I find fad diets interesting, one that’s been gaining steam lately is the extended water fast. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to go a full week with nothing in your stomach but water, but haven’t had the willpower to give it a try, you can thank Reddit-or /u/TA201805091716 for taking one for the team. The guy not only went a whole week without food, but also recorded the hourly effects on his body and graphed it all for our consumption. He collected data on his perceived hunger, weight, blood glucose, urine acetoacetic acid, glucose ketone index, heart rate, blood pressure and water consumed.
It’s definitely cool to see how his body reacted to the diet. Unsurprisingly, he was hungry, but not as hungry as one might guess.
Not as transcendental of an experience as I thought it would be. The lows of hunger were not bad. The highs of first food after a week were not that high. I lost a little weight. My sense hunger is a little better calibrated. I survived.
You can clearly see his urine acetoacetic acid level rise sharply as his glucose ketone index dropped as his body moved from using glucose for energy to fat (ketosis). You can also see that his body seems to have found some rhythm around day 5. All told, he lost about 15 pounds (5 of which he gained back on day one of eating).
His notes on the experience are a great read:
Things I expected that did happen
I was cold: I wore a sweatshirt/sweater all day with colleagues in short sleeves.
Mouth tasted metallic/fruity: that has even persisted some after breaking the fast.
Things I expected that didn’t happen
Skin: I didn’t notice any clearer, more elastic, more youthful skin. Just more yellow…
Sleep: I was worried about hunger interrumpting my sleep. I hit 7-8 hours. No issues going to sleep. No problems waking up (other than the usual). The only interuption was urinating during the night later in the fast, which is usually not an issue.
Emotional: I didn’t find myself more cranky or impatient.
Mental clarity/focus: I kept hourly figures on this one along side my hunger statistic, but nothing came of it. I didn’t feel any enhanced ketone high. I found work more productive becuase I was tyring hard to avoid thinking about how hungry I might feel.
Tummy grumbles: I expected a lot of grumbles. I experienced significantly less than on my normal diet. Almost non-existant.
Vision: I didn’t feel my vision improved any.
Things I didn’t expect that did happen
Salts were huge: I didn’t think salts could have that much of an impact on me. But after the illness of swiging brine wore off in a few seconds, I felt MUCH better after. It made me realize how much of my past dry-fast discomfort was not food, but water and salts…
Mucus/sneezing: I didn’t have any allergies or runny nose during the fast, but I sneezed more. When I ate, drips and sinus inflamation came back.
Muscle soreness: I was surprised how little my legs hurt after runs and hikes. I thought it was the epsom salt baths. Within hours of eating, a week’s worth of muscle soreness hit my legs – crying for attention.
Flatulence: intestines clear out, stay empty, but then fill back up after breaking the fast. They will push out any air left in there. It was a lot.