According to a study from the University of Illinois at Chicago, water fasts may help with weight loss, but it’s unclear how long it will remain.
Water fasting is when a person eats no food and drinks only water for a period of time. The study was published in Nutrition Reviews.
The researchers also found that the other metabolic benefits of water fasts, such as lower blood pressure and cholesterol, seemed to disappear shortly after the fast.
Dr. Krista Varady, Professor of kinesiology and nutrition and the study’s lead author, stated that “there do not appear to be any significant negative effects for those who adhere to water fast or a similar fast in which they consume very few calories per day.”
“My overall conclusion is that I guess you could try it, but it just seems like a lot of work, and all those metabolic benefits disappear,” said Dr. Varady stressing that no one should undertake one of these fasts for more than five days without medical supervision.
According to the statement, “The new paper is a literature review of eight studies on water fasting or Buchinger fasting, a medically supervised fast that is popular in Europe where people consume only a tiny amount of juice and soup a day.”
Dr. Varady’s team looked at the results from each of those papers to see what story they cumulatively talk about the fasts’ impact on weight loss, as well as several other metabolic factors.
Only a few of the studies in the review tracked whether participants gained back the weight they had lost once the fast ended.
“In one of those, people gained back all they had lost in a five-day water fast within three months. In two other studies, only a small amount of the lost weight returned, but those studies encouraged participants to restrict their calorie intake after the fasts ended,” as per the statement.