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What happens if you don’t eat for 3 days but drink water?

Have you ever wondered what would happen to your body if you didn’t eat for three days but continued to drink water? In today’s world, where hectic schedules and busy routines have become the norm, many people may unintentionally skip meals or fast for religious or health reasons. But what happens to your body during a 72-hour fast, and is it safe to do so? In this article, we will explore the physical and mental effects of not eating for three days while continuing to hydrate yourself with water.

What Happens to Your Body When You Don’t Eat for 3 Days?

Dieting regimes often employ fasting as an effective strategy to shed off some pounds. Intermittent fasting has been linked to a plethora of health benefits, including weight loss, improved blood sugar regulation, and a lower risk of chronic diseases. However, prolonged fasting poses various risks and consequences to your body. In this article, we’ll be discussing what happens if you don’t eat for 3 days but drink water only.

Day 1: Immediate Consequences of Fasting

Day 1: Immediate Consequences of Fasting

During the first day of fasting, your body will immediately start undergoing changes in preparation for the lack of food. Your digestive system will shut down, and your glycogen stores will be depleted. As a result, you’ll experience hunger pangs, headaches, and low energy levels.

Additionally, your body will start to enter a state of ketosis, a metabolic state that occurs when the body switches to using fat as its primary source of energy. In this state, your liver will start converting stored fat into ketones, which your body can use for fuel.

Day 2: Heightened Effects of Fasting

Day 2: Heightened Effects of Fasting

On the second day of fasting, the effects will become more pronounced. Hunger levels will increase, and your energy levels will drop significantly. You may also experience dizziness, lightheadedness, and nausea.

As your body continues to rely on stored fat for energy, you may also start experiencing a metallic taste in your mouth, bad breath, and changes in the smell of your urine. This is due to the breakdown of fat and the release of ketones into your bloodstream.

Day 3: Advanced Stage of Fasting

Day 3: Advanced Stage of Fasting

By the third day of fasting, your body will be in an advanced stage of ketosis. You’ll experience extreme hunger pangs and fatigue, and your energy levels will be significantly depleted. Your brain function may also be affected, leading to difficulty concentrating and memory problems.

In addition to these effects, you may experience muscle weakness, joint pain, and decreased immune function. This is because your body is trying to conserve energy and resources by breaking down muscle tissue for fuel.



Fasting can be an effective way to lose weight and improve your overall health, but it’s crucial to approach it safely and responsibly. Prolonged fasting, such as not eating for three days, can have adverse effects on your body and well-being. If you’re considering fasting, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine if it’s safe for you.

Additionally, it’s crucial to break your fast gradually and with the right foods to avoid shocking your digestive system. With proper care and planning, fasting can be a safe and effective tool to improve your health.

Section 2: The Effects of Not Eating for 3 Days but Drinking Water

1. Weight Loss

One of the most noticeable effects of not eating for three days but drinking water is weight loss. In fact, some people resort to fasting to lose weight, and this type of fasting is called water fasting. When you don’t eat for three days, your body will start using stored glycogen for energy. This will help burn fat and reduce weight. However, this type of fasting is not recommended for long-term weight loss, as the lost weight may come back quickly if you return to your regular diet.

Weight Loss

2. Dehydration

Drinking water while not eating for three days is crucial in preventing dehydration. However, without proper food intake, your body may become dehydrated despite drinking water. Your body works to break down stored glycogen for energy, and each unit of glycogen releases three units of water. Therefore, you may feel thirsty and may need to drink more water to replace water lost from breaking down glycogen. It is important to consistently drink water while fasting to maintain hydration and prevent other complications related to dehydration.


3. Fatigue and Weakness

When you don’t eat for three days, you may feel weak and fatigued. This can happen because your body is using up stored glycogen, which results in low blood sugar levels. Low blood sugar can cause fatigue and weakness, making it harder for you to perform day-to-day activities. It is important to prioritize rest and relaxation while fasting and avoiding overly strenuous activities that could exacerbate feelings of fatigue and weakness.

Fatigue and Weakness

4. Slower Metabolism

When you don’t eat for three days, your body goes into a state of emergency and slows your metabolism to conserve energy. This means that your body will use energy more slowly, and you may burn fewer calories than you would if you were eating regularly. This is why fasting is not an optimal way to lose weight long-term, as the body can compensate and slow down metabolism, making future weight loss more challenging.

Slower Metabolism

5. Brain Function and Focus

Not eating for three days can have an impact on your brain function and focus. When you fast, your body produces higher levels of ketones, which can improve cognitive function. Ketones are produced when the body breaks down fat for energy instead of glycogen. However, prolonged fasting can cause poor concentration, dizziness, and confusion, making it difficult to focus on tasks. It is important to listen to your body and prioritize rest and relaxation during a fast to avoid negative impacts on cognitive function and focus.

