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There are so many tried and tested methods for weight loss, and a new one is 24 hour fasting. A 24 hour fast involves not eating for 24 hours, except for zero calorie liquids like coffee, tea and water. Although 24 hours is a short period of time, fasting has many health benefits.
Fasting has grown in popularity in recent years. There have been many books written about fasting and studies done on the topic. Let’s take a deeper look at a 24 hour fast, the benefits, and how to prepare.
24 Hour Fasting and the Miraculous Benefits
You might be wondering what exactly happens to your body during a 24 hour fast. Honestly, it’s really quite interesting. Once you discover the benefits of fasting, you’ll realize why it’s so popular. It’s not wonder every major religion has some type of fasting associated with it.
Let’s jump into the main benefits!
Burning Fat for Energy
As you’re likely aware your body needs energy in order to function. Energy is delivered to you from the food that you eat but also from reserves pre-existing in your body. Once all these reserves have been used up, your body will start to produce something called ketone bodies. Ketones are basically fat cells in the blood, your liver uses for energy. In short, this puts your body into ultra fat-burning mode which is ultimately where the weight loss comes from.
Improve Cell Resistance
When the body is fasted, it feels “starved”. This kicks the cells into turbocharge repair mode, increasing efficiency. Your cells will become more efficient at metabolizing existing fat, because they don’t know when they will get food again. It’s really a form of biohacking.
Slow the Aging Process
Fasting can slow down the wear and tear on your cells when they copy DNA to new cells. Simply put, aging is the process by which DNA doesn’t get transferred from cell to cell. Each time a cell dies, it copies its own DNA and “pastes” it into the new cell. As we age, the “paste” function erodes over time – that’s why we get gray hair, wrinkles and bones frail. Fasting slows down this cell deterioration process.
Eliminate Zombie Cells
Not only can we slow down the aging process with fasting, but we can also reverse cell damage by eliminating senescent cells. When we fast, our bodies clean out senescent cells. These are “zombie” stem cells that don’t convert to the appropriate cell. As they build up, senescent cells can turn to tumors or become cancerous.
24 Hour Fasting for Weight Loss
One of the main reasons why people might start 24 hour fasting is for weight-loss reasons. Keep in mind most weight loss in the first 24 hours is water. It’s impossible to lose a significant amount of fat in 24 hours, no matter how much you restrict food. The best part is, you won’t feel bloated at all!
This can be especially beneficial if you have an event coming up where you want to look as slim as possible. Some celebrities do a 24 hour fast before a red carpet appearance, like Jennifer Aniston and Halle Berry.
Alternatives to 24 Hours
While a 24 hour fast in itself might not do a great deal in terms of ACTUAL weight loss, many people swear by intermittent fasting. Once they change their eating habits for a longer period of time, they see real results. Intermittent fasting basically involves having a small “eating window” and fasting for the rest of the time. If you’ve tried 24 hour fasting or it is something that interests you, it’s definitely worth looking into. If 24 hours is too much to start, try these alternatives:
- 20 hour fast, 4 hour eating window
- 18 hour fast, 6 hour eating window
- 16 hour fast, 8 hour eating window
- 14 hour fast, 10 hour eating window
Another option is alternating fasting days. Under this method, you eat less than 500 calories on your fasting day, and eat normal caloric intake on the 2nd day. Repeat the process. Mentally, this might be easier than fasting a full 24 hours.
It also should be noted that When you are fasting, you are more likely to eat better when you stop, it’s a subconscious thing that has been backed up by studies of those who practice intermittent fasting regularly. With all the hard work you are putting into those fasting periods of your life, you are not going to want to sabotage it by eating junk food once you stop your fasting.
In general, fasting can put you off on the right foot and can also teach you better eating habits. If you do 24 hour fasting regularly, you will also get into the habit of drinking more water which has enormous health benefits of its own.
Weight loss is the main thing that people think about when considering fasting for a significant period of time but there are other benefits too, so let’s take a look at some of them!
- It can help you control your blood pressure by reducing insulin resistance. This might not sound like much but reducing insulin resistance allows your body to transport glucose into your bloodstream much more effectively which helps overall health.
- Fasting is said to improve cognitive function, therefore making you feel more alert and energized during your day.
- A study into fasting proved that fasting for short periods of time but on a regular basis can help to fight inflammation. This reduces your likelihood of everyday infections like the common cold and even more serious conditions like heart disease and cancer.
- HGH (the human growth hormone) is something that is vital in improving many aspects of your general health. This includes metabolism, growth, weight loss, and muscle strength. Studies have shown that regular fasting naturally increases the HGH hormone.
- When fasting for a long period of time, your body will become extra sensitive to the next nutrients that your body takes in. You can take full advantage of that if you have a particular goal (i.e. building lean muscle) by eating a protein-packed meal when you break your fast.
- In a study that was done on rats, fasting proved to increase lifespan! Although you are not a rodent, 24 hour fasting could definitely be beneficial in slowing down that aging process.
How to Start a 24 Hour Fast
You might be a little nervous about not eating for 24 hours and that is to be expected but preparing for it well and getting in the right mindset will ensure that you are successful. In the few days leading up to the fast, eating less is definitely recommended.
Reducing your calorie intake in the lead up to the fast will get your body more prepared for what is about to come. Right before your fast, eat a decent-sized meal but don’t overdo it! Making sure that you get plenty of sleep the night before. This is really important so that your body is working to its full potential. It isn’t called a 24 hour fast for nothing, so make sure that you have plenty of water throughout the day when you are fasting.
One way to really stay the course is to drink a lot of calorie free liquids, like water, tea and coffee.
Side Effects and Warnings of 24 Hour Fasting
There are definitely benefits to 24 hour fasting but it isn’t for everyone. It is not recommended that those suffering from diabetes or low blood sugar try this type of fasting. There might be some minor side effects like dizziness during 24 hour fast weight loss but just make sure that you are keeping on top of your water intake and this should subside.
Just water is best when you are doing a 24 hour fast weight loss but if you are feeling desperate for something else, you can also drink 0 calorie drinks, green tea and coffee without creamer or sugar. You will feel hunger when 24 hour fasting but that is something that will subside the more you get used to it. With that being said, listen to your body and if you feel you are experiencing more serious side effects or are feeling unwell, stop the fast and eat some food.
Conclusion on 24 hour fasting methods
As you can see 24 hour fasting can be beneficial for weight loss, building better eating habits and overall health. Now that you are a little bit more knowledge, you should be able to make an informed decision. Please keep in mind that all the information here is research-based and if you are going to make a big change to your diet or eating regime, it is recommended that you contact a physician for advice on 24 hour fasting.
This is Pamir from the JarKitchen team. I am a chef who really likes cooking, learning, sharing. I believe cooking and eating is not just about flavor,flavor-matching, or need. It has a deeper meaning for me. At the end of the day, we are what we eat. Let’s learn, cook, share, and evolve together.