Water-only Fasting

If you’ve been looking up ways to lose weight, you’ve probably heard about water fasting. It has recently become a popular method for speedy weight loss. Social media is all the rage about it, with before and after transformation photos popping up daily.

The practice of fasting has been around for centuries. During water fasting, you cannot consume anything besides water. Various studies have shown that water fasting has health benefits such as reduced inflammation, stable blood sugar levels, and good heart health. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what water fasting is and its 8 incredible benefits.

Keep reading to learn more!

Water fasting is a type of fast that restricts the consumption of everything except water. Most water fasts last 24–72 hours. Fasts longer than this should be done under medical supervision.

Even herbal teas, black coffee, calorie-free drinks, and supplements are not allowed during water fasting. The juice cleanse and lemon detox cleanse are other methods modeled after this fast.

The water-only fast method is somewhat inspired by intermittent fasting, which has shown well-documented and evidence-based results for weight loss, immune system, and metabolism. The studies cited below apply to all types of intermittent fasting, a category that water fasting falls under.

1. Activates Autophagy
Autophagy is a fundamental process of cleaning out damaged cells, to regenerate newer, healthier cells. Basically, your body’s cells eat themselves and clean out any unnecessary or damaged cellular components. If these damaged parts accumulate in the cell, they can make it difficult for your cells to repair themselves and regrow vital structures, which is a risk factor for many cancers. This is why autophagy is essential for keeping cells healthy. It can help prevent cancer cells from growing. Several animal studies suggest that autophagy may also help protect against diseases like Alzheimer’s, and heart disease.

The nutrient deficit is a key activator of autophagy which is why water fasting activates it. Food restriction for 24 or 48 hours induces fatty change and autophagy in the liver. It peaks around 32 to 48 hours of fasting after which its intensity drops and stabilizes.

2. Helps in Lowering Blood Pressure
Water fasting is considered a safe and effective method of bringing high blood pressure to a normal level. This is one of the water fasting benefits that is also useful in helping people to take on health-promoting behavioral changes in their day-to-day lives.

This study shows that longer, medically supervised water fasts may help people with high blood pressure to lower their blood pressure.

In another study, 68 people with borderline high blood pressure water fasted for around 14 days under medical supervision. At the end of the fast, 82% of people had a blood pressure that was now within a healthier range. Additionally, the average drop in blood pressure was also significant.

Other studies exist that prove the same, which only strengthens the idea that water fasting could lower your blood pressure.

3. Induces Ketosis and Fat Loss
When your body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to burn for energy, it goes through a process called Ketosis. During this process, your body burns the stored fat to make ketones, which are used for fuel. Ketosis is a metabolic process that forces your body to use up the fat is stored in case you’d have no food in the future. This results in fat loss, which is one of the most sought-after water fasting benefits.

In the first 24-48 hours of water fasting, your body burns the stored glycogen for energy. After day two, your body enters into the state of ketosis. Water fasting induces ketosis more quickly than through Keto or other low-carb diets.

4. Improves Insulin and Leptin Sensitivity
Diabetes is a disorder in the way the body uses glucose, a sugar that is required to generate fuel for the body. When blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas produces insulin, the hormone which signals cells to take sugar from the blood. Fat cells store extra glucose in the form of fats. In the common type 2 form of diabetes, cells lose their insulin sensitivity. This is also called insulin resistance which is recognized as a predictor of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

Insulin and leptin are both important hormones for metabolism. The former helps the body store nutrients from the bloodstream, while the latter helps the body feel full.

This study shows that water fasting can make your body more sensitive to leptin and insulin, making these hormones more effective.

5. Reduces the Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome
A metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors that raises the risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other illnesses. These risk factors occur together when your body is unable to regulate cholesterol, certain proteins, and glucose properly. Most people with this syndrome already have insulin resistance that we mentioned earlier.

Heart disease is a condition in which a waxy substance called plaque, builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. It hardens and narrows the arteries, reducing the blood flow. This can lead to chest pain, heart attack, heart damage, or even death.

