Evidence-Based, Simplified Nutrition and Lifestyle Strategies


How Does a 36-Hour Fast Compare?

How Does a 36-Hour Fast Compare?

Fasting has become a prominent topic, gaining traction for its potential benefits on metabolism, mental clarity, and overall health. Having previously explored the effects of both a 24-hour and a 72-hour fast, we find ourselves curious about the nuances of a 36-hour fast.


This fasting window, appealingly settled between the relatively short and extended fasts, offers a unique balance. It prompts questions about its impact on the body, energy levels, and how it compares to other fasting durations.


Our interest in this area stems from a desire to offer a comprehensive understanding of fasting and its varied impacts, making the exploration of a 36-hour fast a natural progression in our series on fasting methods.


What Is a 36-Hour Fast?



A 36-hour fast involves abstaining from all caloric intake for a duration of 36 hours, allowing only water, black coffee, or herbal teas. This type of fast extends beyond the typical overnight fasting period, surrounding a full day and night plus an additional 12 hours.


The goal is to push the body into a deeper state of ketosis, where it shifts from using glucose as its primary energy source to burning stored fat. This process can lead to potential benefits such as improved metabolic health, enhanced mental clarity, and a reduction in inflammation.


Fasting for 36 hours offers a challenging yet potentially rewarding experience for those looking to deepen their fasting practice.


What Are the Benefits of Fasting?


benefits of 36 hour fasts


Fasting, the practice of voluntarily abstaining from food for a specific period, offers a myriad of health benefits that contribute to overall wellness. One of the primary benefits is weight loss and improved body composition, as fasting helps to reduce calorie intake and promotes the use of fat for energy, leading to reduced body fat. It also improves metabolic health by improving insulin sensitivity, which can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Fasting initiates cellular repair processes, such as autophagy, where cells digest and remove old and dysfunctional proteins, contributing to cellular rejuvenation and longevity.


Fasting has also been linked to improved heart health by improving important risk factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglycerides. It also has neuroprotective effects, supporting brain health and potentially reducing the risk of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Fasting may support the body’s resistance to stress and inflammation, leading to a decrease in chronic disease risk.


Additionally, fasting can improve mental clarity and concentration, while also offering potential spiritual and psychological benefits, such as increased self-awareness and a sense of peace or wellbeing. Overall, fasting serves as a powerful tool for enhancing physical, mental, and emotional health, offering a simple yet effective method for promoting longevity and vitality.


Who Should Try Fasting?


fasting and eating disorders


Fasting, while beneficial for many, is not suitable for everyone and requires careful consideration of individual health conditions and lifestyle factors. Generally, healthy adults can try fasting to improve metabolic health, lose weight, or enhance mental clarity. Those with excess weight, metabolic syndrome, or a desire for improved health markers may particularly benefit from fasting under guidance.


However, certain groups should avoid fasting or consult with a healthcare provider before attempting it. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not fast, as fasting can affect nutrient supply critical for fetal and infant development. Children and teenagers, due to their developmental needs, should also abstain from fasting. Individuals with a history of eating disorders or current eating disorders should avoid fasting, as it could exacerbate unhealthy eating patterns or thoughts.


Additionally, individuals with chronic diseases or those on medications that require food intake should consult healthcare providers.


How to Start a 36-Hour Fast


how to start 36 hour fast


Starting on a 36-hour fast requires thoughtful preparation to ensure both safety and effectiveness. Begin by selecting a period during which you can minimize physical and mental stress, as these can exacerbate hunger and fatigue. Gradually reduce your meal sizes and increase your intake of whole, nutrient-dense foods leading up to the fast. This shift can help stabilize blood sugar levels and ease the transition into fasting. Hydration is crucial; ensure you drink plenty of water in the days before starting, and consider adding electrolytes to maintain mineral balance.


On the day before the fast, consume a meal that includes a substantial amount of healthy fats and proteins to keep you satiated longer. Clear your schedule as much as possible for the fasting period, preparing for a potential decrease in energy levels, especially if you’re new to fasting.


During the fast, continue to drink water to help curb hunger. Sole water can be a helpful addition for electrolytes. Listen to your body; mild hunger pangs are normal, but if you experience dizziness, extreme fatigue, or other concerning symptoms, consider breaking the fast early.


Success in fasting comes from mindful preparation, attentive self-care during the fast, and a gradual return to eating.


How to Break a 36-Hour Fast


how to break 32 hour fast


Breaking a 36-hour fast requires a gentle approach to reintroduce food to your digestive system and restore energy effectively. Start with a small, easily digestible meal to avoid overwhelming your stomach. The ideal first food to introduce is small portions of meat. These options are gentle on the stomach and rich in nutrients, helping to replenish the body without causing digestive distress.


Breaking your fast with dairy and eggs isn’t as ideal. We don’t recommend breaking your fast with non-carnivore foods such as nuts or vegetables.


Hydration should continue to be a priority. Alongside your initial meal, sip water or herbal tea to aid in the digestion process. Avoid immediately consuming large meals as these can lead to discomfort. Consume a small meal first before eating a larger meal 30 minutes later.


