I gained 4 pounds after breaking my first dry fast: salted chocolate granola and potato crisps (go figure!). But I’m a lot smarter now, so rest assured if you follow these tips and carefully exit the fast, you won’t suffer the same fate.
How to break a dry fast without gaining weight? Rehydrate slowly with sugar-free liquid. Limit your calorie intake for the first few meals. Avoid foods that are high in sodium and carbs, as both reverse weight loss quickly. Eat meals that are high in nutritious fats, small amounts of protein, and leafy vegetables.
If weight loss is your dry fast goal, how you break a dry fast is PIVOTAL. Refeeding is more critical than fasting, so chew on that before you stuff anything else in your mouth.
Breaking a dry fast: how the weight loss pros do it
Break your fast with your chosen liquid (water, water mixed with probiotics, kefir, sauerkraut juice, or water with Apple Cider Vinegar). Start by slowly drinking 500 ml of water per hour for 2 hours, then 2 pints of water after that, then back to regular drinking. Drink over several hours to avoid bloating and puffiness.
An idea floating online is to end your dry fast with coconut water. Mmmmm… delicious. Hate to break the news, but coconut water is deceptively high in sugar (on average, coconuts have 9g of sugar per cup —about 2 teaspoons). Although coconut water is better than sodas and fruit juices, it’s still not a great option if you want to lose weight.
Sugar is bad on a regular day but evil after a dry fast. Your body is prone to an insulin spike since its glycogen stores have been depleted, so even a tiny amount of carbs will spike blood sugar, turning sugar into fat faster than you can say chocolate croissant.
Speaking of food, eat under 500 calories for that first meal, not only for your stomach’s comfort but also to avoid bloating (looks like weight gain) and the likelihood of spiking insulin (actual weight gain).
Your first meal should have low or no seasoning—make your first meal yourself at home so you can keep a vigilant eye on all salt content (no take-outs!). Unlike water fasting (where dinner is a teaspoon of salt), dry fasting means no sodium crosses your lips. Your body, however, loves salt and longs for it, meaning it will desperately cling on for dear life to even tiny quantities of salt (that’s instant bloating for you).
Some sources suggest breaking a dry fast with fruit—a good idea if you want to energize and a bad idea if you’re going to lose weight. Fruit contains high quantities of fructose and glucose (sugar!) that quickly morph into fat. You can have some fruits after breaking a fast, but only low-carb fruits such as berries. For a list of fruits, you can eat, check out this article from the Dietdoctor here.
The best way to keep burning fat and avoid weight increase is to break your dry fast with foods high in nutritious fats, such as food choices from a heart-healthy ketogenic diet.
Ketogenic macro portions should look like this: 75 – 80 % fat, 15 – 20 % protein, 5 -10% carbohydrate.
Why a ketogenic diet? After a dry fast, your body’s in the state of ketosis—in the absence of glucose, your liver is breaking down fat stores for fuel. This is the ideal state to burn fat. Fat Utopia. The Promised Land. Stay as long as you can.
How long? Refeeding is twice the duration of the fast. Dry fast 1 day, refeed 2 days; dry short 2 days, refeed 4 days. A few keto meals will keep the weight from coming back, but you could drop some serious belly if you stay with a keto or high-fat diet for the entire refeeding window or longer (see promised land.)
In summary, milking your ketosis then gently sliding back into whatever diet you ordinarily practice maximizes weight loss after a dry fast. If you’re having trouble planning your keto meals and want to do keto for more extended periods for weight loss, you don’t know how this custom keto meal planner does it all for you.
For more on ketosis and dry fasting, read my article Can Dry Fasting Hack Keto? and We Need to Talk About Dry Fasting: It’s a Weight Loss Game Changer.
If you’re interested in more on how to break a dry fast properly, read my article The Complete Guide on How to Break a 24-hour Dry Fast and if you’re into prolonged dry fasting (meaning you’re a professional faster!), check out my article How to Make (or Break) a 3-Day Dry Fast.
What to drink after a dry fast to keep the weight off?
Your first drink should be water and likely be what you’re craving. Although most experts recommend water to break your fast (especially if under 24 hours), there are a few other alternatives, which we’ll get to.
If my dry fast is less than 24 hours, usually intermittent dry fasting of 16- 18 hours, I like to break with a glass of water first, then half-hour before food, I have water mixed with apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) balances stomach acids, helping you digest better and not crave crap foods; animal studies also show it helps with good bacteria and weight loss. If my dry fast is 24-36 hours, I start with water mixed with probiotics and then have ACV mixed with water half an hour before eating.
There are a few good drinks that can be used to break your fast before eating food. The idea is to go soft on the stomach and gently caress those hard-working kidneys. These drinks are recommended just before the first few meals.
Good drinks to break dry fast
- Lemon/ lime & water
- Kambucha – sugar-free version only
- Baking soda &water
- Water with probiotics
Bad drinks to break dry fast
- Coconut water
- Fruit juices
- Any alcohol
What to eat after a dry fast to keep the weight off?
It’s best to go for healthy, fresh, and clean foods, not food out of a box, so you don’t need to read the contents, and you are in control of what’s going into your body.
Try to make your own food at home for the first few meals, unless you can have a salad where you know what you’re eating—every mouthful counts!
The first meal shouldn’t contain carbs, primarily good fats, and good quality protein. Keep taking 75- 80% fat, 20 – 15% protein, 5-10% carbs.