This study shows that water fasting helps reduce or eliminate the symptoms of metabolic syndrome. The results of the study are promising as the 5-day water fasting showed many critical beneficial effects without toxicity.

man drinking water for water fasting benefits
6. Lowers the Risk of Several Chronic Diseases
There is evidence that water fasting can lower the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Water fasting can significantly lower your blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides — two risk factors for heart disease.

Several animal studies have found that water fasting may protect the heart against damage from free radicals. Free radicals are reactive atoms that contribute to tissue damage in the body. They play a significant role in many chronic diseases.

Another animal study has also found that water fasting may suppress genes that help cancer cells grow. It may also improve the effects of chemotherapy.

Dr. Frank Sabatino, current contributor and special guest host of the Balance for Life Retreat Program, discusses the benefits of water fasting for fighting cancer in this interview.

7. Improves Quality of Sleep
Melatonin, also called the sleep hormone, plays an important role in the body’s sleep-wake cycle. Its production increases with evening darkness, promoting healthy sleep and regulating your circadian rhythm.

Scientists believe that insulin and melatonin have a hostile relationship, meaning they take turns suppressing each other. Insulin levels drop at night in response to an increase in melatonin and melatonin levels are low during the day in response to high insulin levels.

A study shows that short-term modified water fasting can improve sleep patterns and daytime alertness. It causes your insulin levels to drop and melatonin levels to rise, which helps you sleep better and on time.

8. Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is another word for swelling. It is a reaction from your white blood cells to safeguard your body from viruses, bacteria, and other foreign invaders that can make you ill. Thus, normal levels of inflammation within the body are necessary as your immune system depends on it. But when the body goes through the inflammation process even when there are no invaders to combat, it might begin attacking otherwise healthy tissue. Inflammation can be acute or chronic. Having diseases and/or conditions such as Alzheimer’s, asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer puts you at a higher risk of developing chronic inflammation.

This study has shown that water fasting is effective in treating inflammation since it induces large anti-inflammatory actions in the body.

Many foods like processed meat, alcohol, refined carbohydrates, seed and vegetable oils, etc can worsen inflammatory symptoms. When you eat mindfully or avoid all food with a water-only fast, it is possible to lessen your inflammatory symptoms. This happens due to autophagy, a process mentioned earlier, during which your cells eat their old and damaged parts so the remaining cell is healthier. If the cell can’t be salvaged, it is completely destroyed. Thus, more monocytes aka the largest white blood cells are regenerated to prevent unnecessary immune system responses.

Water fasting is quite popular in the wellness world. Longer fasts are recommended in traditional medicine like naturopathy as they have shown significant health benefits. But fasts longer than 24–72 hours should be approached with care, under the supervision of a qualified doctor, and by following their instructions.

After a three-day water fast, you need about 3 – 4 days to slowly come back to regular eating habits. Hence, it is advised to plan for a total of 6 – 7 days for the complete process. Ideally, a retreat or a quiet holiday is a good way to attempt this fast and reap all the water fasting benefits. The water fasting retreat from Balance for Life is one such holistic program that provides supervised water fasting. It includes a lot of perks that help you to continue your wellness journey beyond the retreat.

Autophagy in Water-only Fasting: Recycling, Repair, and Transformation

Autophagy in Water-only Fasting: Recycling, Repair, and Transformation

The process of water-only fasting inspires a unique survival challenge to the profound wisdom and intelligence of your body as it balances energy needs with food availability. In this tapestry of homeostasis and survival, your body takes advantage of a unique recycling system, via lysosomes, that exist in every one of the trillions of body cells.

The lysosome is a microscopic organ, an organelle, that has a highly acidic internal environment containing approximately 60 different digestive enzymes, and functions within the cell to complete a form of cellular clean up and digestion. Similar to our larger digestive system, the lysosome also has a protective membrane around it, a barrier that controls the release of its enzymes, confining and controlling their action to protect healthy cells from being completely destroyed.

