Have you ever considered going without food for two days? Here we’ll explore four amazing 48-hour fast benefits. We cover everything from weight loss to the anti-aging effects that fasting offers.
But first, what is fasting? Fasting is the period of time between consuming calories – either through the consumption of food or calorie-containing beverages.
Fasting has been around for thousands of years, used therapeutically and for religious purposes. There are many versions of fasting, from water fasting to consuming bone broth or fresh-pressed juices. The length of the fasting period also varies anywhere from one day to 28 days or more, from time-restricted eating to alternating between fasting and non-fasting days. There really is no wrong or right way to fast, but the underlying premise is always to refrain from consuming food for a set period of time.
People typically undertake fasting durations for a myriad of health issues such as quick weight loss, improvement of cholesterol and triglycerides levels, increased energy levels, overall health improvement, and a range of other potential health benefits that we will discuss in this article.
What Is a 48-Hour Fast?
A 48-hour fast is simply hitting the pause button on eating for two days—no food or caloric beverages are consumed for 48 consecutive hours. The idea is that you give your body a rest from digesting food and allow your organs to focus on other important tasks in that time. Digestion is a huge process our bodies undergo on a daily basis. It’s estimated to take about 10 percent of calories consumed in a day just to digest the food and extract nutrients. Keep in mind that calories are just a unit for measuring energy—and that is a lot of energy! When you give the body a break from digesting food for a 48-hour fasting period, it can allocate all of that saved energy to other vital functions.
4 Amazing 48-Hour Fast Benefits
The list of 48-hour fast benefits is not only comprehensive but significant. Yes, there are benefits to shorter fasts, such as extended overnight intermittent fasting or a one day 24-hour fast. There are also benefits unique to fasting for longer periods. But a full two days of abstaining from food allows for ample time to reap the following rewards:
1. 48-Hour Fast Benefit: Promotes Autophagy
Refraining from food for a short period of time results in a substantial uptick in autophagy in many of the body’s organs. Autophagy is a process that allows your body to repair and refresh its cells. Autophagy also removes damaged cells that are no longer functioning properly. This protective measure helps prevent diseases, such as cancer, and can arrest tissue aging and promote longevity. A 48-hour fast will upregulate autophagy and cellular repair.
2. 48-Hour Fast Benefit: Aids in Weight Loss
One of the most alluring 48-hour fast benefits is its potential impact on weight loss, and lowering body fat percentage. But is there any evidence to support this?
Any calorie restriction diet will likely result in some weight loss, and fasting for 48-hours is no different in this respect. But, a 48-hour fast has also been proven to accelerate fat burning.
Harvard Health Publishing states that the body can enter ketosis in as few as 12 hours into a fast. Whilst the initial weight loss for many overweight and normal weight individuals when first entering ketosis is largely due to fluid loss tied to utilizing glycogen stores, most of the weight loss thereafter, is due to the break down of stored fat. This occurs as fatty-acid derived ketones are used for energy in a fasted state.
Fasting has also been proven to increase metabolic rate resulting in an uptick of calories burned during the fast in addition to the calories eliminated from not consuming food or caloric beverages.
3. 48-Hour Fast Benefit: Improves Metabolic Health and Blood Sugar Regulation
Periodic fasting has been shown to lower insulin levels and enhance insulin sensitivity, which in turn helps prevent the development of insulin resistance and aids in blood sugar control. Being more sensitive to insulin allows your body to use blood sugar more efficiently.
4. 48-Hour Fast Benefit: Reduces Inflammation and Oxidative Stress
A reduction in multiple markers of inflammation and oxidative stress is also on the list of 48-hour fast benefits. Chronic inflammation is tied to a whole host of health issues, and oxidative stress (an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body) is the main culprit. Fasting for a two-day period may scale down oxidative stress in your cells, thus lowering inflammation in the body.
Potential Side Effects of a 48-Hour Fast
While the 48-hour fast benefits are enticing, forgoing food and caloric beverages for a solid two days does not come without some possible unpleasant side effects.
Probably the most obvious side effect of not eating for an extended period of time is dealing with hunger. Not much explanation is needed for this one! You will be hungry when you fast for 48 hours. Hunger usually subsides with time when it comes to fasting, but hunger is usually prominent at the get-go.
Going hand-in-hand with hunger levels is fatigue and a lower level of energy than usual. This usually subsides as well when you continue fasting for long periods of time, but fatigue is pronounced right along with hunger at the beginning as your body transitions from burning carbohydrates and stored glucose to fat for energy.
Fasting without an adequate intake of fluids can lead to dehydration and subsequent complications. It’s important to ensure proper water intake when fasting for an extended period of time.
Social Schedule Disturbances
Given that a majority of social activities revolve around eating and drinking, attending events while undergoing a 48-hour fast may prove difficult and warrant a strong dose of willpower. It’s always best to take a look at your calendar before choosing when to take on a longer fast.
Possible Nutrient Deficiencies
While fasting for 48 hours is on the shorter side of fasts and still under the intermittent fasting umbrella, if you partake in abstaining from food for two days on a frequent basis, it may eventually lead to possible nutrient deficiencies. The days in between fasts should not be chock-full of fast food and sweets. It’s prudent to ensure you receive adequate amounts and high-quality sources of macronutrients such as protein and healthy fats.
There are an array of positive 48-hour fast benefits. Incorporating fasting into your regimen can be an important aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a consistent, healthy weight. As always, before embarking on any restrictive eating plan or variation of longer fasts, it is important to consult a healthcare professional and get the green light. There are definitely several health benefits to fasting, but there can also be some dangers if you’re not prepared properly.
Whether you’re ready to get started with a 48-hour water fast, want to aim for and undertake a 72-hour fast, ease in with a 36-hour fast or shorter, or even try just regular intermittent fasting, a myPrimalCoach is here to guide you.