Dry Fasting And Intermittent Fasting Differences | Benefits Of Dry Fasting | Side Effects Of Dry Fasting
Talks of intermittent fasting are making a significant impact around. Fitness experts and influencers have talked a lot about the various benefits of intermittent fasting in recent times. But have you heard about dry fasting?
Dry fasting is one of the newer fad diets that has been making rounds amongst the fitness freaks. There has been an increasing interest in the benefits and side effects of dry fasting.
But, how true are the claims made on dry fasting? Talks about dry fasting often indicate that abstaining from water can help your body reset or detox. But that does not give us the whole picture.
Dry fasting has been practiced since ancient times by various spiritual and religious groups. So it is safe to say that this diet does hold some benefits. But what about the side effects of depriving your body of water for prolonged periods?
Every coin has two sides, and in this article, we will explore the benefits and side effects of dry fasting. Read on to learn more about this latest diet trend and decide if it’s good for your body.
How Is Dry Fasting Different From Intermittent Fasting?
Dry fasting is an extreme form of fasting that requires a restriction on your food and water intake.
While practicing intermittent fasting, you can drink non-caloric drinks outside your eating window. However, you cannot do that in dry fasting; even soup, tea, black coffee, and water are not allowed.
To learn more about how to get started, you can read a detailed guide about dry fasting here. The best way to ascertain if this diet is good for you or not is to educate yourself about its pros and cons. Let’s get started.
Benefits Of Dry Fasting
1. Weight loss
The biggest reason people opt for dry fasting is that it results in quick and effective weight loss. Putting your body under a strict restriction of calories forces the cells to burn their own toxins for nutrients.
A researcher analyzed the effects of dry fasting during Ramadan. People who fast during Ramadan forego food and water for a particular time window. The study revealed that all participants experienced weight loss and decline in their body mass index (BMI) at the end of the fast.
Keep in mind that dry fasting during Ramadan is practiced intermittently and is limited to only one month. There isn’t enough scientific evidence that backs these benefits over prolonged and repetitive periods of dry fasting.
Dry fasting is a method that shows quick results, especially in the case of visible weight loss. The idea of losing weight quickly is definitely appealing, but most of the weight loss comes from losing fluids. After you break the dry fast, a big part of the weight would tend to come back. This indicates that however appealing and quick dry fasting may sound, it isn’t the most sustainable plan for weight loss.
2. Boost In Immune Function
You may have heard of the notion of how fasting can strengthen the immune system. It is believed that fasting can “reset” the immune system by clearing out dead cells and allowing the body to regenerate.
Evidence also indicates that restricting calories (not water) can reduce inflammation and protect your immune system.
3. Reduced Inflammation
Another commonly heard benefit of dry fasting is its effect on inflammation. A study observed a reduction in inflammation in people fasting for Ramadan. There was a significant decline in inflammatory proteins during the third week of dry fasting.
This suggested that the participants experienced reduced inflammation while fasting, which may further boost the immune system.
4. Wound Healing
It is believed that dry fasting can support the rate of wound healing. Since dry fasting boosts your immune system, this, in turn, helps with faster wound healing. A study revealed that repeated fasting resulted in temporarily speeding up the rate of wound healing.
In contrast, other researchers have presented contradictory results reporting that calorie restriction slows down wound healing. More research is needed to confirm the effects of dry fasting on wound healing.
Side effects of Dry Fasting
After learning about all the benefits of dry fasting, the next question that arises is, “how safe is dry fasting?”
We have grown up hearing from various resources about the multiple benefits of drinking water. From health experts to nutritionists recommend drinking water for weight loss and overall health.
So what happens when you deprive your body of the essential water? Let’s take a deeper look into the side effects of dry fasting.
The most critical side effect of dry fasting is dehydration. When you stop feeding your body, it burns down fat and muscle to restore its energy reserves. Experts believe that this results in the accumulation of toxic byproducts in your system and requires more water to flush out.
In short, avoiding food results in your body needing more water, and not less. The human body comprises 70 to 80 % of water. Dry fasting makes it difficult for our bodies to carry out daily tasks such as flushing out toxins and wastes.
Repeated episodes of dry fasting put your body at severe risk of dehydration. This could lead to serious complications, including kidney stones, urinary tract infections, low blood volume, electrolyte imbalance, and seizures.
Experts have also stated that your body goes into water conservation mode as a consequence of dry fasting. As a result of homeostasis, cutting back on water pushes the body to produce chemicals and hormones to hold onto any water.
This indicates that you may experience a short-term weight loss from dry fasting. Even bodybuilders and movie stars have been known to dry fast before the day of their competition or shoot to bring more definition to their muscles. However, once you consume normal fluid, your body will cling to the water even more than before.
2. Increased Hunger Pangs
Water is the best calorie-free drink that fills your belly and sends a signal to your brain, indicating that your stomach is full. Research has found that drinking water helps lose weight, and adding two cups of water before every meal works as a very effective tool for weight loss.
Dry fasting requires restricting water entirely. This not only puts you at the risk of dehydration but also results in your brain interpreting it as hunger. The signs of dehydration often resemble that of feeling hungry. You might end up craving snacks when all you need is a sip of water.
Several nutritionists support fasting when done while drinking ample amounts of fluids. Water tends to make you feel fuller and reduces your hunger pangs, supporting your diet regimen. In short, drinking water helps you stick to your fast and avoid hunger cravings.
3. Increased Tiredness
Your body needs a minimum amount of water to carry out its essential functions. You also tend to lose water during daily activities through sweat. Your body needs water to stay cool and work efficiently.
If you are thirsty, your body ends up craving more water to feel energized and function optimally. Dehydration results in your blood pressure dropping during a dry fast, reducing blood flow to the brain. This results in a feeling of drowsiness and lethargy.
4. Mood Swings
Yes, you heard that right. Water not only affects your overall health but also influences your mood. According to a study, adults who drank more water had a lower risk of developing anxiety and depression than those who drank less water.
Another interesting research revealed that increasing or decreasing your water consumption can directly affect your mood, sleep-wake cycle, calmness, and feeling of satisfaction.
People who start dry fasting tend to feel irritable and experience more mood swings than usual. Lower water intake is also linked to increased tension and confusion.
Dry fasting has been around since ancient times. The benefits of dry fasting, including weight loss, boosting the immune system, and wound healing, have been supported by science. But these conclusions are based on people fasting for Ramadan, a form of limited intermittent fasting.
The side effects of dry fasting can outweigh the benefits to some extent. Prolonged dry fasting can put you at the risk of dehydration, kidney stones, or organ failure. There is no medical evidence supporting restricting water as a part of any diet for any period.
On the other side, intermittent fasting is a safer and more manageable form of fasting. The benefits of intermittent fasting have been backed by science, including weight loss. With this eating pattern, you can lose weight healthily and sustainably.
If you are new to intermittent fasting or need help finding your footing, then check our 21-Day Intermittent Fasting Challenge.