Before we talk about how these processes are impacted by fasting we must first understand the function of the lysosome, including:

(1) Every day millions of cells are being born while millions of cells are being destroyed and eliminated in a process called apoptosis or programmed cell death. So when a cell has outlived its programmed lifespan, and is slated for death, the membrane of the lysosome breaks down, flooding the cell with enzymes that promote the destruction of the cell and the recycling of its parts.

(2) It is important to realize that our cells are capable of recycling their damaged parts, altered proteins and even microbes they have incorporated during the routine wear and tear of day to day function. This recycling process is referred to as autophagy, and describes how damaged parts of your cells can be sequestered and transported for breakdown in the lysosome, which then provides your body with the building blocks of proteins and fats from these damaged parts, to produce new cells and new growth.

What Happens to Cells During Water Only Fasting?

During water-only fasting there is a decrease in the hormone insulin, and other growth factors, that deprive the cells of nutrients, including glucose and amino acids. This activates a pathway of cellular messengers that enhance the process of autophagy diverting cells away from growth in the direction of maintenance and repair. So that as energy is is diverted away from the procurement of food, digestion and cellular growth during water-only fasting, it is more available for cell maintenance, elimination and repair.

This increase in autophagy is one of the most profound and significant effects of water-only fasting. And when the natural process of autophagy is enhanced during fasting, it allows the body to maintain and protect healthy, functional body cells while digesting, dissolving and utilizing worn out and damaged cells, including non-essential extraneous growths like tumors, cysts and stones, for its energy needs.

Water Only Fasting Allows Your Body to Focus on What It Needs

Keep in mind that your body, in its wisdom, knows what belongs in it and what does not. And during a water-only fast, it will eliminate what it needs least to support what it needs most. So for example, it needs vital organs like heart, brain, kidney, liver etc. but it does not need tumors, cysts, stones and growths.

I have seen women with breasts full of fibrocystic calcium deposits that look like shrapnel on a mammogram get completely clear in 7 days of water-only fasting. I have also seen women with uterine fibroids the size of grapefruits shrink remarkably in several weeks of fasting. So in the fasting state, your body will promote this cellular alchemy and break down tumors, cysts, cancers and stones, taking from these abnormal growths whatever it can, to feed the organs that are vital to life and health. As a result, water only fasting has been shown to improve cancers like lymphoma, and a variety of abnormal growths, tumors and cysts throughout the body.

by Dr. Frank Sabatino

The 5 Major Benefits of Water Only Fasting

The 5 Major Benefits of Water Only Fasting

Throughout history and evolution, all species, including humans, have vacillated between periods of food availability and food deprivation. As a result, we have the ability to adapt to long periods of food restriction and fasting.

Water only fasting, which is the consumption of nothing but water for an extended period of time, promotes health recovery from a wide range of health problems. Here are five major benefits of water only fasting.


During water only fasting, when your blood sugar levels drop due to the lack of food intake, the energy needs of your body are first met by sugar reserves that are depleted within the first 24 hours of fasting. When sugar reserves are depleted, the body creates new forms of sugar(energy) from muscle mass and body fat .

However, there is no need for you to worry about the loss of body protein. While you will typically lose 1-2 pounds per day during a fast, there are only a few ounces of protein lost in the first 2 days of fasting, and only 1/2 – 1 ounce of protein loss per day throughout extended periods of fasting.

By day 3 of a water fast, your body shifts primarily into fat metabolism, which increases steadily in the subsequent days of fasting. As fat is used for energy production, ketones are generated by the metabolism of fat. This ketogenic state maintains the integrity of the brain and all body cells. In this way, water only fasting is a safe and controlled ketogenic diet, as your body eats its own fat reserves. It is much safer and different from the low carb, high fat, high animal protein ketogenic diets in vogue today, which promote dangerous metabolic acidosis that can damage blood vessels and vital organs.


