Are you planning a 3-day fast? This can be quite tough when you have to go a full 72 hours without food. Some diets allow low-calorie intake like under 500 calories. However, this is still a generally much tougher fast than a regular 24-hour fast.
Fun Fact: The World Record for fasting was Angus Barbieri’s 382-day fast.
During the fast, he only consumed foods like water, yeast, coffee, tea, and vitamins. If you’ve never gone on a 3-day fast then it’s important to know what to expect including benefits of a 3 day fast. It can be tough if you get really hungry and start having some symptoms like feeling dizzy.
When you fast, it can provide several health benefits for your body and brain. For example, it can function as a body detox and also help to improve brain function. We often have the wrong idea that we somehow, it’s unhealthy not to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day of our lives.
However, just like a machine, sometimes we have to rest our bodies so the digestive system can recover from processing food after every meal. That’s basically what a fast is all about. It reboots your body so you can function better physically and mentally.
What’s a 3-day Fast All About?
The whole concept of fasting for 3 full days might seem drastic. The longest many of us would consider going without food would be 24 hours. It might even seem dangerous to not consume any calories for 72 hours.
However, the truth is it’s actually quite safe for most people to go 1 or 2 months without eating. The reason is the body starts breaking down fat and the more fat you have the more stored energy you have. For example, consider that a standard diet is 2,000 calories and one pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories. That’s almost two day’s worth of nutrients!
There are various reasons you should consider doing a 3-day fast sometimes. The main one is it functions as a body detox. You can get some of the same benefits if you go one day without food. However, if you really want to “clean house” then it’s better to go on a 3-day fast.
When you’re in fasting mode it can actually benefit your physical state. That’s because it actually makes your digestive system more powerful and healthy.
In fact, you could even do intermittent fasting (IF) on a regular basis. This requires you to do a fasting/eating split like 16/20 or even 20/4. Studies show that this diet can provide several benefits. IF isn’t really about what you eat but instead how you eat.
While daily fast can be effective it can also be ideal to do a full 3-day fast from time to time. Studies show that going on a long-term fast can provide several benefits. For example, it helps your body to detoxify and fix damaged cells. It’s sort of like doing a cleanup of your desktop’s or mobile device’s memory. When you get rid of all the clutter the machine works better. That’s also the case with your body on a fast.
Top Benefits of a 3 Day Fast
1. Body detox
One of the main benefits of a 3-day fast is something called “autophagy.” This involves the body detoxifying and basically consuming itself. This is important to burn fat while keeping lean muscle.
This is also important for getting rid of the body’s wastes/toxins. This happens on a daily basis.
2. Keeping muscle
A 3-day fast is about the maximum you’ll want to go to maintain muscle mass. One of the key benefits of this diet’s length is it’s sweet spot in terms of fat loss without muscle loss. When you start burning fat you go into “ketosis.” This is the state that you’ll also want to get into when on the keto diet.
3. Metabolism boosts
This might seem ironic. However, when you stop eating for 3 days your metabolism will increase after the 2 days of fasting. This results in more weight/fat loss. So, during the 3rd day of fasting your body will really turn into a fat-burning machine.
4. Lower blood sugar
This probably seems obvious but is worth noting. When you fast for 72 hours your body first uses up all the calories you got from your last meal. The next energy source it consumes is stored blood sugar. Then finally it starts breaking down fat.
If you’re on a diet like Keto or Atkins then you’ll be eating low-carb on a daily basis. However, you’ll really be going low-carb when fasting for 3 days since your grand total will be 0g of carbs. This causes blood sugar levels to drop.
5. HGH Spikes
During the fast’s 16+ hours you should expect spikes in human growth hormones (HGH) as high as 2000%. So, if you’re trying to build lean muscle mass you should definitely consider a 3-day fast from time to time.
What to Consume While Fasting
1. Lemon/Lime Water
Besides regular water, you can likely drink some lemon/lime water while on your fast. This can provide some Vitamin C and keep you energized as you skip 9 square meals during your fasting days. The calories from these citrus fruits are ultra-low so you won’t have to worry about “cheating.”
These are considered to be 0-calorie beverages although they’re not exactly that low. Make sure to go with healthy options like green tea and black coffee. This not only can provide you with energy but also help to keep you alert.
Make sure to avoid sweetened tea and coffee since these are unhealthy. You should instead go with steeped green/herbal tea and freshly brewed coffee. These beverages are usually allowed on fasts since they’re so low in calories.
These are important when doing a 3-day fast since your body will be losing a lot of salt. You can replenish electrolytes with sports drinks. However, they’re usually not allowed during fasts since they have calories. You could just add a little salt to your water to boost your electrolytes until you can break your fast.
This is easily one of the most important beverages to consume while you’re fasting. In fact, it’s the only natural 0-calorie food. So, you can drink more water than usual and you won’t have to worry about gaining weight.
Another benefit of drinking water is it can help your stomach feel full. When that happens, you’ll have fewer cravings during the three days.
If you’re fasting this is something to consider taking. It will provide you with a small amount of nutrients like vitamins and minerals. It’s also helpful if you’ll be going to work or school while on the fast. A multi-vitamin can provide enough nutrients to keep you going as one of the benefits of a 3 day fast.