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TomBAvoider

How best to break a multi-day water only fast?

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For various reasons, I've embarked on an 8 day water-only fast. I prepared a protocol for breaking the fast, but then as I continued reading, I came across sharply different opinions. I know that many here have undertaken longer water-only fasts, and I was just wondering what your opinion is and what you have personally used successfully.

Btw., after I finish this fast, I'll gather my data together (daily blood sugar, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, weight etc.), and analyze everything, I'll write up my experience and give feedback here.

Thanks in advance! 

Edited by TomBAvoider

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I'm no expert, but I once did a 20-day fast and lost 20 lbs then I just went on to eating as normal immediately. I didn't do anything "special" to wean myself back onto food but I probably should have...

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IMO watery fruit, including tomatoes, is the best. I found Dr. Shelton's protocol worked best. Start with half an orange or equivalent each hour, then in the afternoon 1 orange or equivalent each 2 hours. You may mix into a few nuts. 2nd day you may add more solid food but in small amounts being careful to stop if you feel just a little full.

Probably, for an 8 days fast, the transitional period should be no less than 2 days, 3 days maybe being the best before resuming usual eating habits but often it depends on people.

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11 hours ago, FrederickSebastian said:

I'm no expert, but I once did a 20-day fast and lost 20 lbs then I just went on to eating as normal immediately. I didn't do anything "special" to wean myself back onto food but I probably should have...

Was it a water only fast or a reduced calories fast? In the former case, you've been lucky you had no problems.

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3 hours ago, mccoy said:

Was it a water only fast or a reduced calories fast? In the former case, you've been lucky you had no problems.

It was water only and I've broke water-only fasts many times without doing anything special. I honestly don't know why my body never has anything go wrong...

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1 hour ago, FrederickSebastian said:

It was water only and I've broke water-only fasts many times without doing anything special. I honestly don't know why my body never has anything go wrong...

Then that's another testimony of the huge inter-individual variability. I am at one extreme of the range, that I would die if eating normally after a long fast. Nost people though need a transition after non-short water fasts.

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Meh, not much to report. I regard it as a bust - at least on the surface of it. Nothing seems to have happened. I lost some weight - about 11 lbs. It was a strict water fast for 8 full 24 hour periods. I also exercised during that time, but abbreviated - I did 6 sessions of exercise, but every one was running 2 miles plus walking briskly 2 miles (instead of running 4 miles as ususal). My blood sugar made no sense during this time. I measured it at the same time every day - first thing in the morning, right after exercise, and in the evening. After the first 24 hour period, my FBS (measured with the same device - Accu-Check Guide) was 79 mg/dL, then it went into high 60's over subsequent days (66-69) it was not until the FIFTH full 24 hour fasting period that it finally hit 58... and instead of staying there, it started climbing back up again over the next few days, until on the last 8th day, it hit 81 after running for 2 miles and walking 2 miles! Insane. All on no food. Meanwhile, the urine test showed I was in deep ketosis. Go figure. 

After coming out of the fast, I did a bunch of blood and urine tests, and nothing interesting was found - other than that yes, I was definitely in deep ketosis. My electrolytes were fine, kidney function fine. 

I was never hungry once. Btw. the way I prepared for the fast, is that for 4 days prior to the fast I ate only about 300-400 calories, so it's 4 days of 400 calories each and 8 days of 0 calories.

All the purported benefits - TOTALLY ABSENT. Every year I have some inexplicable allergies about this time of the year for about 3 weeks - rhinitis, sneezing, nose itching etc. - one week before the fast, it hit me again - and THE FAST HELPED ABSOLUTELY NOTHING against the allergies, while you keep reading about how great fasts are against allergies - BUNK in my case.

Various niggling little things like slight bleeding of gums from one place that my periodontist can never seem to trace (despite impeccable dental hygiene) - fast DID NOT HELP. I brushed my teeth 4-5 times a day due to ketosis breath.

Supposed mental benefits - clarity, energy etc. - BUST - if anything, I had slightly less energy and my mental performance was definitely below par. Mood - no elevation - if anything, slight deterioration.

The sole solitary benefit I could identify is that for the past couple of years I've had persistent ear itching due to slight overproduction of wax - this was eliminated by the fast, and came back upon refeeding. My facial hair growth slowed down drastically during the fast - neutral, neither benefit not detraction, though I suppose I could save on shaving costs.

Re-feeding was uneventful. 

All in all - I perceive ZERO benefits. I don't think I'll repeat this useless practice. I'll go back to my regularly scheduled 5:2, 18:6 diet.

To me, from all I can see, the fast was a bust as far as anything good for my health. One rat report. YMMV.

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2 hours ago, TomBAvoider said:

All in all - I perceive ZERO benefits. I don't think I'll repeat this useless practice. I'll go back to my regularly scheduled 5:2, 18:6 diet.

To me, from all I can see, the fast was a bust as far as anything good for my health. One rat report. YMMV.

Perhaps you weren't fat enough or metabolically deranged enough to get a noticeable boost from fasting?  I've heard many times (and it seems reasonable to me) that extended fasting benefits the over weight and TOFIs.  Those who are lean are commonly advised to limit fasting to 3 days or less.

One could imagine you strongly activated autophagy and achieved some long term benefit such as lowering your burden of senescent and cancerous cells.  Although personally I'm far more enthused about measurable short term results than theoretical long term gains.  Hopefully the range of things we can readily measure will continue to expand and give us better insight to the benefits and harms of fasting, CR and everything related.

Edited by Todd Allen

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That's possible I guess, but I don't know how to measure autophagy and senescent + cancerous cell elimination. I don't feel amazing as a result of this in any way. My main issue is that I read a lot about a metric ton of benefits in all sorts of tangible ways, and I experienced none of them subjectively. As a result, it all felt like a giant waste. I think it's yet another case of individual response - what works for one person doesn't work for another. Fasting long term appears a complete bust in my case. I'll avoid it in the future.

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On 10/27/2019 at 8:03 AM, TomBAvoider said:

As a result, it all felt like a giant waste. I think it's yet another case of individual response - what works for one person doesn't work for another. Fasting long term appears a complete bust in my case. I'll avoid it in the future.

I wouldn't be so pessimistic. You don't feel exceptional after fasting, but can feelings measure metabolic benefits, autophagy, rejuvenation, anti-senescence processes, FOXXO activation detoxification and so on?

Autophagy, one of the main purported benefits of fasting is not measurable.

Also, I'm impressed by the fact that you did 4 days 350 kCals semi-fast + 8 days full fasting and could run 2 miles. If you were looking for a sure sign of fitness and resilience, that's it.

Glucose homeostasis tends to keep blood sugar levels constant and defend strenuously a minimum level of 70-80 mg/dL, that's what I noticed as well, in my insignificant FMDs cycles.

Last but not least, I once did a 5-days water-only fast. I felt terrible, I could no longer study for my exams and had to sit down without the strength to do anything. My goal was a 7 days fast but I just cut it short. There was a certain sense of accomplishment though. Exercising will power is arguably a good thing after all.

Edited by mccoy

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