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Monk Fast: Overview, Benefits And Risks

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Fasting has been one of the most talked about subjects among health enthusiasts. For this very reason, fasting methodologies like Monk fast, alternate day fasting, and intermittent fasting have gained huge traction.

In the same context, this article will look at what a monk fast is, its benefits, and its risks.

Monk fast involves the consumption of only water and other drinks which have no calories for a total period of thirty-six hours.

It is well-liked by dieters looking for an effortless solution to enhance their health and reduce weight. It has no rigorous requirements and simple guidelines.

It has nonetheless drawn criticism for being harmful, unsustainable, and excessive. The monk’s fast diet requires participants to go without eating for thirty-six hours a week.

It is suggested to consume calorie-free drinks and lots of water during this time. Although experts have done no specific research on the monk fast, research on different types of fasting, such as intermittent fasting, shows that it might have health benefits.

A decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes, an increase in lifespan, and the promotion of weight loss are some of these advantages.

Evidence suggests that less than 16% of people following specific fasting regimens have adverse side effects like coldness and anger.

The long-term safety issues connected to monk fasting are unknown to researchers. However, several areas of concern have been found in investigations.

All About Monk Fast

What Is The Monk Fast?

One way to fast intermittently is through the monk fast. When people participate in this fast, they either severely limit[1] their calorie intake during particular hours of the month, week, or a day or completely abstain from eating.

People who follow this diet plan have to go without eating every week for a duration of a long 36 hours. To prevent dehydration at this time, they consume low-calorie drinks, such as coffee or black tea, and a lot of water.

The monk’s fast diet’s creator known as WeFa.st advises beginning the fast early in the week to avoid potential disruption from social responsibilities which often arise later in the week and also on weekends.

Monk Fast Benefits

Here are some benefits of the monk fast:

  1. Life Longevity

    Monk fasting might improve health and lengthen life. The study[2] on animals has revealed that calorie restriction occasionally helps slow the aging process. It is believed that autophagy, a mechanism, has a role in this situation.

    One might consider autophagy as cellular recycling. It is the process through which your body recognizes damaged cells, recycles their parts, and creates healthy, new cells from what is left over.

    Cancer rates, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease might be reduced by your body’s capacity to initiate this mechanism.

  2. Slows Down The Rise Of Sugar

    Monk fasting helps control high sugar levels. Blood sugar does not spike as often during extended fasting periods because sugar intake and food intake are kept to a minimum. This allows the body to react to sugar levels more healthily[3].

    As the fasting period causes low blood sugar, it is crucial to stay hydrated and, if you have symptoms of extremely low blood sugar, take action to treat them.

  3. Heart Health

    Longer fasting intervals could also improve[4] heart health. That is because fasting increases the synthesis of ketones, which are energy molecules.

    The heart prefers to use ketones as fuel. They give the heart more cellular energy (ATP) than glucose, the body’s go-to fuel when consuming a lot of carbohydrates.

    Additionally, fasting might also raise levels of human growth hormone (BDNF-1) and lower blood pressure.

    Your heart might find it simpler to carry out its main responsibilities with either of these adjustments. Last but not the least, fasting has been linked to low levels of bad cholesterol.

  4. Likely To Avert Type 2 Diabetes

    Monk fasting could help with the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes in addition to regulating sugar levels.

    With better sugar management[5] comes a healthier response to it, which makes insulin levels and type 2 diabetes more controllable.

    A greater reaction to sugar levels might also lessen the risk of developing insulin resistance, which helps people avoid getting this kind of diabetes in the first place.

  5. Fat Burn

    When you fast for a long time, your body is forced to use fat instead of carbohydrates as fuel. You experience this and go into ketosis. Activating the fat-burning process could also:

    • Improve mental clarity.
    • Normalize sugar levels.
    • Reset your body’s circadian rhythm.
    • Reduce leptin resistance.
    • Improve insulin sensitivity.

    Despite the variety of these advantages[6], they all result in a markedly improved body composition.

  6. Mental Health

    The appeal of fasting across cultures and throughout history is partly attributable to its capacity to encourage a more attuned relationship with life.

    Fasting has been practiced by the majority of ancient civilizations and by people in the East since time immemorial, according to ancient history.

    They fasted for enlightenment as well as for youth preservation and health restoration. Fasting has enormous power. The advantages of fasting that encourage awareness and might also increase[7] your productivity at school or work.

    The majority of people discover that when they are fasting, it is significantly simpler to enter full-on productivity mode, also known as the flow state. Additionally, fasting is beneficial when combined with many types of meditation.

Risks Of Monk Fast

The Monk Fast might be more challenging for some people to adhere to than some intermittent fasting styles with shorter fasting windows, such as the 5:2 diet or the 16/8 technique.

The Monk Fast and different water fasting regimes have also been linked to several unfavorable[8] side effects, such as lethargy, headaches, dizziness, and nausea.

Furthermore, as food accounts for a substantial amount of your daily fluid consumption, it could raise the risk of dehydration.

Although more human studies are required, certain animal studies indicate that fasting could have different effects on women than it does on men and might also be detrimental to reproductive health and fertility.

