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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Intermittent Fasting arrow 48-Hour Fast Benefits: Everything You Need to Know

48-Hour Fast Benefits: Everything You Need to Know

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: October 16, 2023
6 min read 1999 Views 0 Comments
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We delve into the science behind intermittent fasting and the numerous advantages of a 48-hour fast. From improving insulin sensitivity and reducing inflammation to promoting autophagy and enhancing mental clarity, we highlight the potential benefits of this extended fast.

48 hour fast benefits

Fasting has been practiced for as long as humans have walked the earth, as a religious rite, a devotion to more spiritual beliefs, and even a natural way to release toxins from the body. 

But today – more than ever before – people are also fasting to lose weight and improve their overall health.

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Fasting for 48 hours is no different; it can be used to kick-start weight loss or healthy living efforts by teaching the body how to go without food for extended periods and allowing it to focus on other tasks that support wellness. In addition, the 2-day fast can improve the body’s insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation while helping you lose weight or maintain your ideal weight.

Let’s look at the science behind this technique, how to get started, and what to expect from your first fast.

48-Hour Fast: What Is It?

In theory, a 48-hour fast is an extended form of intermittent fasting where you abstain from calories – including solid food and caloric beverages – for two consecutive days each week.

This eating pattern gives your digestive system much-needed rest while directing the body to utilize energy from stored fuel sources.

In fact, the 2-days fast is also said to support autophagy, or cell renewal – a process that can repair DNA damage, stop inflammation, and reverse signs of aging.

48-hour fast once a week: Is it effective?

48-hour fasting should only be done once or twice per month. 

Fasting for 48 hours can help you lose weight, but you should not fast every week for this length of time. In fact, you may risk side effects such as fatigue, low blood sugar, and nutrient deficiencies.

As you grow accustomed to fasting intermittently, you can increase the frequency to once a week for sustainable results with no side effects. This practice can be beneficial for those looking to lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time.

What Are 48-Hour Fast Benefits?

As mentioned before, 2-day fasting is a powerful practice that can help you experience better health and increased productivity. 

In addition, it’s an opportunity to detox your body and recalibrate your appetite by cutting down on calories. Here are some of the benefits you could experience when you do the 48-hour fast:

#1 Improved brain function and concentration

By restricting your calorie intake to a 2-day window, you will be able to concentrate more and engage in tasks better. This is because when your body doesn’t have any source of sugar to use as fuel, it will start using alternative energy sources such as fat.  

And when stored fats are used as an energy source, they release molecules called ketones that provide fuel to our brain. It also reduces the excessive production of cortisol hormone, which prevents memory-related diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

#2 Increased insulin sensitivity

When you fast intermittently, it has a restorative effect on insulin sensitivity, which indicates how well your body absorbs glucose and turns it into fuel. During these 48 hours, your body turns to glycogen (stored glucose) as its primary source of energy instead of depending on glucose from food sources. When your body is working in this fat-burning zone, you can easily access stored body fat to burn it for energy.

#3 Better heart health

Fasting is known to lower blood pressure, a risk factor for stroke and heart attack. It also lowers harmful cholesterol levels and raises good cholesterol levels, reducing the risks of various heart diseases. 

In fact, after a 48-hour fast, HDL (good) cholesterol rises by an average of 14%, and LDL (bad) cholesterol drops by 10%. You can also see a whopping drop of 30% in triglycerides – a significant risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.

#4 Weight loss

Intermittent fasting encourages weight loss by creating a calorie deficit. For example, when you fast for 48 hours, once or twice a month, you will reduce your caloric intake by up to 8,000 calories per month. The reduced calories boost weight loss, resulting in a loss of more than 2 pounds of fat each month.

Moreover, fasting for 48 hours every couple of weeks helps your body adapt by revving up its metabolic rate by 3.6% to burn more calories even at rest. That translates to 100–275 additional calories burned daily from fasting and calorie restriction.

#5 Better digestion

It may seem counterintuitive, but fasting for an extended time can heal your gut, balance the microbiome, and improve digestion. This is because fasting allows the digestive system to focus on removing toxins from the body rather than working on digesting food. 

It’s important because consistent stress, like nutrient absorption and energy production, can result in long-term wear and tear on your body. During a fasting period, your digestive tract repairs itself by facilitating healing cells through a process called apoptosis. The net result is a healthier digestive system that breaks down foods better, leading to better absorption of nutrient diet.

#6 Reduced oxidative stress

When the body’s antioxidant mechanisms fail, the chemical species in the body cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is linked to accelerated aging and a higher risk of many chronic diseases. 

Fasting reduces oxidative stress by creating more antioxidants and preventing damage to the mitochondria. On top of it, a 48-hour fast also helps reduce oxidative stress that results from oxidation of LDL cholesterol particles which can ultimately lead to clogging up of arteries. 

48-Hour Fast Side Effects

Before you embark on prolonged 48-hour fasting, you should familiarize yourself with the potential side effects.

#1 Dehydration

If you are doing any fasting type, 36-hour, 48-hour, or even 72-hour fast, it’s essential to drink plenty of fluid to avoid dehydration. 

In addition, some electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, are also important to consume during the fasting period as they help maintain several functions in the body. You can regain them by drinking water with a pinch of salt or taking electrolyte tablets.

If left untreated, dehydration can have serious consequences, including losing consciousness and confusion. Dehydration, especially in people with preexisting medical conditions, may lead to complications involving the heart, brain, and kidneys.

#2 Dizziness and fatigue

It is natural to experience dizziness and fatigue while fasting as the body takes time to adapt to the new dietary changes. If you notice dizziness during your fast, it may be related to low blood sugar levels – especially if you have diabetes. If this is the case, it’s recommended that you only continue fasting under the supervision of a doctor.

Moreover, if you are just getting started with fasting, it is essential to try easier forms of intermittent fasting such as 16-hour fasts, 24-hour fasts, and alternate-day fasting.

How to Intermittent Fast Properly?

The first step is simply deciding on a fasting protocol that works for your lifestyle and schedule. With many forms of intermittent fasting to choose from, it is recommended to start with a fasting protocol that’s not very rigorous in its requirements. 

The widely popular 16:8 plan allows eating during an 8-hour window each day and fasts for the remaining 16 hours – to a 5:2 diet that involves eating 500 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week. The key to success is sticking to the schedule you choose and eating healthy foods during the feeding window.

Gradually, as you become comfortable with these fasting regimes, switch things up to incorporate a full 48-hour intermittent fast into your routine. The most common way to start is by having dinner on the first night and not eating again until dinnertime two days later.

A Word From Our RD

A 48-hour fast is used to break through weight-loss plateaus, get rid of toxins and free radicals from your body, and even improve some aspects of your health.

However, it is important to note that 48-hour fasts are not meant to be taken all the time, and you will have to give your system enough time to recover each time before taking another one up.

NOTE: Fasting for more extended periods can be mentally challenging, so gradually working up to a 48-hour fast would be good for the brain and the body.

What’s more, it is important that you follow the recommended guidelines so that your body is not deprived of essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients required for cell regeneration.


​​An intermittent fast of 48 hours has many benefits: from helping to improve insulin sensitivity to weight loss. However, many other fasts, such as the 24-hour fast, also have similar benefits so it is better to start slow.

However, people have different results with different fasting methods, so it’s important to approach the practice carefully and thoughtfully. Always consult with your doctor before fasting for longer than 24 hours.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: October 16, 2023
6 min read 1999 Views 0 Comments

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