Many of the toxic chemicals that are produced by normal metabolism and environmental exposure are stored in fat cells, away from normal blood circulation, to protect the cells and organs of the body. When fat is metabolized for energy during water only fasting, toxins stored in fat cells will also be released and sent to organs of elimination for removal. This movement of waste, and subsequent removal by your body, is the process of detoxification.

Keep in mind that fasting must be done under resting conditions to conserve energy for healing. As a result, fasting is an energy conserving and harboring process. Therefore, the energy that would be used for normal growth, and the procuring and digestion of food, is available for maintenance, repair and detoxification.

In addition, your body in its wisdom, will always direct its blood supply to satisfy the needs at hand. Since you do not need blood supply going to organs of digestion during a water only fast, the body’s blood supply is increased to skin and lungs (which are , surprisingly, your largest organs for detoxification), kidneys etc. to promote increased elimination and detoxification.


The migration of white blood cells to areas of injury and cell damage is a major part of a healthy functioning immune system. Like all cells in the body, white blood cells have a limited life span and will age and become less functional over time. After 4 days of water only fasting there is a stem cell activation and production of new functional white blood cells which enhances and reboots your immune system.


When you overeat animal proteins, processed fats and refined sugars, and maintain a lifestyle that fosters chronic stress and sleep deficiency, you can promote chronic inflammation. This condition of inflammation is the foundation of the pandemic diseases (heart disease, diabetes, cancer and stroke) that cause the most disability and death.

Just three to seven days of water only fasting can dramatically reduce inflammation and pain in your body, decreasing the production of C-Reactive Protein (CRP) and other chemical messengers (cytokines) that are released by the liver and immune system when your body is inflamed. As a result, water only fasting often promotes dramatic improvement in autoimmune inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases of inflammation.


Autophagy, or self-digestion, is the process by which your body destroys and discards dead and dying cells that have completed their natural lifespan and have to be metabolized and replaced. What is unique to water only fasting is that, when energy is made available by the profound rest of the fasting process, autophagy will be promoted and enhanced. This increase in autophagy is one of the most profound and significant effects of water only fasting.

Keep in mind that your body, in its wisdom, knows what belongs in it and what does not. And during a fast, it will eliminate what it needs least to support what it needs most. So for example, it needs vital organs like heart, brain, kidney, liver etc. but it does not need tumors, cysts, stones and growths. So in the fasting state, your body will break down tumors, cysts, cancers and stones, taking from these abnormal growths whatever it can, to feed the organs that are vital to life and health. As a result, water only fasting has been shown to improve cancers like lymphoma, uterine fibroids and breast cancers and ovarian cysts.

Enjoy a Medically Supervised WATER ONLY FAST AT Balance for Life

The Balance for Life Retreat in Deerfield Beach, Florida (BalanceForLifeFlorida.com) is one of the few programs in the world that does medically supervised water-only fasting and the only one located directly on the ocean.

Dr. Frank Sabatino

Balance for Life Florida

Breaking the Fast

Breaking the Fast

The re-feeding period after fasting is crucial for the success of the fasting experience. In fasting centers, a common recommendation by supervising physicians is that the faster take half the time of the fast to ease back into eating. So if you fast 7 days, you should take another 3-4 day to break the fast. If you fast two weeks, you should take another week to break the fast. A conservative approach to re-introducing food and activity is in the best interest of all fasters at any age.

“If there are two mistakes that are commonly made after fasting, they are eating much too soon, and moving too much too soon.”

If there are two mistakes that are commonly made after fasting, they are eating too much too soon and moving too much too soon. Food needs to be gradually introduced after a period of fasting. Fasts are most successfully broken with a succession of diluted and full-strength fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and salads, raw and cooked vegan meals. Even if you fast, fasting will always be just a small part of your life. You will be eating 99% of your time and fasting only a very small percentage of your life. So what you do before and after the times that you fast is going to be the most significant part of your health and weight loss program.