The Monk Fast is also not advised for people who have a history of disordered eating as it could lead to bad behaviors. Additionally, fasting could raise uric acid levels, which might make gout symptoms worse.

Fewer than 16% of those who practice particular forms of fasting experience adverse effects, according to research[9] on Monk fasting from 2015. These consist of:

  • Hunger.
  • Feeling cold.
  • Irritability.
  • Low energy.

Although the long-term effects of Mong fasting are unknown, the authors of a review[10] published in 2017 advise further research to ascertain its effectiveness and safety. The review looked at any negative impacts which Monk fasting might have.

Monk fasting is not recommended for underweight people. Additionally, doctors do not prescribe it to breastfeeding mothers, pregnant women, and older folks. Additionally, they also advise against it for anyone who has:

  • They need to eat regularly because of taking certain medications.
  • Conditions like type 1 diabetes require meals at regular times.
  • Eating disorders.

Anyone on a Monk fasting needs to drink a lot of water to avoid becoming dehydrated. Since food items like vegetables and fruits make up a portion of a person’s daily hydration consumption, doing this is extremely important.

Some hospitalizations for dehydration were documented in a 2018 study[8] that examined the literature on the safety of Monk fasting.

Conclusion

During the Monk Fast, participants only consume calorie-free beverages for 36 hours at a time. According to research, this fasting technique could aid in weight loss and also encourage the use of fat reserves as fuel rather than blood glucose.

During the 36-hour weekly monk fast, food is forbidden but lots of water is consumed. The creator of this nutritional strategy advises beginning the fast on Monday immediately after dinner and ending it on Friday before breakfast.

Monk fasting has additional advantages for your health, and it is safe to practice if you follow the advice we have provided here.

The Monk fast has certain adverse effects, but the majority are manageable and shall go away as your body becomes used to the fast.

Having said all that, if you are a pregnant woman and are looking for a healthy pregnancy, then you should not attempt it.

If you have been taking benefits from intermittent fasting, then there are high chances that Monk fast could be a safe option for you. At the same time, you might want to note that if appropriately followed, one might be able to observe different health advantages of Monk fasting might exist.

However, some people are advised by doctors not to practice them. Before attempting the monk fast or any form of intermittent fasting, one should consult a physician.

+10 References/Sources

Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.

  1. David Benton and Hayley A. Young Reducing Calorie Intake May Not Help You Lose Body Weight Perspect Psychol Sci. 2017 Sep; 12(5): 703–714.
    Published online 2017 Jun 28. doi: 10.1177/1745691617690878
  2. Leanne M. Redman and Eric Ravussin Caloric Restriction in Humans: Impact on Physiological, Psychological, and Behavioral Outcomes Antioxid Redox Signal. 2011 Jan 15; 14(2): 275–287.doi: 10.1089/ars.2010.3253
  3. Fasting Safely with Diabetes Aug. 26, 2020 Available from: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/professionals/diabetes-discoveries-practice/fasting-safely-with-diabetes
  4. Tiffany A. DONG, Pratik B. SANDESARA, Devinder S. DHINDSA, et al. Intermittent Fasting: A Heart Healthy Dietary Pattern? Am J Med. 2020 Aug; 133(8): 901–907.Published online 2020 Apr 21. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2020.03.030
  5. Martin M. Grajower and Benjamin D. Horne Clinical Management of Intermittent Fasting in Patients with Diabetes Mellitus Nutrients. 2019 Apr; 11(4): 873.Published online 2019 Apr 18. doi: 10.3390/nu11040873
  6. Corey A. Rynders, Elizabeth A. Thomas, Adnin Zaman, et al. Effectiveness of Intermittent Fasting and Time-Restricted Feeding Compared to Continuous Energy Restriction for Weight Loss Nutrients. 2019 Oct; 11(10): 2442.Published online 2019 Oct 14. doi: 10.3390/nu11102442
  7. Elisa Berthelot, Damien Etchecopar-Etchart, Dimitri Thellier, et al. Fasting Interventions for Stress, Anxiety and Depressive Symptoms: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Nutrients. 2021 Nov; 13(11): 3947.Published online 2021 Nov 5. doi: 10.3390/nu13113947
  8. John S. Finnell, Bradley C. Saul, Alan C. Goldhamer, et al. Is fasting safe? A chart review of adverse events during medically supervised, water-only fasting BMC Complement Altern Med. 2018; 18: 67.Published online 2018 Feb 20. doi: 10.1186/s12906-018-2136-6
  9. Ruth E. Patterson, Gail A. Laughlin, Dorothy D. Sears, et al. INTERMITTENT FASTING AND HUMAN METABOLIC HEALTH J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015 Aug; 115(8): 1203–1212.Published online 2015 Apr 6. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2015.02.018
  10. Michelle Harvie and Anthony Howell Potential Benefits and Harms of Intermittent Energy Restriction and Intermittent Fasting Amongst Obese, Overweight and Normal Weight Subjects—A Narrative Review of Human and Animal Evidence Behav Sci (Basel). 2017 Mar; 7(1): 4.Published online 2017 Jan 19. doi: 10.3390/bs7010004

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