7 Benefits of Water Fasting

Recently the health industry has been abuzz about fasting. Is it safe? Is it beneficial? Is it truly healthy? Medical research has shown that fasting, when done correctly, does have many health benefits and can give you an advantage with your weight loss journey, improve your mental health and increase the overall health of your body. So, what kind of fasting is best for you? One of the simplest forms of fasting that has been around since time began is the water fast. Water fasting is a process where you eat nothing, just drink water, for a set period of time. For some, that period is 24-72 hours, for others, it might last for a week or longer. While water fasting can be done without the supervision of a physician, it is a good idea to check with your doctor prior to committing to a water fast, especially if you are hoping to fast for more than a few days. There are some risks to water fasts associated with certain health conditions that you should be aware of prior to starting a water fast, particularly for those with diabetes or kidney disease. However, for the large majority of the population, there are many advantages to water fasting. We’ll discuss some of these below.

1. Increases Insulin Sensitivity

First, water fasting increases insulin sensitivity. When we eat, insulin levels go up during digestion as glucose (or sugar) is processed and sent right to different parts of the body for use as energy. So, naturally, if we are not eating, insulin levels will go down. Why does this matter? When our bodies are more sensitive to insulin, they are better at regulating and reducing our blood sugar levels. When our blood sugar level goes down, our body starts to use stored fat for energy. When your insulin level or blood sugar is high, your body takes the glycogen or sugar that is found in foods and starts frantically storing it as fat, which is not healthy. High blood sugar is also associated with salt and water retention, making you feel bloated and heavy. Additionally, greater insulin sensitivity combats insulin resistance, a problem where cells don’t effectively use insulin. It leads to a build-up of sugar in the blood and is often linked to diabetes and heart disease. Water fasting also makes your body more sensitive to the hormone leptin. This is the hormone that gives you that hungry feeling. Greater sensitivity to leptin lowers your risk of obesity by helping your body better process hunger signals.

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