If you are reading this, you are undoubtedly interested in intermittent fasting. A form of fasting that has become quite popular is dry fasting. This article will discuss dry fasting and how you can get started.
What Is Dry Fasting?
Dry fasting is a type of intermittent fasting where you don’t consume any water or food. This form of fasting is typically recommended to those with previous experience with intermittent fasting, like water or juice fasts.
As stated earlier, a dry fast is a type of fast where you don’t consume food and water. A major benefit of dry fasting is weight loss since you are not consuming any calories to power your body. That being said, since dry fasting cuts out food and water intake, doing this type of fast for long periods can be extremely difficult.
Types of Dry Fasts
There are two forms of dry fasts, hard dry fasts and soft dry fasts. Both of these cut out water intake; however, there is a lot more leeway with a soft dry fast. With either fast, you can still use water for purposes asides from drinking. This means you don’t have to preclude water from your daily routine simply because you are fasting.
You can wake up, brush your teeth, shower, and wash your hands. All of these activities don’t require any liquid intake, thereby adhering to the philosophy of a dry fast. Soft dry fasts enable you to do all of these. You have the freedom to continue with your basic hygiene routine.
A hard dry fast, on the other hand, is extremely restrictive. In fact, a hard dry fast is perhaps the most stringent form of intermittent fasting. With a hard dry fast, you will need to cut out all the basic hygiene activities that require water, such as washing your hands, cleaning your face, bathing, and brushing your teeth. Not only can you not drink water, but you also cannot touch water for the entirety of your fast.
Considering that this can be difficult to achieve, especially from a hygiene perspective, hard dry fasts generally have a limited timeline.
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Why Should You Consider a Dry Fast?
A dry fast is incredibly difficult and isn’t for the faint-hearted. There are various reasons why this type of intermittent fasting is gaining appeal. The following are a few reasons you should consider dry fasting:
It Can Be for Religious Reasons
Numerous religions require some type of intermittent fasting. It can be Christianity for lent and advent, Judaism for Yom Kippur, Mormonism every month, Buddhism, Jainism, and Ramadan fasting for the month. While the fasts highlighted aren’t clear-cut dry fasts; however, they share enough philosophies, such as the restriction of water intake.
It Can Help You Challenge Yourself
Intermittent dry fasting is perfect for those that love challenges. Perhaps you have attempted other types of intermittent fasting, from water fasts to juice fasts, 16:8 fasts, and alternate dry fasts, and conquered them. Dry fasting can be the next challenge to bolster your body’s results.
It Can Help You Reset Your Body
If you want to rest your body and begin with a clean slate, then intermittent dry fasting is a great way to rest your body in a healthy setting.
It Helps You Lose Weight
Every intermittent fasting can lead to weight loss; however, dry fasting can achieve weight loss quicker. A dry fast enables you to eliminate water weight and lower belly fat, resulting in a better-looking, trimmer you.
The amount of weight you lose during intermittent dry fasting will depend on various factors. For instance, if you dry fast for 5 days, you can lose almost 15 pounds; however, this duration is not suited for those new to intermittent fasting.
How to Dry Fast
Now that we understand the benefits associated with dry fasting, it is time to discuss how to begin.
Eat More Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Salt
Before commencing your dry fast, you must prepare your body before cutting out your food and water intake. The most effective way to do this is carefully select the food items you consume before starting your fast.
While it isn’t recommended, you can consume more salt on your food as a garnish. About an extra teaspoon should be fine. The extra salt helps your body to hold onto the vitamins and minerals in your system longer.
You also require omega-3 fatty acids, which as polyunsaturated fats. When you consume omega-3 fatty acids, they can take more time to digest than other food sources. This can help you ward off any hunger pangs during your fast.
A great way to naturally consume omega 3 is via fish such as mackerel and salmon. If you aren’t a fan of fish, then fish oil supplements can be the next best choice. You can also consume avocados as they are a great omega-3 source.
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Consult Your Doctor
You must consult your doctor before commencing a dry fast. You need to be the picture of health before undertaking this grueling process. Even if you believe you typically take good care of yourself, you shouldn’t skip this checkup.
Determine Your Fast Period
When dry fasting for the first time, you don’t have to push your body beyond its limits. Instead, practice shorter fasts till your body becomes accustomed to them. You should practice shorter fasts as research has shown dry fasting for upwards of an entire day has the same effect as water fasting for three days. With dry fasting, you get the cleansing benefits a lot quicker.
Know What You Are Getting Into
You should note that intermittent dry fasting requires a lot of discipline, patience, and knowledge of what your body can handle. Dry hard fasting can be difficult for even the most experienced intermittent fasters. If you are just starting out, it can be difficult for you to go without water and food at the same time.
Additionally, if you are dry fasting for the first time, you shouldn’t put too much on your plate. You can first start with a couple of juice or water fasts. Both of these intermittent fasts are similar to a dry fast. A juice fast is like a water fast; however, in the former, you can only consume fruit and vegetable juices.
