What is dry fasting?

Dear Dr. Manny,

I keep hearing about dry fasting as a way to lose weight. What is dry fasting? Is it effective? 

Thanks for your question.

Intermittent fasting is a very popular way of dieting. The fad has grown, and more and more people want to try it to lose weight. However, dry fasting is when someone fasts without drinking lots of water. Instead of supplementing food with water, the person goes without completely. I don’t recommend it.  Fluids are important for normal human function.

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It’s not necessarily dangerous, because it repairs cell damage. There is a way to do this without getting sick or hurting yourself. If you take the proper steps to dry-fast, you can experience some benefits.

Don’t attempt to dry-fast if you have never fasted before. It’s not something people should just do. After all, typically denying yourself food and water for a prolonged period of time can weaken your immunity and make you fatigued.

The theory is that if you are already on a ketogenic diet, then you won’t have too many hunger pangs or have to deal with thirst.

An intermittent dry fast involves eating and drinking for a small window of time during the day, and avoiding food and drink during the rest of the day. The usual window involves eating over a period of eight hours and fasting for the remaining 16. The lesser-known path involves eating over a four-hour period and avoiding intake for 20 hours.

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A prolonged dry fast is done over a period of 24 hours or more. It’s not recommended. Many people who do it for religious reasons experience headaches and other unpleasant symptoms.

Limited fluid intake forces your body to burn more fat since fat can be used to produce water. Fat is the most efficient source of internal water for your body.

If you have high-fat meals in between your fasting periods, you should be able to fast comfortably. However, the overall benefits are not well documented.

Dry fasting is not the best way to lose weight since most people gain it back afterward.

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If you do have any pre-existing health conditions, you should not consider this diet.

Do you have a health question for Dr. Manny? Email us at AskDrManny@FoxNews.com