by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
Yeah, another fasting-based diet. But hear me out. If you’ve tried intermittent fasting in the past, you’ve probably seen some results. This 48-hour fasting plan kicks things up a notch (or three).
48-hour fasting is a type of intermittent fasting where you stop eating for this duration while sticking to calorie-free drinks. It’s believed to have advantages for weight loss and cell renewal. Intermittent fasting has gained popularity over the years because of its possible health benefits. Among various fasting approaches, the 48-hour fast is one of the lengthiest, with shorter fasting periods being more common.
Choosing the right intermittent fasting method can be perplexing due to the array of options available. Each approach has merits and drawbacks, and understanding them can guide your choice while also being half the battle.
Overall, 48-hour fasting is an advanced intermittent fasting method, entailing a continuous two-day period without food intake. It’s important to note that this technique is suitable only for healthy individuals with previous experience in shorter fasting durations, like daily 16-hour fasts or occasional 24- to 36-hour fasts.
In this article, we will dive deeper and learn more about 48-hour fasting and its benefits to see if this is something you want to try for yourself.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to treat or diagnose any condition. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor before making any changes to your nutrition plan.
What Is 48-Hour Fasting?
48-hour fasting falls under the intermittent fasting umbrella, involving a minimum 48-hour break from consuming any food. During this fasting period, you can only consume calorie-free beverages, aiding in electrolyte and energy replenishment.
To do the 48-hour fast, it’s essential to understand the rationale behind intermittent fasting. This dietary approach alternates between eating and fasting windows, allowing your digestive system periods of rest. During fasting, your body taps into stored fuel for energy, capitalizing on ketosis, where fat stores become the primary energy source as glucose depletes.
Fasting, a practice with a long history, has been employed for religious reasons by many individuals safely. Studies indicate that structured fasting and eating patterns contribute to weight loss and various health advantages.
48-hour fasting is rather stringent and isn’t suitable for everyone. Many individuals choose to undertake it once weekly, and it has gained significant popularity in recent years.
The Benefits of 48-Hour Fasting
According to a study, “Extended fasting has the potential to address insulin resistance and cardiometabolic issues by promoting weight loss and enhancing various cardiometabolic indicators, all without the need for medications or surgical procedures.”
Below are a few reasons to consider before starting a 48-hour fasting:
1. It may reduce inflammation
Prolonged fasting wields robust anti-inflammatory properties, potentially decreasing the likelihood of inflammatory conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Fasting initiates hormonal shifts that reduce the creation of pro-inflammatory substances while also prompting immune cells to release anti-inflammatory molecules. This dual action helps quell immune responses and diminish inflammation.
2. Helps in weight loss
A 48-hour fast creates a significant calorie deficit that can support extended weight loss for certain individuals. Nevertheless, it’s crucial not to engage in 48-hour fasting too frequently.
According to a review, intermittent fasting delivers comparable short-term weight loss outcomes to conventional continuous calorie reduction, particularly in individuals dealing with excess weight or obesity. Consequently, reducing excessive calorie intake through traditional methods may be as effective as fasting for weight loss.
3. BDNF and brain function
Extended fasting positively impacts brain cells and promotes the growth of new nerve cells, a phenomenon referred to as neurogenesis. During fasting, the body increases the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein crucial for developing and preserving neurons.
Also, fasting exhibits the capability to diminish inflammation in the brain, reducing the risk of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
4. Slows cell aging
The body’s inherent cellular repair mechanism plays an essential role in maintaining health and may serve as a preventive measure against diseases while potentially delaying tissue aging.
Although most research on enhanced cellular repair and its potential to extend overall longevity primarily draws from animal studies, a considerable body of evidence suggests that 48-hour fasting can notably boost cellular repair compared to other fasting techniques.
The concept of autophagy finds favor among intermittent fasting enthusiasts. Essentially, it’s the body’s way of discarding dysfunctional cell components. Autophagy facilitates tissue regeneration by recycling or disposing of damaged cell material. Extended fasting, which depletes energy stores, activates specific pathways instigating autophagy.
In a review from 2018, it’s noted that both fasting and calorie restriction serve as methods to initiate autophagy within the body’s cells. Slowing down the digestive process enables cells to prioritize self-regeneration.
6. Improves insulin sensitivity
Extended fasting has demonstrated its ability to enhance the body’s insulin sensitivity more effectively than solely relying on calorie restriction. This metabolic advantage can exert substantial positive effects on various bodily systems.
7. Gut biome
According to a study, individuals who practiced 48-hour fasting experienced a faster elimination of harmful bacteria from their systems. This effect is attributed to the increase in immunoglobulin A.
With a heightened concentration of immunoglobulin A in the body, it becomes more effective in combating detrimental gut bacteria while promoting the flourishing of beneficial bacteria.