Just remember that because of the elimination of all calories, and a natural starvation response that is enhanced after periods of severe calorie restriction, there can be significant reactive weight gain after a fast if healthy, low calorie-dense, low sodium, plant-based eating and lifestyle habits are not maintained. Briefly, there is a kind of ledger sheet, an internal recognition system that the body uses to match its calorie intake to its calorie output. If you’re restricting your intake of calories but burning a lot of calories in physical movement, the body will slow down resting metabolism to hold on to future calories more forcefully, and you can begin to gain weight on less and less food intake.

Since there are no calories coming in during a fast, increasing physical activity during a fast is not only potentially dangerous but can promote excessive reactive weight gain after the fast. Therefore, maintaining as much rest as possible is recommended during the fast, followed by a diet low in oil, refined sugar, animal products, and salt.

Since there are no calories coming in during a fast, increasing physical activity during a fast is not only potentially dangerous but can promote excessive reactive weight gain after the fast. Therefore, maintaining as much rest as possible is recommended during the fast, followed by a diet low in oil, refined sugar, animal products, and salt.

Physical activity should also be gradually introduced after fast. If you have been doing nothing but resting during an extensive fasting period, it is in your best interest to ease back gently into an ongoing exercise regimen. Doing too much too soon can cause undue physiological stress to the body, and even potentially provoke some unforeseen damage and disability.

Depending on the length of the fast, I typically recommend short periods of walking, swimming, or biking on a stationary bike, or even rebounding on a rebounder, just about 4-5 minutes at a time a few times a day, for the first few days after fasting. After this period, the activity can be extended several minutes a day over time until you’ve built up to about 30-45 minutes a day.

Being conservative in your eating and exercise activities after a fast will enhance any of the benefits you have achieved during the fasting process.

by Dr. Frank Sabatino, Health Director of Balance for Life Florida

Introduction to Water-only Fasting

Introduction to Water-only Fasting

By definition, water-only fasting means the abstinence from all food and liquids, except water, for some extended period of time. I myself have fasted thousands of people over the past 40 years for a wide variety of health concerns. Now I can appreciate that in our culture of gluttony and overeating, the idea of voluntarily abstaining from food-unless there is some enforced famine-may seem absurd and mind-blowing. Yet, there is an extensive body of evidence supporting the use of water-only fasting in a wide range of health problems including obesity.

There is an Extensive Body of Evidence Supporting the Use of Water-only Fasting in a Wide Range of Health Problems Including Obesity.

The loss of appetite and fasting are natural to all animals, including humans, in response to disease and stress. If you observe animals in the wild, or even your own house pets, you will notice that when they are injured or diseased they will often retire to a quiet and comfortable place, stop the intake of all food and continue drinking water only. When less energy is required for eating, digesting and procuring food, more energy is available for healing and repair.

The body has a deep rooted need for energy and the sugar that provides it. The way food, and the lack of food, is handled to meet this need speaks directly to the role of fasting in health, fat and weight loss. When food comes into the body, the sugar that it contains basically goes in 3 directions:

  • Bloodstream , to maintain adequate blood glucose
  • Liver, where it is stored as the starch, glycogen
  • Fat Cells, as long term energy storage

When you stop eating, the first thing that happens is that blood sugar levels begin to drop. This is a primary stress and threat to the body. The most significant blood sugar drop occurs in the first few days of fasting. As a result, the body begins to access the sugar that is stored in the liver to replenish the declining blood sugar level. However, the sugar reserve in the liver can only last for 24-36 hours, and if you fast longer than that, the body satisfies its blood sugar and energy needs with protein in our muscles, and fat in our fat cells.

There is more protein metabolism and lean muscle breakdown in the first few days of fasting, but within a few days protein loss begins to slow down as the body shifts to fat metabolism. So that by the end of the first week, the energy needs of the body are derived almost exclusively from fat. And the ketones produced by fat metabolism in the fast are used directly by the brain as primary source of energy  during extensive periods of fasting.  The loss of protein and the depletion of blood sugar is more comfortably regulated by insuring that the fasting person maintains maximum rest. If the person attempts too much activity on a fast, there will be more rapid muscle loss and blood sugar decline.

