Benefits of 12-Hour Fasts

Sometimes the body just needs a gentle reset to get back on the health and fitness bandwagon. Instead of going on an extreme week-long fast, an intermittent fast for 12 hours offers many of the same benefits without the side effects. (See Reference 3) Manage your fasting period so that the bulk of your fasting takes place while sleeping to reduce food cravings. If you have any current health issues, it's wise to consult a doctor or dietitian before making any dramatic diet changes.

Minimal Side Effects

Extreme detoxification fasts often require abstaining from solid food for a week or more. This shock to your body often causes side effects including headaches, lightheadedness, brain fog, muscle aches, dehydration and digestive upset. (See Reference 1) Long fasts often result in sending the body into starvation mode, which ultimately makes it more difficult to lose weight because it slows down your metabolism.

A gentle and simple 12-hour fast doesn’t cause side effects other than possibly being a bit hungry. Research examining the benefits of calorie restriction supports the theory that Intermittent fasting encourages healthy insulin levels and reduces the risk of common age-related diseases. (See Reference 3)

Rest Digestive System

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Ideally you finish your food consumption for the day hours before you go to bed so that your food has time to digest properly. But if you have the habit of giving in to your late-night snack cravings, a 12-hour fast helps you break that cycle. The later you eat, the later you have to wait in the morning to eat breakfast on a 12-hour fast. Giving your digestive system a solid 12 hours of rest allows your body to efficiently process the nutrients you have consumed throughout the day.

Flush out Toxins

By refraining from eating for 12 hours and making sure to stay well hydrated, you allow your body to naturally process and prepare toxins for release through sweat and urine. Although it is annoying to have to make that middle-of-the-night trek to the bathroom, urination is a sign that you are drinking enough fluids. Urine that is dark in color is an indicator of dehydration. Aim for light yellow to almost colorless urine during brief fasts. (See Reference 2)

Maintain Energy Level

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It is easier to maintain energy levels on a 12-hour fasting schedule daily than an extreme fasting schedule for a longer period of time. While some people feel a temporary energy boost on longer fasts, their energy level comes crashing back to earth as soon as they return to their regular diet and schedule. By consistently following a restricted feeding pattern with a brief fasting period, your body produces enzymes that burn fat