How long can I fast?

by - April 11, 2019


Whether you are fasting for physical reasons, emotions reasons or spiritual reasons, the question of how long you should hold a fast would most certainly cross your mind.

This question, I must say, is left entirely to you to figure out.

In this article, however, we will outline and explain the benefits and dangers of long fasts to you in hopes that you would be able to make a solid decision as to how long you should keep your fast.

The question also depends on the reason why you are fasting.

Let's talk a bit about Long Fasts.


A Long Fast/Extended Fast.


This is when you abstain from food for more than 24 hours. Once your fast is lasting longer than a day, it is a Long Fast or an Extended Fast as it is called in Intermittent Fasting.


What are some benefits of Long Fasts?


Long Fasts, though they appear tedious and scary to do, actually do have very helpful health and physical benefits like:


1. It helps in fast loss of weight


Fasting for a long time like for 3 days will see to it that you lose some pounds of weight. Numerous studies have been carried out to prove this fact. When you fast for 10 to 12 hours, you might not really see the effects of the fasting on your body weight but try Fasting for 48 hours or 72 hours even! Your weight will drop significantly.
This is good news if you have too much weight and wish to lose some.


2. It activates Autophagy


Autophagy is the renewal of body cells.
When you eat, your body is kind of eating itself up. But when you stop eating, your body is able to discard old cells and replace them with new ones. This will ultimately slow down the ageing process in your body since the body is renewing itself.
It is only a little fast that can activate Autophagy.


3. Lowers your blood pressure.


Several studies have shown that extended fasting helps to lower the blood pressure significantly. This could be both bad and good. It will be good if you already have high blood pressure and you wish to lower it. But it will be bad if you have normal blood pressure and then lower it less than normal.

These and more are among the numerous gains your body gets when fast for long.

There are, of course, disadvantages to everything and that includes a Long Fast as well.

Some disadvantages are:

1. Starving to death.


In 1981, a group of political prisoners fasted in protest and ended up starving to death because their bodies couldn't cope for such long days without any food.


2. Hypotension.


This means that you might be prone to dizziness and maybe light headed if you fast for too long because this is what hypotension causes.

Hypotension means that your blood pressure is too low.

3. Heart Failure


After 3 days of not eating, or even less than that, your body begins to take into lean tissue which is muscle mass in the body. This includes the muscle in your biceps, legs and your heart! This could lead to the thinning of the heart's muscles which could eventually result in heart failure/heart attack.

These and others are all disadvantages or health issues you are at risk of facing if you fast for too long. So, be careful!

A long fast for up to 3 days or more can help you to get a hold of your hunger and know how to deal with it.  Why? Because your body "resets". But long fasts have too many disadvantages that makes them dangerous.

Keep your fast short and don't go down extreme periods. If you must fast for long, be aware of the risks and end it as soon as you start to feel sick.

You should not fast for more than 24 hours ideally but some people can fast and live on only water for up to 7 days. It depends on you.

You should also know When to stop fasting too.


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