In fact, it is important to see fasting as a deep physiological resting process. In fasting, the body shifts from a typical phase of growth to a phase of energy conservation maintenance and repair. As evidence of this, the growth factor, Insulin-like growth factor (IGLF), which is abnormally increased  by eating refined foods and animal products, and can promote cancer and tumor growth in adults, is reduced during fasting. This reduction of IGLF, combined with the process of self-digestion, autophagy, that occurs during the fast, can even promote the reduction or elimination of tumors and growths.

Not only is fat an available energy reserve in the body, but it also serves as vehicle for the storage of waste and toxic fat-soluble chemicals that we are routinely exposed to. Every second of every day, the cells of the body are taking in nutrients and eliminating waste and by-products of routine metabolism. In addition to this internal toxemia (toxic debris in the bloodstream), there are a variety of chemical poisons that come into your body from the outside, e.g. pesticides, pollution, additives in foods, toxic foods, drugs that you’re taking etc., that also need to be eliminated from the body. Many of the environmental toxins, and even internal waste products, are able to be dissolved in fat. So not only do fat cells of the body provide a primary source of energy, but they also work like a garbage dump, hiding and storing our toxic load.

The energy that is harbored in the fasting process can also enhance the mobilization of waste from storage areas, and the removal of this waste through organs and tissues of elimination in a process of detoxification. The respiratory surface of the lungs and the skin are the largest organs of the body. So it is very common to see discharge, drainage and symptoms of elimination via these organs including mucous discharge, cysts, rashes and boils. In fasting, not only are the processes of detoxification and elimination enhanced, but the body also demonstrates an intelligent and very selective control over these processes.During fasting the body will utilize what it needs least to provide support for what it needs most. It needs heart, and lungs, and kidneys, and bowels etc., but it doesn’t need cysts, tumors, stones, and growths. So through autophagy, it will break down a tumor or a cyst, take from it what it can use to support the vital organs of the body, and eliminate the rest. That’s why we often see cysts, tumors, and stones break down and dissolve during fasting.

What makes fasting even more beneficial is that while many pathological conditions are improved, there is also significant fat and weight loss. In the early days of fasting, weight loss can be as much as 1-2 pounds a day. However, this weight loss will taper off to some degree as the fast ensues, often reducing to a half a pound a day in the latter stages of more extensive fasts. Typically, the more obese the individual is at the start, the more dramatic the initial weight loss is. I have had people lose 20 pounds in two weeks of fasting, and as much as 30 pounds or more in a month.

Fasting is not a mystical process. Although it has been used by a variety of spiritual traditions as a tool for introspective evaluation and spiritual growth, fasting is truly just a profoundly simple process of deep physiological rest.The goal is to harbor as much energy as possible for the healing work at hand. That means rest on every level, including all the senses. The more time spent being quiet, serene, and introspective the better.

Sometimes, only by slowing everything down and stepping back from the chaos and distractions around us, can we feel, question and change the patterns and choices of our lives. For this reason fasting is also a profound tool for creating a more mindful self-aware life, and resolving compulsive addictive behavior

Fasting promotes fat breakdown, detoxification, and repair like nothing else. It enhances the balance and function of the hormonal (endocrine) system, while significantly improving the metabolic efficiency of the liver and digestive systems, thereby promoting improved calorie use and fat loss across time. Fasting can be also be one of the most powerful approaches for resolving inflammation and the complications of autoimmune disease. The body-mind changes evoked by the fasting process make it one of the most efficient and powerful tools to jump start any new health program in general, and a significant and successful long term weight loss program in particular.

Balance for Life Florida…

is one of just a few places in the world, and the only oceanfront health retreat, where you can experience supervised water-only fasting.

please Call us at 1-(800)-663-9292 for program and reservation information, and see if you are a candidate for the profound benefits of water-only fasting.

Balance for Life Florida. com

By Dr. Frank Sabatino, Health Director of Balance for Life Florida.

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