48-hour fast: how to succeed and its health benefits

A 48-hour fast is a form of intermittent fasting that involves taking a two-day break from eating while drinking only calorie-free liquids. A 48-hour fast may not be suitable for everyone, as it carries certain risks for certain groups of people, but for others, here are the health benefits.

Intermittent fasting as a whole has recently gained popularity due to the health benefits of the practice. The 48-hour fast is one of the longest fasts, with shorter fasting periods being more common.

Here’s how to practice a 48-hour fast and the potential risks and benefits.

What is a 48H fast?

A 48-hour fast is an extended form of intermittent fasting. It consists of consuming no calories for two full days. During a 48-hour fast, you can only consume calorie-free drinks, including water, black coffee and herbal tea. Intermittent fasting consists of alternating periods of eating and fasting to allow the body, in particular the digestive system, to rest. During this period, the body consumes energy from stored energy sources.

Although fasting involves eliminating foods that contain calories, it is still important to drink plenty of noncaloric fluids throughout the fast to maintain body hydration. Some people may use a 48-hour fast to reduce their calorie intake and help them lose weight. Others may use fasting to support digestive health.

Method for a successful 48-hour fast

Although taking a two-day break from eating seems daunting at first, this method generally uses the body’s natural rhythms to make fasting more manageable.

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A simple 48 hour fast will use the body’s sleep schedule to reduce this time. For example, for a fast starting on Monday, the person will stop eating the evening of that day. She will start eating again on Wednesday evening. Thanks to this method, the person will give his body time to digest his last meal on Monday before sleeping. When you wake up on Tuesday, about 10 to 12 hours of fasting have already passed. The person then spends Tuesday and Wednesday drinking only calorie-free liquids, such as water, herbal tea, and black coffee. On Wednesday evening, she has a light and simple dinner. From Thursday, she can gradually reintroduce her usual diet.

Hydration is one of the most important aspects of any fast. Fluids keep the body and cells hydrated, while helping to eliminate waste. It is important to avoid dehydration during a fast by making sure to drink plenty of fluids. It may also be advisable to start with other, less extreme versions of intermittent fasting before attempting 48 hour fasting. One such version is the 16:8 method, which involves consuming all food within an 8-hour window, then consuming only zero-calorie beverages for the next 16 hours. Starting with shorter fasts will help a person prepare for longer fasts and get a feel for how their body will react.

The health benefits of 48 hour fasting

A 48-hour fast can serve as a reset for the body, allowing it to take a break from digestion to focus on other tasks. This break can allow him to focus his energy elsewhere, for example on repairing the body.

According to the authors of a 2014 article, fasting can reduce obesity, hypertension, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. A study featured in Obesity notes that regular intermittent fasting provides many benefits for the body, including:

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improved brain function
reduction in blood pressure and heart rate
reduction of inflammation
increased insulin sensitivity
better digestion
reduction in glucose levels
reduction of oxidation and stress markers
Researchers suggest that many of these benefits are due to the influence of weight loss.

Autophagy: the body regenerates itself

The concept of autophagy is also popular with proponents of intermittent fasting. In simple terms, it is the process by which the body eliminates parts of cells that no longer function as they should. By recycling or eliminating damaged cellular material, autophagy allows tissues to regenerate. The depletion of energy stores, which occurs during prolonged fasting, activates certain pathways that trigger autophagy. A 2018 study indicates that fasting and calorie restriction are two ways to trigger autophagy in body cells. Slowing down the digestive process allows cells to focus on self-regeneration.

Weight loss: short or long term, positive effects

A 48-hour fast accounts for a large portion of the caloric deficiency in the diet. Which can help with long-term weight loss in some people. However, 48-hour fasts should not be done too often. A review article in Behavioral Sciences reports that intermittent fasting produces similar short-term weight loss results to traditional continuous calorie restriction in overweight and obese people. Therefore, cutting excess calories from the diet can be just as effective as fasting for weight loss.

As part of a regular intermittent fasting program or a healthy weight loss regimen, fasting for 48 hours can help a person reach their long-term weight loss goals. That said, no fast will replace healthy diet and lifestyle choices, such as regular exercise and a balanced, nutritious diet, to support moderate weight.

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Potential risks and contraindications to fasting

Some side effects are common with long fasts, such as a 48-hour fast. That’s why it’s important to try a smaller fast first to see how the body responds. If a person is not feeling well, they should stop fasting.

The most common side effects of prolonged fasts are:

hunger and cravings
digestive problems
insomnia or frequent awakenings in the middle of the night

Also, it is important to reintroduce foods slowly. Overstimulating the digestive system by eating a large or heavy meal after a fast can cause its own side effects, such as:


Also, some people should avoid fasting. Pregnant or breastfeeding women and people who are underweight or have an eating disorder should not fast. People who take certain medications with food may also need to avoid fasting. These medications include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), blood pressure medications, and blood thinners.






* Presse Santé strives to transmit medical knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace medical advice.

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