Listening to your body is important; if any food does not sit well, consider trying a different, more gentle option. Over the next 24 hours, slowly return to your normal dietary pattern, paying attention to hunger cues and satiety signals to avoid overeating.


How to Choose the Right Fasting Window for You

Choosing the right fasting window is a personalized decision, influenced by individual lifestyle, health goals, and physical responses. To determine the most suitable fasting duration, consider several key factors:


  • Lifestyle and Schedule: Select a fasting window that aligns with your daily routine, ensuring it does not disrupt work, family time, or social commitments. Some find shorter fasts, such as 16 hours, fit well into a busy lifestyle, while others may prefer longer periods during less active times.
  • Health Goals: Your objectives, whether weight loss, improved metabolic health, or enhanced mental clarity, can guide the fasting duration. Shorter fasts may be effective for gradual weight loss and lifestyle adaptation, whereas extended fasts might offer deeper metabolic and cognitive benefits.
  • Experience and Adaptability: Beginners should start with shorter fasts to gauge their body’s response before gradually extending the fasting window. Understanding your body’s signals—hunger cues, energy levels, and overall well-being—can help adjust the duration for optimal comfort and efficacy.
  • Medical Considerations: Those with medical conditions or taking medications should consult healthcare professionals before starting. Certain conditions may require tailored fasting approaches to avoid adverse effects.


Ultimately, the right fasting window balances personal goals with physical and emotional well-being, requiring experimentation and adaptation to find what works best for you.


36-Hour Fasts and the Carnivore Diet


carnivore diet fasting weight loss


Combining a 36-hour fast with the carnivore diet can offer a synergistic approach to health, influencing the benefits of both practices for optimal well-being. The carnivore diet, focused on consuming primarily animal products, provides high-quality proteins and fats, essential for nourishing the body and maintaining muscle mass. When integrated with a 36-hour fasting window, individuals can increase fat burning, improve metabolic flexibility, and deepen ketosis, a state where the body efficiently burns fat for fuel instead of glucose.


Before jumping on this combination, it’s essential to adapt to the carnivore diet, ensuring your body is accustomed to digesting and utilizing fats and proteins efficiently. This adaptation period can minimize potential discomfort during fasting periods, such as excessive hunger or energy fluctuations.


When planning a 36-hour fast within a carnivore lifestyle, consider timing it after a nutrient-dense meal rich in fats and proteins. This strategy can help sustain energy levels and satiety throughout the fast. Breaking the fast should also be thoughtful, starting with easily digestible animal-based foods, such as bone broth or soft-boiled eggs, before moving to more substantial meals to support digestive health.


Key factors to consider include your overall health, fasting experience, and daily energy demands. Monitoring your body’s response and adjusting the frequency and timing of fasts can increase benefits while ensuring the approach complements your lifestyle and health goals. This combination can be a powerful tool for those seeking to improve body composition, enhance mental clarity, and support long-term health through dietary strategies.


Closing Thoughts On 36-Hour Fasts and the Carnivore Diet

In our exploration of 36-hour fasts and the carnivore diet, we’ve looked into the intricacies and benefits of incorporating fasting into one’s lifestyle, especially in conjunction with a diet centered on animal products. A 36-hour fast extends beyond the typical daily fasting periods, pushing the body into deeper ketosis, enhancing fat burning, and promoting autophagy. This fasting window requires careful preparation, including hydration, a nutrient-dense final meal before fasting, and a gradual reintroduction of food to break the fast gently with easily digestible items to avoid digestive distress.


The carnivore diet, emphasizing high-quality animal proteins and fats, complements this fasting approach by providing the necessary nutrients to support muscle maintenance and overall health during non-fasting periods. When combined, these practices offer a synergistic effect that can optimize metabolic health, improve body composition, and potentially extend longevity. However, individual factors such as lifestyle, health goals, and personal health conditions play critical roles in determining the appropriateness and timing of fasting windows.


Adapting to the carnivore diet before introducing extended fasts such as the 36-hour fast is recommended for smoother transitions and minimizing discomfort. This combination requires mindful planning and listening to one’s body to adjust fasting frequencies and dietary choices for optimal health outcomes.


Work With Our Trusted Carnivore Diet Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioners

The Nutrition with Judy practice is honored to be a trusted carnivore diet practitioner support serving clients from around the globe. We’re passionate about helping our clients achieve root-cause healing in order to lead the best quality of life possible that’s nearly symptom-free. Our team is dedicated to optimizing our clients’ fasting protocols. We welcome you to explore our free resources and are always available to support you through personalized protocols. Our Symptom Burden Assessment (SBA) is the perfect starting point for discovering your root cause and is required to work with our team— you can learn more in-depth about this powerful tool here.

Start your root-cause healing journey today and contact us any time with any questions or concerns.


DISCLAIMER: This content is for educational purposes only. While we are board-certified in holistic nutrition and are nutritional therapy practitioners, we are not providing medical advice. Whenever you start a new diet or protocol, always consult with your trusted practitioner first.

Nutrition with Judy

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