Gaining experience with a juice or water fast is important. Diving right into intermittent dry fasting could shock your system, potentially placing your health at risk. Furthermore, if you are new to intermittent dry fasting, you should never go directly to hard dry fasting. Try a soft dry fast where you can remain clean with water and bathe several times.
Dry Fasting Benefits
There are various benefits associated with dry fasting, and the following are a few of them:
It Can Improve Your Cholesterol
Having cholesterol in your body isn’t all bad. HDL or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol travels through your body, eradicating the bad LDL or low-density lipoprotein. This ensures that you lower the risk of heart disease.
Research by the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics shows that LDL cholesterol decreases with dry fasting. Furthermore, dry fasting men see a decrease in total cholesterol and triglycerides, while women have more HDL cholesterol.
It Can Help Reduce Inflammation
Studies have shown that cytokines decreased in line with the length of a dry fast. Cytokines are compounds and proteins that influence inflammation and growth. Studies have shown that intermittent dry fasting can help reduce inflammation.
It Can Help You Control Your Blood Sugar
When your blood sugar spikes, you run the risk of developing hyperglycemia—a condition typical of those with diabetics that can also affect non-diabetics. Hyperglycemia symptoms include fatigue, sudden weight loss, concentration issues, blurry visions, excessive thirstiness, and headaches.
When this condition is left untreated, you can develop stomach and intestinal issues, vision troubles, skin infections, and cuts that don’t quickly heal. You can also suffer blood vessel, eye damage, nerve, and kidney damage. This can result in hair loss, erectile dysfunction, coldness, and insensitivity of feet.
When your blood sugar becomes too low, you have a condition referred to as hypoglycemia. This condition is just as alarming as hyperglycemia, as it has symptoms such as nervousness, headaches, shakiness, dizziness, sweating, hunger, and mood changes. If conditions persist, you could suffer from seizures, confusion, blurry vision, and even lose consciousness.
Dry Fasting Can Speed Up Healing
Dry fasting can be a great way to hasten the healing of a wound or cut. A study in 2019 discovered that the body’s immune system becomes more active during the dry fast, causing wounds to heal faster.
You Can Lower Your Risk of Osteoporosis
A study conducted on individuals during Ramadan fasting showed that the body’s production of parathyroid hormones increases. This hormone is responsible for boosting the formation of bones, blood calcium, and reabsorption rates. All of these lead to healthier bones, reducing osteoporosis risk.
You Get Results Quicker
One of the most significant benefits of dry fasting is that you can get quicker results than water fasting. When you cut out liquid intake, you get rid of adipose tissue, which enables you to shed weight faster. This is possible because you are not putting anything into your body during fasting.
Weight loss happens when you burn more calories than you consume. Your body continues to burn calories even when it is at rest, particularly during physical activity. This burn is accelerated because you aren’t adding any calories into your body during a water fast.
Asides from losing weight quicker, you burn fat quicker as well. The body requires glucose for energy, which comes from the foods we consume. To burn fat, the body has to burn up its store of glucose first.
If you have conducted other forms of intermittent fasting before trying a dry fast, your body’s glucose stores might be lower. This lower volume of glucose means that your body can burn fat more quickly.
Steps to Begin Dry Fasting
- The first thing you do is begin with a soft dry fast. When fasting, aim for 24 hours; however, if you get 12 for your first time dry fasting, you should see that as a win.
- You should never dive right into fasting. Getting your body ready to sustain itself during your fast is always best. To this end, you need to have enough omega-3 fatty acids in your system. You can get them via mackerel, salmon, and avocados.
- Add a bit of salt to what you eat before fasting. This can add additional vitamins and minerals.
- When dry fasting for the first time, ensure you do not push yourself too hard in the physical department. Conducting a high-intensity workout can make you sick. You are better off doing light exercises such as yoga and meditation. If possible, skip exercise on your first intermittent dry fasting period.
- Get enough sleep; you will need additional rest since you aren’t providing your body with additional energy. Not only is this healthy, but it can also make the fast go by faster.
- If you feel dizzy or lightheaded while conducting your prolonged dry fasting, you should end it. These symptoms could mean you are dehydrated. To confirm, monitor your heart rate and skin for dryness and a drop in blood pressure. All of these symptoms mean you need to stop fasting and drink water.
- When you end your prolonged dry fasting, you must drink just 16 ounces of water. Do not drink it all at once; you should take small sips.
- Continue this process every hour on the hour for 4 hours. Only after 4 hours can you start consuming foods such as nuts and dried fruits. Ensure you do not overeat during this period.
- You can resume your regular drinking and eating habits the next day.
- If you want to continue dry fasting, wait a couple of days before beginning. When starting your dry fasting, ensure you gradually work up to prolonged dry fasting. Once you have experience with soft dry fasts, you can move up to hard dry fasts.
About the author:
Rob Jones is a father of two who lives in Massachusetts and enjoys cooking and his dog Beau. Rob has spent years studying food and its effects on the body and mind. He believes in moderation and enjoyment.