A 72-hour fast is intermittent fasting in which you abstain from food for three consecutive days or extend a shorter fast by one more day.
The idea behind total fasting is that by not consuming any food for an extended period, the body will enter a state called ketosis (burning stored fat instead of glucose)
A 72-hour fast can significantly reduce body weight. During the fast, your body burns stored fat for energy, leading to a decrease in body weight.
Additionally—and this will get technical (sorry!) —the way that insulin works also improves during a fast, leading over time to further decreased total blood glucose levels and reduced diabetes risk.
When considering the potential benefits of a 72-hour fast, it is important to remember that results vary from person to person and may depend on factors such as starting weight and overall health.
Before trying any fasting regimen, we recommend you consult your doctor.
How Does a 72-hour Fast Work?
When the body’s supply of glucose is exhausted, and no other food source is available, it burns stored fat for energy.
During a fast, the body’s insulin levels drop, and the liver converts stored glycogen into glucose to stabilize blood sugar levels. As glycogen stores are depleted, fat is broken down for energy—releasing ketones in the blood.
The presence of ketones signals the body that fat cells should continue releasing fatty acids for energy.
In the first three days of fasting, insulin levels drop significantly. The body begins to burn stored fat for energy, and its insulin sensitivity improves (which may lead to further weight loss over time).
The body enters a state of autophagy, during which it begins to clean out damaged cells and repair itself.
When insulin levels are high, the body is less likely to burn stored fat for energy and more likely to store it. This can lead people who fast regularly (either unintentionally or intentionally) toward insulin resistance, which can cause weight gain later on and various health problems like heart disease.
Reducing insulin levels and increasing the body’s production of ketones make it easier to burn stored fat. And because you’re not eating, your appetite is suppressed, making fasting easier.
A 72-hour fast is a severe restriction of calorie intake and should be done under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
Benefits of a 72-Hour Fast
–Weight loss: Fasting for as little as three days can lead to substantial weight loss. Ketosis, a byproduct of fasting that occurs when the body burns fat instead of glucose (its primary energy source), can help break down and digest stored adipose tissue mass—resulting in significant decreases in body weight.
-Improved insulin sensitivity: Prolonged fasting, in which a person abstains from eating for at least 12 hours, can improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin.
When insulin sensitivity is high, it becomes easier for the body to control blood sugar levels. This can lead to weight loss and a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes.
-Increased cellular repair: Autophagy is a cellular process in which the body repairs and regenerates itself by breaking down damaged cells. It is beneficial for overall health and may play a role in preventing chronic diseases.
Mental clarity: It is thought that fasting has positive effects on the brain, including improved focus and mental clarity. This may be due to the presence of ketones in the bloodstream—alternative fuel sources for neurons that can help keep them firing optimally despite missing out on glucose during a fast.
Fasting has also been shown to increase brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF). This protein supports the growth and survival of brain cells.
It’s important to note that a 72-hour fast is not suitable for everyone, and it’s important to consult a healthcare professional before attempting a fast. Also, certain individuals, such as pregnant women, children, and people with certain medical conditions, should avoid fasting.
Risks And Precautions
-Nutrient deficiencies: Because of the severe restriction on calorie intake during a 72-hour fast, there is a risk that the body may not get enough essential vitamins and minerals needed to function correctly.
You should consult a healthcare professional to ensure that your diet includes all the necessary nutrients.
-Dehydration: During fasting, the body may not get enough fluids; it’s important to drink plenty of water and other hydrating fluids (like herbal teas) to stay hydrated.
-other risks: Fasting can cause various symptoms, including fatigue, headaches, and irritability. Maintaining a regular fasting routine may also be challenging—especially for pregnant women or children—and may not be suitable for people with medical conditions.
Suppose you want to minimize the risks of fasting. In that case, preparing for the fast is essential by gradually reducing your calorie intake over a few days. This will make it easier for your body to adjust to not eating and help ensure that you stick with your intermittent fasting routine.
Furthermore, a healthy meal, consumed after fasting and before bedtime, can help minimize risks to your health. It’s also important to consult your doctor before attempting any long-term fasting.
Tips for Success
-Drinking water and herbal teas: Herbal teas, mainly ginger and green tea, can help keep the body hydrated when fasting. They also provide additional health benefits—ginger for digestion and green for antioxidants.
-Staying active: While fasting, it is important to stay busy, so the body stays in good shape. Regular exercise can boost energy levels and improve overall health—but it’s crucial to listen carefully to your body and take things easy if you feel fatigued.
-Gradually increase the length of your fasts: The body is less likely to struggle with fasting if you gradually ease it into a longer fast. For example, start by practicing 12- or 16-hour fasts and then slowly build up the length of time that you abstain from food until your natural hunger signals indicate that it’s time for breakfast (or whatever meal comes after your last one).
-Consult with a healthcare professional: One should always consult a healthcare professional before attempting a 72-hour fast to ensure that it is safe for them to do so. The doctor will guide how to prepare for and break the fast and monitor its progress.
For many people, fasting is not a suitable choice. Pregnant women and children should never go without food for more than one day.
It’s essential to monitor your body for signs of discomfort during the fast. If you experience any such symptoms, stop.
Fasting for 72 hours—a three-day fast or intermittent fasting (IF)—can provide many benefits, including weight loss and improved insulin sensitivity.
Though the amount of weight you can expect to lose may vary from person to person, it is possible for most people who begin a weight-loss program to shed some pounds.
Additionally, fasting has risks—including nutrient deficiencies and dehydration—and may not be suitable for everybody. People who are pregnant and those with certain medical conditions should consult a physician before attempting an extended fast.
It’s essential to consult your doctor before attempting a 72-hour fast to ensure that it is safe for you and that they can guide you through food preparation and how much water to drink during this period.
Furthermore, you should follow tips such as drinking plenty of water, exercising regularly, and fasting for long periods to achieve the best results.
In conclusion, a 72-hour fast can provide weight loss results and other benefits—but it’s essential to consult a doctor before attempting one. Listen carefully to your body throughout the process (and immediately stop if you feel unwell).