Health Benefits Of Water Fasting: New Study Reveals Its Impact Beyond Weight Loss

A recent study reveals systemic changes in the body during prolonged fasting. The study showed evidence of health benefits beyond weight loss, however, any potentially health-altering changes start to happen only after three days without food. Water fasting taps into body reserves, promoting detoxification, weight loss and mental clarity. Read on to know more about the study.
Water fasting

New Study Reveals Impact Of Water Fasting That's Beyond Weight Loss

A recent study published in the journal Nature Metabolism revealed that the body experiences significant and systematic changes across multiple organs during prolonged periods of fasting.
The study showed evidence of health benefits beyond weight loss, however, any potentially health-altering changes started to happen only after three days without food. Researchers from Queen Mary University of London and the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences have identified potential health benefits from fasting, which could lead to therapeutic interventions for people who cannot undergo prolonged fasting or fasting-mimicking diets.
Maik Pietzner, professor at Queen Mary University said, “Our findings have provided a basis for some age-old knowledge as to why fasting is used for certain conditions. While fasting may be beneficial for treating some conditions, often times, fasting won’t be an option for patients suffering from ill health.”
The scientists followed 12 healthy volunteers taking part in a seven-day water-only fast. The volunteers were monitored closely on a daily basis to record changes in the levels of around 3,000 proteins in their blood before, during, and after the fast.
They found that the body switched energy sources, from glucose to fat stored in the body, within the first two or three days of fasting. The volunteers lost an average of 5.7 kg of both fat mass and lean mass. After three days of eating after fasting, the weight stayed off, the loss of lean was almost completely reversed, but the fat mass stayed off, the study found.
Claudia Langenberg, Director of Queen Mary’s Precision Health University Research Institute said, “Fasting, when done safely, is an effective weight loss intervention. Popular diets that incorporate fasting, such as intermittent fasting, claim to have health benefits beyond weight loss.”
The researchers said that the results provided evidence for the health benefits of fasting beyond weight loss, but these were only visible after three days of total caloric restriction, later than they previously thought.

What is water fasting?

Water fasting is a practice where an individual abstains from consuming any food or beverages except water for a certain period of time, typically ranging from 24 hours to several days. During a water fast, the body relies on its stored reserves for energy, including glycogen stored in the liver and muscle tissue, and eventually turning to fat stores for fuel. This process leads to a state of ketosis, where the body begins to break down fat for energy production. Water fasting is believed to promote various health benefits, including detoxification, weight loss, improved mental clarity and potential longevity.
However, it should be done with caution and under medical supervision, especially for extended durations, as it may lead to nutrient deficiencies, dehydration, electrolyte imbalances and other adverse effects. If you’re considering a water fast, make sure to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure it is safe for your health condition and to manage its effects on the body.
(With inputs from IANS)
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