Water fasting can help individuals burn fat. Fasting starts when carbohydrates stored in the body are utilized for energy. These carbohydrates are housed in the body's fat stores. When glucose is lacking, the liver starts converting glycogen stores into glucose. After fatty acids are transformed into ketones, fats become the principal energy source for the body. According to the Medill Reports, of Northwestern University in Chicago, water fasting for 24 hours increases the metabolism of fat among women by 1,300 percent and among men by 2,000 percent.
Fast no longer than 24 hours. Fasting more than 24 hours continues to increase the amount of muscle metabolized. Muscle burns more calories per pound than fat. After you break the fast, you will need muscle to keep your metabolism from slowing down.
Engage in light- to moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. Do not overexert yourself, and do take sporadic breaks. Calories burned during aerobic exercise while fasting will primarily consist of calories burned from fat.
Hydrate your body frequently. Drink eight or more 8 oz. glasses of water. Try drinking ice-cold water. Ice water causes the body to burn more calories, since the body needs to expend energy to generate heat after consuming the cold water.
Get plenty of rest. Reducing sleep can decrease fat-burning up to 55 percent, according to a 2010 study published in "Annals of Internal Medicine." Additionally, lack of sleep increases your appetite, and may lead to binge-eating or yo-yo dieting.
Engage in deep-breathing exercises. Breathe in through the nose for five seconds and release air through the mouth. Do at least five sets of 30 repetitions per day. Oxygen is required for the body to burn fat. Increasing the availability of oxygen may enhance this process.
Break your fast gradually. Your ghrelin levels, a hormone that increases your appetite, will be heightened after fasting. These increased levels may cause you to want to eat large quantities of food. Try to eat small amounts of fruits, vegetables or rice initially. If you binge after a fast, most calories consumed will be stored as fat, which counters your efforts to burn fat while fasting.
Things You'll Need
Avoid high-fat foods prior to engaging in a fast. Prepare your body for the fast by eating nutrient-rich foods, like fruits and vegetables, the day before your fast.
Consult your physician prior to engaging in a water fast. Individuals with a compromised immune system should never participate in fasting unless instructed by a physician. Fasting may cause gastrointestinal irritations, headaches, weakness, fatigue and dizziness.
- “Harvard Gazette”; With Fasting, Enzyme Turns off Body’s Production of Fats, Cholesterol; Sue McGreevey; June 2010
- “American Journal of Physiology”; Influence of Resistance and Aerobic Exercise on Hunger, Circulating Levels of Acylated Ghrelin, and Peptide YY in Healthy Males; David R. Broom, et al.; November 2008