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48-Hour Fasting Benefits And Risks: Everything To Know

by Well Polished Swansea, Jul 2019

Not eating for two days is quite simple, theoretically speaking. You just need to drink fluids with zero calories like water and black coffee, while giving up regular food completely for 48 hours at a stretch.

The best way to start is to stop eating at dinner on a given day and start eating with dinner as the first meal two days later by slowly introducing food into your system by consuming a light snack, then eating a whole meal a few hours later. Suddenly jolting the system with food might trigger the gut, possibly leading to nausea and diarrhea.

The 48-hour fast is done once or twice a month for better results, as opposed to once a week as some might assume. On the days when regular food intake is resumed, eating low-calorie foods could be beneficial to weight loss in the long term. Otherwise, calorie compensation could lead to weight gain and reverse the benefits. 

For first-timers, starting by fasting for shorter periods of time, for instance between 16 to 36 hours, to see if the body responds positively and whether the body can handle it at all is crucial to avoiding hunger pangs and fatigue.

This is not the same as intermittent fasting where food is not consumed for either 8 or 16 hours. Studies have proven the benefits of fasting for shorter durations, but there has been no significant research on giving up food entirely for two days.

However, there are some benefits of this extended period of fasting, such as the ones listed below:

Blood Sugar Regulation

Fasting for more than a day has more of an impact on reducing blood sugar, when compared to fasts lasting for shorter durations. Fasting for 48 hours improves insulin sensitivity, since fasting blood sugar levels decrease by 20 percent while not eating for two days. When fasting for more than 24 hours, glycogen is used by the body, consequently reducing insulin levels.

Weight Loss

A 48-hour fast done once a month can cut down monthly calories by 8,000. And for the rest of the month, around 100-175 calories are burned on a daily basis because the metabolic rate increases at a rate of 3.6 to 14 percent.  

Inflammation Reduction

Chronic inflammation has dire health consequences such as rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease and cancer. Oxidative stress comes down  with lowered inflammation, that generally occurs after fasting for more than 24 hours.

Slow Aging

When compared to the benefits produced by fasting for shorter periods of time, the 48-hour fast induces the most beneficial cellular repair by delaying the aging of tissues and improving overall longevity.

However, the 48-hour fast also has drawbacks because stopping the intake of food apart from zero calorie beverages for two entire days could have some negative effects on health, as well. 

Pre-existing Medical Conditions

People living with type 1 diabetes, low blood pressure and eating disorders should avoid going on long fasts. Breastfeeding and pregnant women are also not advised to follow this fast.

Those taking medication for blood pressure, blood thinners, insulin and non -teroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are also advised to not engage in this fast, for it could interfere and disrupt the flow of their medication in the blood stream. 

Hunger and Dizziness

In one particular study with 768 participants, 72 percent of the participants suffered from side effects such as insomnia, hunger, fatigue and dizziness. This shows that the majority of people practicing the 48-hour fasting technique are likely to suffer side effects. Therefore, people who follow it need tremendous will power and good strategy to get through it.   


On the first attempt, it may cause exhaustion after 24 hours since the stored carbs run out and fat ends up being burned for energy. Exhaustion is a major concern here because this is a long fast, and it is one weight loss strategy that is difficult to complete.