What is a monk's fast?

Monk Fast for Weight Loss
The 36-hour or monk fast is more challenging than other types of fasting.

The monk fast is a variation of intermittent fasting. It is a rigorous practice that involves drinking only water for 36 hours once per week. There are no other rules or restrictions. It is popular among dieters seeking an easy way to lose weight and improve their health.

Although there is no specific research on the monk fast, research on other types of fasting reports it, in general, has health benefits. Weight loss, longer lifespan, and a decreased risk of diabetes and heart disease are some advantages of intermittent fasting.

  • Evidence suggests that fewer than 15 percent of people following specific fasting regimens have negative side effects, such as irritation and feeling cold.
  • Although studies have found some causes for concern, researchers do not yet fully understand the long-term safety issues of fasting.

We-Fast, the organization that created the plan, advises consuming lots of plain water and calorie-free drinks during this time.

How does it work?

There is no specific study on the safety and efficacy of the monk fast. Experts do not endorse it for everyone. However, research on fasting reports health advantages and weight loss.

You must consult a physician before starting the monk fast.

Anyone on an intermittent fast needs to drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration, which can lead to hospitalization.

4 alternative fasting methods

In addition to the monk fast, you might think about the following intermittent fasting styles:

  1. Time-restricted feeding
  2. Alternate day fasting
  3. 5:2 eating pattern
  4. Periodic fasting

What are the adverse effects of fasting?

A 2017 review reported the concerning negative effects of intermittent fasting:

  • Insulin resistance in muscles: Fasting for one to two days per week causes higher overnight variations in free fatty acid levels than a typical overnight fast. Increased insulin resistance in skeletal muscles may result from this.
  • Mood issues: Intermittent fasting may improve eating habits and mood in those who are overweight, but it may have the opposite impact on people who are within the healthy weight range. According to research, these persons have attention issues and are easily irritated.
  • Menstrual cycle changes: Intermittent fasting may alter the regularity and duration of the menstrual cycle.
  • Eating during nonfasting days: Some tend to overindulge on non-fasting days rather than emphasizing eating wholesome, well-balanced meals. Even if this results in weight loss, this may negatively impact overall health.


The Best Diet Tips: How to Lose Weight the Healthy Way See Slideshow

4 benefits of the monk fast

  1. Enhanced longevity
    • Fasting may extend lifespan and improve health. Studies on numerous types of animals have revealed that calorie restriction on occasion may slow down or even stop the aging process.
    • It is believed that autophagy, a mechanism, is at play in this situation. Autophagy is the process by which your body recognizes damaged cells, recycles their parts, and creates new, healthy cells.
    • This mechanism can reduce the risk of heart disease, Alzheimer's, and many malignancies.
    • A study on rats reported that after four weeks of intermittent fasting, the rats who ate only one meal a day lived longer and had delayed organ damage.
  2. Improved heart health
    • Longer fasting intervals may benefit heart health because fasting increases the synthesis of energy molecules called ketones. The heart prefers the use of ketone bodies to carbs as fuel. They give the heart more cellular energy than glucose.
    • Additionally, fasting may lower blood pressure, elevate BDNF-1 (human growth hormone) levels and ease the heart’s functions.
    • According to a 2019 review, intermittent fasting may lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels and inflammation, which can minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  3. Increased fat burning
    • When you fast for a long time, your body must use fat as fuel because of low carbohydrate levels. Activating your fat-burning system may also:
      • Reset your body’s circadian rhythm
      • Normalize blood sugar levels
      • Improve insulin sensitivity
      • Reduce leptin resistance
      • Improve mental clarity
    • Despite the diversity of these advantages, they all result in a significantly improved body composition.
  4. Achieve greater mindfulness
    • The popularity of fasting throughout history and across different cultures is largely attributable to its capacity to encourage a more attuned and “spiritual” relationship with life.
    • To profit from these kinds of advantages, you do not necessarily have to be spiritual or religious. You may be more productive at work or school because of the impacts of fasting on awareness.
    • Most people discover that when they are fasting, it is significantly simpler to be productive, often called the flow state.
    • Additionally, fasting goes well with other styles of meditation.

What are the drawbacks of the monk fast and how to avoid them?

The 36-hour or monk fast is more challenging than other types of fasting.

Long-term calorie restriction might have negative side effects, such as:

Dehydration can happen if you do not replace pure water for your regular liquid consumption, which includes liquids from food.

Here are some helpful hints to assist you to avoid the side effects of the monk fast:

  • Combine the monk fast with keto to reduce the chance of blood sugar swings.
  • Begin slowly. Before attempting the full 36-hour version, you might practice with 16:8 fasting a few times, then 20 to 24-hour fasts, and increase hours gradually.
  • Try a modified 36-hour fast during which you eat a moderate amount of healthy fats.
  • Increase your body's ketone levels with the aid of medium chain triglyceride (MCT) and coconut oil or exogenous ketone supplementation. These items could accelerate ketosis while decreasing your cravings for carbs.
  • Perform light exercise. By moving more, you can encourage your metabolism to start burning fat and enter deep ketosis quicker. However, be careful not to overdo it; the ideal activities are low-impact ones, such as yoga, strolling, and swimming.
  • Consume grass-fed organic meats or supplements to maintain a healthy diet. Because their B vitamin content can prevent your resting metabolic rate from stagnating throughout each fast. These meals may help your monk fast be even more successful. Beef organs are a fantastic source of difficult-to-find nutrients.


Weight loss occurs in the belly before anywhere else. See Answer

Is the monk fast right for you?

One of the most severe and successful forms of fasting is the 36-hour or monk fast. However, it is not safe for everyone.

You should choose a less aggressive fasting option if you belong to any of the following categories:

Most women may prefer to avoid 36-hour fasts because, compared to men, a women's hormonal balance is sometimes more easily impacted by reduced energy consumption.

A sort of progesterone deficit, where the stress hormone cortisol essentially “steals” from other critical hormones, can occur in women who fast more often than their bodies can manage.

If you decide to attempt the monk fast and encounter irregular periods, start missing periods, or feel tense, stop right away.

What to eat after a 36-hour fast

The body begins a vigorous process of cellular renewal when you fast for this long. New cells are created, stem cells are activated, and old cells are metabolized.

You must nourish these new cells with the healthiest foods possible. However, after the fast, your body may take some time to make the digestive enzymes resume their regular levels.

Bone broth along with tallow or ghee is a great meal to break the fasting period. In addition to substantial levels of protein and several advantageous anti-inflammatory ingredients, including glycine and arginine, bone broth contains other nutrients.

Bottom line

A monk fast is a 36-hour fast that can be a huge challenge to complete. It is inappropriate for those who are pregnant, have an eating disorder of any kind, or have jobs that require a lot of physical activity.

Be sure to stay hydrated and engage in less demanding hobbies, such as reading or yoga, when you give it a try.

Get a friend or member of your family to participate in the monk fast with you if you can. This can help with motivation.

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Medically Reviewed on 9/8/2022
Image Source: iStock images

Fasting: What You Should Know https://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/ss/slideshow-fasting-overview

What is intermittent fasting? Does it have health benefits? https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/intermittent-fasting/faq-20441303

Fasting: How to Guide https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8151159/

Intermittent Fasting: What is it, and how does it work? https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/intermittent-fasting-what-is-it-and-how-does-it-work