Water fasting: What it is and how it works

This article was updated by Ladders Staff on June 30, 2021.

Americans have become more health conscious than ever. According to the Washington Post, an average of 45 million people embark on a new diet every year.

The real question is, with so many different diets on the market, how do you choose the one that is best for you and your body? There are so many options now, ranging from the ever-popular Keto diet to the simplistic idea of intermittent fasting.

If you’re interested in fasting, there may be one diet you have not investigated yet. This one is called Water Fasting.

Some may not consider this an actual diet due to its short-term nature, but the concept behind it is fascinating.

What is Water Fasting?

Water fasting focuses on precisely that — water. Our bodies consist of approximately 80% water, so is this a strange concept?

It focuses on the idea of only consuming water for a restricted period. For water fasting, you would only drink water for 24-to-72 hours. This means you cannot have any food whatsoever. This would also mean that you cannot have any tea, coffee, soda, or any other form of beverage—only water.

Water fasting also opened the gateway to lead to other popular diets that you may have heard of, including the lemon detox diet. This concept is similar, as it uses lemon water to detox your system for approximately 40 days.

Typically, it is best to consult with a physician before starting a diet like this one (or any diet). Your doctor can then give you recommendations, as well as monitor your progress. Any form of diet which causes severe restrictions should always be carefully monitored.

Important notes on Water Fasting

Here are some important things to remember if you decide to give it a try.

Your body is used to having different nutrients throughout the day from different foods and beverages. These items give us energy through vitamin absorption, glucose, and proper hydration. Your daily regimen should already include water.

However, when you take away everything else except for the water, you will most likely experience severe fatigue. If you are someone who tends to have an active lifestyle, especially involving forms of fitness, it is not recommended that you perform these actions while on this diet.

Attempting to do any excess activity, or anything strenuous could possibly harm you if you do not have anything in your system to sustain it. A doctor would most likely recommend that you use this time as a rest period to avoid any possible harm due to a lack of energy.

So, while the concept of water fasting may be simple, it is not easy.

The possible benefits

The number one thing that everyone is typically looking to achieve with water fasting is weight loss. Weight loss is a hot topic, and water fasting could give the appearance of shedding those pounds faster.

But are you actually losing weight? Our bodies tend to hold a few pounds in water weight, so forming a rapid change in diet could lead to the release of excess water. This would give the impression of having lost weight, without actually losing any. As it is, your water weight fluctuates from day to day.

It is also possible that a person can lose weight from this process, but some of that weight may be lost muscle mass as well. Muscle mass requires certain nutrients to sustain itself, and by only consuming water, your body is being deprived of those nutrients.

Bottoms up

Water Fasting is an interesting concept, right alongside intermittent fasting. Like any diet on the market, it will have its positive and negative aspects, as well as some possible risks.

Whether you decide to give this one a try is entirely up to you! I would recommend doing a bit of research with your doctor to make sure this is the right diet for you.