What happens if you don’t eat for a day?

In this brief guide, we will discuss the following question, “what happens if you don’t eat for a day?”  and other queries related to this topic.

What happens if you don’t eat for a day? 

If you do not eat for a day your body will start using your stored fat to produce energy for its functioning. The main fuel source for the body and the brain is glucose which is present in many different foods such as bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, fruits, and in a minimal amount in vegetables.

However, the excess glucose is converted and stored as glycogen in the liver. In a fasting state, the glycogen will be converted into glucose used by the different cells of the body for a short fasting duration. However, in long fasting periods, the glycogen stores will be depleted.

Next, the body will start using the fat stores as a source of energy to maintain the essential body functions and metabolism. Fat is used after 24 hours of fasting. After this period, the body will shift to break the muscles and the proteins in the body to produce energy.

This is the starvation state where the body will decrease its metabolism due to the low energy availability. However, for short periods of fasting, you will not face this problem since this will need a long period of fasting and food deprivation for the body to adapt to the new changes. 

Moreover, there is a diet called intermittent fasting. This diet has different approaches and the person can eat at different times of the day. However, people follow the 16/8 rule, which means that the person can eat within eight hours and fast for the rest of the day or can drink calorie-free beverages.

Water and teas are calorie-free beverages and essential to be consumed during the fasting state to prevent dehydration. This diet is followed as a weight-loss diet. However, fasting has many beneficial effects on the metabolism of the body and the cardiovascular system.

What are the benefits of fasting for a day?

One of the major benefits of fasting for a day is weight loss. When fasting you are likely to consume less food than on regular days as long as on the non-fasting days you are eating enough calories adequate to your needs. So, fasting is an easy way to cut calories. 

Moreover, fasting can help you control your sugar and cholesterol levels. While regulating these two, you will be at a lower risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Also, fasting will help reduce trimethylamine N-oxide which is correlated to an increase in coronary heart disease risk.

In addition, fasting for several hours can protect your brain and your whole organs through the stimulation of body detoxification. So, the amount of free radicals in the body will decrease significantly when fasting. Also, it is well known that free radicals are very harmful to the body.

Regarding brain function, free radicals will increase the risk of the patient developing Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease. Thus, while the amount of free radicals in the body decreases, the risk of developing these irreversible problems will also decrease.

What are the side effects of fasting for a day?

Despite the many benefits of fasting, several side effects might take place during this period. First of all, after a long period of fasting, you are more likely to consume extra calories through food and sweets cravings due to the long-term deprivation period. 

So, when craving such foods instead of losing weight you will risk gaining extra kilograms. Moreover, skipping meals and feeling hungry might lead to anxiety due to the increase in cortisol secretion which is the stress hormone.

In addition, when fasting for a long time you are at higher risk of nutrient deficiency because generally snacks between meals are fruits or vegetables. Thus, when skipping such snacks you will be consuming fewer vitamins and minerals. Also, nutrient deficiency has many side effects. 

Furthermore, when the person becomes very obsessed with dieting and fasting to lose weight, he will find the food less enjoyable and he will be at a higher risk for developing an eating disorder such as binge eating, bulimia, or anorexia nervosa. 

Moreover, fasting and especially religious fasting does not allow eating or drinking any beverage during the fasting period. Water is very essential for the body, thus when fasting you will not be able to take all your water and liquids requirements for the day which risks dehydration.

Finally, fasting can be harmful to several people with certain health conditions including chronic diseases like diabetes especially type 1 diabetes, pregnancy, eating disorders, and after major surgeries. In case you want to fast, consider contacting your doctor to assess your case. 


In this brief guide, we discussed the following question, “what happens if you don’t eat for a day?” and other queries related to this topic.




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