To start with, always go for the lightest option, such as miso soup, fish broth, or bone broth, just to go gentle on your stomach. Then continue with keto foods. Here are some wholesome fats and proteins:
This superfood is one of the best things to eat after a dry fast. Although a fruit, it’s not full of carbs and is 77% fat which is higher in fat content than most animal nutrition! The primary fatty acid in avocado is oleic acid, and studies show that avocado keeps you fuller for longer, making it a great weight-loss food.
Salmon tops the list of good fish, followed by other fatty fish like trout, mackerel, sardines, and herring, loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and essential nutrients. If your tummy isn’t sensitive, then you could break a shorter fast with a fish meal. You could also opt for a fish soup or cod liver oil to get those fatty nutrients in, but with a lighter touch. Soups and broths might be better for a prolonged dry fast, say after 3 days, as you really want to go easy on your tummy.
More than 60% of eggs are fat. The rest is protein, which makes eggs filling and nutrient-dense. The best ones are organic and omega-3 enriched. Make sure you eat the yolk as that’s where all the good fat is!
Tempeh is high in protein and is more than 50% fat. It is also fermented, which makes it a probiotic. Tofu is a secondary option, but it is processed a little more, so probably not the best choice. Tempeh is a good choice for vegetarians who want something solid to break their dry fast. (Remember, pass on the salt!)
Nuts & seeds:
Go for more fat-filled nuts like pecans, macadamia, walnuts, and brazil nuts. These have high-fat content and low carb content. Peanuts and peanut butter are good too. A tablespoon will do the trick. As for nuts, aim for a handful at any one time. Don’t binge! Seeds like chia seeds are fantastic—chia seeds have 8% fat content, with one ounce having 9 grams of fat. Sunflower seeds are also a healthy, fatty choice.
Fermented vegetables such as kimchi, sauerkraut, olives, and pickled cucumber are great as they contain little carbs and are really good for your gut microflora. Your gut microbiome can profoundly impact your weight loss and the rate you absorb food, as well as many other factors: inflammation, metabolism, and mood. So you should use the opportunity after a dry fast to heal and energize your gut bacteria with as many probiotic meals as possible.
Check out this Healthline article for a list of healthy high-fat (ketogenic) foods you can eat. Do make sure that your body can easily digest anything you eat after a dry fast. If you’ve had previous reactions with any of the foods here, don’t eat them right after a dry fast!
Examples of dry fasting break fast meals
- Miso soup, bone broth, fish broth
- Kefir or coconut yogurt – choose low carb options ( less than 5grams carbs per 100 grams) with berries
- Cucumber salad with omelet
- Avocado with kimchi
- Tempeh & beansprouts stir fry
- A handful of nuts (nuts lowest in carbs are pecans, macadamia, walnuts, brazil nuts, and peanuts)
- Olives & fermented vegetables like cucumber
Is the weight loss after a dry fast permanent?
There are several ways to approach this. Some of the weight has gone if you’re doing a one-day dry fast, but it’s mostly water that will return after the dry fast. You can, however, lose weight if you break your fast carefully and take advantage of the fact you’re in deep ketosis after a dry fast.
If you’re doing a 3 day dry fast, then you’ve actually burned a significant amount of fat cells as well. Once the weight is off, those fat cells have shrunk, and in some cases, are obliterated.
Do keep in mind that if you’re a remorseless binge eater (think Netflix-binging couch potato or Jabba The Hut), you’ll gain back the weight simply from consuming excess calories (isn’t the human body a beautiful thing?).
The slim-fast solution includes dry fasting as a daily, weekly, or monthly weight management tool and make intermittent dry fasting part of your lifestyle. So if you’re up to dry fast for rapid weight loss and age reversal, check out my new video course, 25 Again! The Dry Fasting Lifestyle For A Younger, Slimmer You. See you there!
***Disclaimer: I am not a doctor/ physician, and although I have a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science, I cannot and do not hold myself to be a medical professional (“Medical Provider”). This article does not contain medical /health advice. The medical/ health information here is for general and educational purposes only. It is my opinion, based on my research and personal experience, and not a substitute for professional advice by your health care provider. Please consult with a professional before acting on the information here, and do not disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical attention because of anything you read in this article. THE USE OR RELIANCE OF ANY OF THE INFORMATION ON THIS WEBSITE IS SOLELY AT YOUR OWN RISK.***
- Wien, M., Haddad, E., Oda, K. et al. A randomized 3×3 crossover study to evaluate the effect of Hass avocado intake on post-ingestive satiety, glucose and insulin levels, and subsequent energy intake in overweight adults. Nutr J 12, 155 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-12-155. (Citation on PubMed)
- Hadjer Bouderbala, Wafaa Dib, Omar Kheroua, Djamel Saidi, Hanane Kaddouri. Modulation of the intestinal microbiota by apple cider vinegar in rats subjected to cafeteria diet. Archives of Cardiovascular Diseases Supplements,Volume 11, Issue 3, Supplement, 2019, Pages e373-e374, ISSN 1878-6480, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acvdsp.2019.05.102. (Citation on Science Direct)
- Yagnik D, Serafin V, J Shah A. Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression. Sci Rep. 2018;8(1):1732. Published 2018 Jan 29. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-18618-x
- Dunning, August. The Phoenix Protocol Dry Fasting for Rapid Healing and Radical Life Extension: Functional Immortality. August Dunning , 2020.
- Coutinho, Luke. Dry Fasting Miracle. EBURY PR, 2020.
- Filonov, Sergey. 20 Questions & Answers About Dry Fasting . Translated by Vera Giovanna Bani , Siberika , 2019.