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What is dry fasting?

Losing weight can be difficult. There are so many different diet plans out there, with each promising an easy way to lose weight successfully1 . From fad diets to promised quick fixes, there are a lot of weight loss myths out there too2 . It’s no surprise, then, that it can be tricky to know the right approach to suit your needs. Intermittent fasting is one diet style that has become increasingly popular. There are quite a few different approaches under the umbrella of intermittent fasting. Still, the basic idea is that you restrict eating for some time. Then, during the unrestricted phase, you can eat your recommended amount of calories3 . Dry fasting is a type of intermittent fasting, and it’s usually considered the most restrictive. If you’re wondering whether dry fasting is right for you, we’ve got plenty of information below4 .

What is dry fasting?

Dry fasting has its roots in religion. Periods of absolute fasting are well-known in certain faiths, like Ramadan in the Muslim community5 or Yom Kippur in Judaism6 . This type of fasting is usually performed for spiritual reasons, including reflection, connection, and worship7 . In recent times, fasting has become more mainstream as a weight-loss or wellness tool too. People who follow dry fasting for dieting reasons abstain from eating or drinking anything for a specific portion of the day. That means you can’t eat or drink anything during the fasting period (which could be anything up to 24 hours or more)8 .

What are the benefits of dry fasting

It’s worth noting here that dry fasting can be very dangerous and could lead to malnutrition and dehydration9 . It’s unlikely to be the most effective weight-loss tool. You might experience extreme hunger, and it may not be sustainable in the long term10 .

There are, however, some reported dry fasting benefits. These may include:

  • Weight loss11

Studies into dry fasting are limited, and not all of them provide conclusive results. It’s important to remember that some of them have not been tested on humans either. With that in mind, it’s always worth taking these results with a pinch of salt.

When to avoid dry fasting

Dry fasting could be an option for healthy adults, provided they approach dry fasting carefully and with their overall health in mind12 .

There are some groups of people who should avoid dry fasting. These may include:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • People with a history of disordered eating
  • People with chronic or ongoing health conditions
  • Children under 18 years old13
Dry fasting is not the only diet plan out there, and there may be more accessible and sustainable solutions to provide better (and safer) results. Think about talking to your doctor about your nutrition plan to find a routine that works for you. You may want to consider other weight management solutions to help support your journey too.

Last Updated: 6th November 2020

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