24 Hour Intermittent Fast- What happens when you starve for one day?

24 Hour Intermittent Fast- What happens when you starve for one day?

You will always read various articles emphasizing the value of healthy eating and role of good lifestyle practices on health. There is no myth when someone tells you that you need to change your habits to improve your health.

One of the most common practices that people normally do is not to eat for a whole day. Sometimes it is done on purpose. Other times it is a part of weight loss regime or the so-called diet practices. Either way, it is causing more damage than the benefit to you and you may not know it.

Want to know how it harms you? Read the complete article to find the answer.

Is it normal to not for the whole day?

Absolutely not. Not eating for the whole day, 24 hours is not a normal practice. People forcing the dietary tips to be tried on you will tell you that it is a form of intermittent fasting and you should definitely try it.

Intermittent fasting is a non-eating practice in which you starve your body for some time. Not eating anything for the day is the most severe form of intermittent fasting and is never recommended.

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In 24 hour intermittent fasting, you are only allowed to take the calorie-free drinks such as coffee, tea, water etc. When this time is over, you can start eating normally until the next fast begins.

The intermittent fasting is helpful to lose weight. It also adds positivity in health by promoting metabolism, cardiovascular health and what not. But it is not recommended to do daily. It is only safe when you are doing only twice a week. Anything more than this will bring damaging effects to the health.

Intermittent fasting looks easier when you read it. Instead of reducing the calories of the food, you rather fast and then eat your regular food. This idea sounds interesting but it also has severe side effects that may hit you. It may also cause complications in people that have underlying medical conditions and still trying to do intermittent fasting.

That is why you need to consult your doctor first before you plan to start a diet. The doctor can advise you on your individual benefits and risks for the diet. Avoid reading open discussion threads online as the results may vary from person to person.

What happens inside your body when you fast?

Your body will take time to realize that you are following a 24-hour fasting period. You will be good before the body realizes this. The first eight hours of the fast will be easier. The body will be busy in digesting the last food intake of you. It will use the stored glucose as energy and it will function normally considering that you will be eating soon, adding fuel to it.

After these eight hours, your body will not have any more food to digest. Now it will begin to use the stored fats inside the body for energy. The body to create energy for whole time span when you aren’t eating sometimes uses the stored fats.

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If your fast is lasting for more than 24 hours, it may lead to your body’s natural mechanism of protein conversion to energy as well.

What are the benefits of 24 hours fast?

Unfortunately, there is currently no research to tell if it has any benefit for the body. More than the actual thing, it is the psychological effect that makes people do this 24 hours long fast.

More research is required to tell if it has any benefits for the body or not. For now, there are only limited known benefits such as;

It makes you lose weight

If you are fasting for once or twice a week in which you are eating reduced calories you are more likely to lose weight gradually. It is more convenient to follow a restricted calorie diet every day for long term. The food intake at the start of the diet may benefit your body by supporting the metabolism, digestion and in this way promoting the weight loss.

It maintains cholesterol and sugar level

If you make fasting a regular habit, it will improve how your body metabolizes cholesterol and sugar. All these changes made to the metabolism makes you less risky for developing chronic conditions related to cholesterol and sugar such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Reduced risk of coronary artery disease

By following a 24 hour fast helps to reduce trimethylamine N oxide level in the body. If there are higher levels of this compound in your body, it brings an increased risk of coronary heart diseases.

Other benefits

The 24-hour fasting also helps in following ways

  • It reduces inflammation
  • It reduces the risk of certain types of cancers
  • It reduces the risk of neurological conditions (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s etc.)

What are the common side effects of 24 hours fasting?

One of the most frequently asked questions regarding 24 hours diet is if it has any side effects to show up. People believe that fasting for such long hour leads to side effects and it increases the complications after long term.

It is better to talk to the doctor before you start a 24-hour long fast. It will help to predict the unforeseen health complications for future. This is significantly important when you have any underlying medical condition or a genetic disease.

Who should not fast for 24 hours?

You should not do 24 hours and basically any type of fasting without consulting your doctor if;

  • You are underage
  • You have an eating disorder
  • You have diabetes
  • You are pregnant
  • You are breastfeeding
  • You are recovering from surgery
  • You are taking certain medicines daily

Remember if you fats for more than two times per week, it will increase the risk of heart arrhythmias and hypoglycemia in you. For more potential benefits, there is a requirement for more research.

Intake of water during the fast

It’s important that you are making your body hydrated when fasting. As you are not eating anything, the body may deprive of water at this time. Water is essentially required for the body systems to work i.e. digestion, regulation of body temperature, joints, and tissue health, energetic boost etc.

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Increase your water intake especially when following a 24-hour long fast. The daily water intake may vary from person to person. On average, men should drink 15-16 glasses of water per day and women should drink 11-12 glasses of water per day. If you are drinking more than that, it is perfectly normal.

What to eat before and after the fast?

There is no specific time to follow 24-hour fast. You can perform it anytime that you want. You just have to prepare your body for it in advance, at least a day before. Eating healthy and regulated meals is the key to prepare the body before time.

Try to eat these foods before you start fasting.

  • Protein-rich foods (Nuts, butter, beans)
  • Dairy products (yogurt)
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grain starch

Drink plenty of water and other calorie-free beverages during the fast. Make sure that caffeinated drinks may make you dehydrate so always balance your water intake if you are taking caffeinated drinks more than twice a day.

After you finish your fast, start eating healthy again. Avoid the overeating after the fast. It is better to start eating in small meals to get your body system back to work.

The final word

A 24- hours fast need careful administration. It is not as easy as it looks like. Talk to your doctor before you attempt to do it. Your doctor will be able to tell you the individual benefits and cautions if any. It is better to fast by following a safe way.


The author is a Medical Microbiologist and a healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health.

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