Brain Function and Focus

6. Increased Sensitivity to Temperature

When you fast, your body conserves energy and decreases blood flow to your skin. This can make you more sensitive to temperature changes. For example, you may feel colder than usual when fasting. It is important to dress warmly and keep your environment at a comfortable temperature to avoid discomfort when fasting.

Increased Sensitivity to Temperature

7. Increase in Stress Hormones

When you fast, your body releases stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline. This is a normal response to fasting, as your body is under stress and needs to produce energy. However, prolonged fasting can cause an increase in stress hormones, which can be harmful to your health. High levels of cortisol can lead to weight gain, impaired immune function, and an increased risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Increase in Stress Hormones

8. Gastrointestinal Problems

Not eating for three days can cause gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, constipation, and nausea. When you are not eating, your body slows down the digestion process, making it harder to pass stool. This can cause discomfort and bloating. It is important to drink plenty of water during a fast to help flush your system and avoid constipation. Drinking ginger tea can also help soothe nausea and promote digestion.

Gastrointestinal Problems

9. Decrease in Muscle Mass

When you fast, your body uses stored glycogen for energy. However, after a few days of fasting, your body may start breaking down muscle protein for energy. This can lead to an overall decrease in muscle mass. It is important to prioritize rest and light exercise when fasting to avoid further loss of muscle mass.

Decrease in Muscle Mass

10. Risk of Nutrient Deficiency

When you fast, your body is not getting enough essential nutrients and minerals, such as protein, vitamins, and minerals. This can lead to a nutrient deficiency, which can have negative impacts on your overall health. It is important to break a fast with nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins to replenish your body with essential nutrients.

Risk of Nutrient Deficiency

What Happens to Your Body When You Don’t Eat for Three Days But Drink Water?

As we have discussed earlier, not eating anything for three days straight is highly challenging. However, it’s equally interesting to know what happens to our bodies during this time and how we can prepare ourselves for these changes.

The Initial Phase of Fasting (4 to 48 Hours)

Within the first 4 to 48 hours of fasting, you will experience a series of changes in your body:

Changes in Your Body Details
Decrease in Blood Sugar: Your glycogen, which is stored in your liver, will convert into glucose for energy production. After around 16 hours of fasting, your liver will stop producing glucose, leading to a decrease in blood sugar levels. This may cause symptoms like fatigue.
Burning of Fat: When glucose is not available, your body will begin to break down fat cells to produce energy. This process is known as ketosis, which leads to the production of molecules called ketones as a byproduct.
Increased Sensitivity to Stress: Fasting can increase the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, leading to a higher level of the stress hormone, cortisol.
Decrease in Insulin Production: Your pancreas will stop producing insulin, a hormone that helps metabolize carbohydrates.
Changes in Brain Function: You may experience changes in your mood, concentration, or memory due to the production of ketones.

The Prolonged Phase of Fasting (48 to 72 Hours)

If you extend your fast beyond 48 hours, you may experience:


Autophagy is the body’s natural process of breaking down and recycling damaged or dysfunctional cell parts. It occurs when your body enters a state of starvation, leading to a reduction in insulin levels. Autophagy can protect against chronic diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Changes in Metabolism

Extended periods of fasting can lead to a reduction in your basal metabolic rate (BMR). The BMR is the number of calories your body burns at rest. A reduced BMR can help you achieve sustainable weight loss.


Drinking water is vital during fasting. However, drinking too much water can lead to an imbalance of electrolytes in your body, causing dehydration. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure your water intake is moderate.

Physical Weakness

During a prolonged fast, you may begin to feel physically weak and fatigued due to a lack of energy. Your body burns fat for energy during ketosis, but this process is slow and inefficient compared to burning glucose. Therefore, you may notice a decline in your energy levels.

Cognitive Benefits

Recent studies have shown that fasting for extended periods can lead to cognitive benefits such as improved memory, concentration, and focus.

In conclusion, fasting for three days but drinking water can result in a series of physiological changes that can be beneficial or challenging to your health. If you plan to fast, it’s critical to understand the potential risks and benefits and seek advice from a medical professional before commencing.

Learn more about the effects of fasting on the body and how it can actually be beneficial with Healthline’s article on what happens if you don’t eat for 3 days but drink water.

Bottom line

Now you know what happens if you don’t eat for 3 days but drink water. It can be a tough challenge for some people, but it can also be a life-changing experience for others. Remember to always prioritize your health and listen to your body. Thanks for reading and make sure to visit us again later for more interesting articles!

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