We live in a world where our senses are bombarded with stimulation. Although we may not feel hungry, the scent of chocolate or fried food can immediately make us give in to this temptation. Water fasting gives the digestive system a chance to rest. Every night during sleep, our bodies attempt to heal and restore. Breaking the fast with food begins the process of digestion once again and this continues until the body is given a chance to rest during a fast.
What Happens When the Digestive System has Time to Rest?
The most dramatic changes occur during the first three days of a water fast when the body switches from one energy source to another – glucose to ketosis. When we eat, glycogen is the main source of energy, which is obtained from food and stored in the liver. During the first 24 hours of a fast, the glycogen stores are depleted and the body dips into fat reserves, a process called ketosis to fuel the body’s energy.
By the third day of a water fast, the body is completely reliant on fat reserves to survive. Very little muscle mass is lost on a water fast; only ½ to 2 ounce of muscle mass each day. Even on a thirty day water fast, the body will only lose up to a maximum 2lbs of muscle mass. The body will lose a substantial amount of weight, mainly water weight, but any excess water weight that is causing weight gain will be lost.
The breakdown of fat tissue hits its peak toward the tenth day and the seven days after this period is when the body breaks down most of its fat reserves. The body is very efficient at preserving essential muscle tissue, so it seeks out any foreign bacteria that are causing disease or illness in the body; this includes bacteria, fibroid tumours, degenerative tissue, and viruses. During a water fast, the body is in an intensive state of detoxification and the body may not require much rest during sleep.
Treat Hypertension With Water Fasting
A clinical study involving 174 subjects with high blood pressure was performed with fasting. The subjects were told to eat only a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables for three days prior to the fast, which then followed with an eleven day water fast. This then finished with a seven day low fat and low sodium diet post fast. After the trial, the subjects with hypertension achieved a healthy blood pressure of around 140/90.
Their blood pressure count was recorded pre-trial and the subjects who had a higher blood pressure experienced the most change. What was most beneficial about this study is the fact that the subjects could discontinue their blood pressure medication post fast.
Water Fasting is Potent Treatment for Obesity
Water fasting can bring many spiritual benefits too, as well as break the addictions that we all experience toward food, alcohol and cigarette smoking. The main cause of type II diabetes is an unhealthy diet of processed foods that leads to obesity. Fasting causes a substantial amount of weight loss. Once the weight is lost the body is better able to combat illness and disease. In addition, water fasting can treat chronic heart disease and high cholesterol.
Contraindications to Water Fasting
Not everyone should attempt a fast and it is important to always consult a doctor before attempting a fast. The people who should not attempt a fast include pregnant diabetic women, breastfeeding mothers, people with severe anaemia, men or women with anorexia, bulimia, or the rare genetic condition where the body is unable to produce ketones.