastingWhile experts disagree on the number of benefits that one can get by going on a dry fast, there are 8 significant benefits that one can get.
- Enhanced cognitive function
- Enhanced anti-inflammation activity
- Glycemic control
- Balanced lipids
- Lower blood pressure
- Diabetes prevention
- Preventing coronary diseases
- Improved bone health
Stages of Dry FastingThere are two major stages in dry fasting.
1. Burning GlycogenWhen the body is deprived of water or food, it starts burning stored glycogen. It can last for two or three days and becomes the major fuel source during intermittent fasting.
2. Burning FuelThe next stage involves the body burning fat for getting the fuel. Using fat sources will help you remain hydrated, have lower thirst, prevent any discomfort, and enter ketosis quicker.
Breaking a Dry FastWhether you have taken an intermittent dry fasting or prolonged fasting, few steps must be followed while breaking the dry fast.
Drinking water after fastGo for that glass of water once you complete your fast. Take about 470 ml of water after fasting. Sip slowly so that the body is not overwhelmed with the sudden inflow.
Swish the water around to coat the mouth and, most importantly the tongue entirely before swallowing it. Once you complete the glass, do not have any liquid for the next hour or two.
Have water every hourOnce you have waited for an hour, take another 470 ml of water. Keep having it every hour after your fast for the next 3 to 4 hours. This will help in rehydrating your body.
Take small sips to prevent bloating. Once you start having water, the energy levels start coming back up.
Once four hours have passed, you can start taking water as you usually do if you were not fasting. Some dry fasting experts suggest taking only four glasses of water in a day when you break dry fasting.
Start including fresh and healthy foods in the dietOnce your body is rehydrated, you will start feeling hunger pangs and will try to reach out to the nearest available food and gorge on it. That’s a strict no-no.
Once your body is ready for food, try having some dried food such as figs, apricots, raisins as a light snack. Make sure that you do not overeat. So checking the portion size is very important.
Continue having light snacks like unsalted peanuts or fruits for the remaining hours of the day.
You can also have fruit juices, not smoothies or shakes if you are not able to have dry fruits. You can take either a homemade fresh fruit juice or one readily available in the market.
Take it in a 50:50 ratio and have it for the rest of the day.
Avoid carb-rich food or sodium for the next 48 hoursCarbs and sodium tend to retain water and can reverse the beneficial effects gained from the dry fasting quickly.
Avoid any soups, sweets, cured meats, or grains. Pick food that is low on carbs, sodium, or fat for the first few meals after your dry fast.
Either use no seasoning or light seasoning on the food for the first few meals once you start taking food. For instance, a meal of plain cooked chicken breast and green vegetables serves as an ideal meal after the fast.