My Opinion on Dry Fasting

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Have you heard of dry fasting and wondered what all the hype was about? Do you want to know if dry fasting is better than wet fasting, and if it is worth the extra effort? In this article, I’ll share with you my opinion on dry fasting.

We’ll go over the meaning of dry fasting, how long your body can go without drinking any water, and what the research can tell us.

In this article:

Let’s start by looking at the terminology, and what the difference is between wet fasting and dry fasting.

Do not drink water concept, illustration of water glass and faucet with red “no” sign.


What is dry fasting?

There are many different versions of fasting out there, and the terminology can be confusing. So what is the meaning of dry fasting, and how does it differ from wet fasting?

Dry fasting means going for a period of time without eating any food and without consuming any liquids of any kind, including water. This is the more extreme version of fasting, and it involves the complete restriction of both food and water. It is also sometimes called waterless fasting.

Wet fasting, on the other hand, is when you are not eating any food but you are drinking water or other liquids. This is sometimes called water fasting. Wet fasting is a more common method of fasting, and it is what I recommend when practicing intermittent fasting.

Within the category of dry fasting, there are different types of dry fasts: hard and soft. With a soft dry fast, you are allowed to use water when you are brushing your teeth, doing the dishes, or taking a shower, for example. A hard dry fast means you don’t expose any part of your body to any water at all – even if it is just exposure through your skin while showering. A hard dry fast is the most extreme version of fasting, and it can be very difficult to put into practice.

Hands in clear water, palms up submerged in water.


How long can we go without water?

When you do dry fasting, you are restricting your water intake to zero. So how long can your body survive when you aren’t drinking any water?

Our bodies will only last about 3 days without any water at all. This length of time can vary depending on different factors, and it can sometimes be a bit shorter or a bit longer. But generally, you won’t be able to survive for more than a few days without drinking water.

- Hand in sand reaching for clear glass of clean water – thirsty, how long without water.

Dry fasts are generally short, lasting no longer than a day. During Ramadan, people will dry fast for one day. They will not consume any food or drink between sunrise and sunset; after sunset, they break the fast.

The body can last a lot longer if you are just restricting food and not water (wet fasting). This is because you have a lot of fat reserves in your body that you can live off of when you aren’t consuming any food. These fat reserves can be burned as fuel and allow your body to keep functioning even if you aren’t eating.


Why do people do dry fasting?

There are many reasons to do fasting in general – whether that is a dry or wet fast.

When you think about it from an evolutionary perspective, our bodies adapted throughout the years to be able to survive and thrive during periods of food shortage and starvation. In fact, certain cellular changes occur in the body when we are exposed to mild stressors (like temporary lack of food). This is referred to as the hermetic effect and it can lead to some really incredible benefits in the body.

Fasting also gives your internal organs a break, especially those in the digestive system. It is like a vacation, where the digestive tract doesn’t have to work so hard to keep everything running smoothly. Giving your system a break can have some powerful health benefits.

Empty white plate and silverware with no food, red X on plate – food restriction, fasting concept.

Some of the specific benefits of fasting include:

  • Stabilizing Fat Storing Hormone levels
  • Increasing mitochondria
  • Activating autophagy (a recycling system in the body)
  • Losing weight
  • Boosting memory, focus, and attention
  • Decreasing inflammation
  • Reducing hunger and cravings

But why do dry fasting instead of wet fasting?

The idea behind restricting water as well as food is that this extra step will add a bit more positive stress to the body, potentially allowing you to get even better results from the fasting process. By going beyond just food restriction and limiting water as well, people hope to boost the benefits of fasting and take it to the next level.

But is this really the case? Are the effects of dry fasting greater than those of wet fasting? Let’s take a


What does the research say?

If you are going to take extreme measures and limit your water and food intake, then you probably want to know that it is worth your while. But is dry fasting really that much better for your body than wet fasting? Can you get better results by staying away from water as well as food?

Unfortunately, there isn’t enough data to give us the answer to that question.

When you look at the dry fasting research, there is plenty looking at people dry fasting for one day (such as with Ramadan). But there is no research comparing a dry fast to a west fast side by side. I’ve looked everywhere for this research, and I can’t find any wet fasting vs. dry fasting studies that compare the two.

So while in theory there may be some reason to consider dry fasting as a way to boost your fasting results, it is hard to know. There isn’t enough data for me to form a solid opinion on the matter and tell you for sure that the dry fasting benefits are better than those of wet fasting.


The bottom line

Because there isn’t enough data out there, I can’t tell you for sure whether dry fasting is better than wet fasting. And I can’t form a solid opinion on the topic.

Intermittent fasting concept, white plate with pink clock on teal background, silverware.

What I can tell you is that you can do some experimenting on your own to find out what works best for you and your body. Below are a few things I would suggest you keep in mind as you make your decisions and do your own research on the topic:

Dry fasting may potentially have some added benefit over wet fasting, but it’s hard to really know if that is the case.

The important thing here is to listen to your body, be cautious with your choices, and not get too extreme. There are potential dry fasting dangers if you aren’t careful. Your body needs nutrients and water to function, and we can’t go too long without those things. You wouldn’t want to put your health in danger, so make sure to make informed choices.

Have you ever tried dry fasting? What were the dry fasting benefits you noticed? What were the downsides? Share with the community by leaving a comment down below.

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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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