green leafed plant
Dirty fasting can allow liquids like green juices throughout the day. Photo by Devin Avery

Dirty Fasting: How to Make it Work for You

In recent years, fasting has gained immense popularity for its potential health benefits, including weight loss, improved metabolic health, and enhanced mental clarity. Traditional fasting methods often involve abstaining from all calorie intake for extended periods, which can be quite challenging for many people. However, there’s a new and less restrictive approach on the block: dirty fasting. In dirty fasting, you primarily consume liquids until late in the day, providing you with more energy and flexibility than traditional fasting methods. This article explores the concept of dirty fasting, its potential benefits, and why it may be a more attainable fasting approach, as it was for me.

What Is Dirty Fasting?

Dirty fasting, sometimes known as “wet fasting,” is a variation of intermittent fasting that allows for the consumption of liquids that don’t contain calories or have a negligible calorie count. These include water, herbal tea, black coffee, and some zero-calorie beverages. Dirty fasting typically involves refraining from consuming solid food until a specific time later in the day, often in the afternoon or evening.

Here is my video where I explain my approach to Dirty Fasting (and fall fashion!)

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More Energy through Dirty Fasting

One of the primary advantages of dirty fasting is the energy boost it provides. By abstaining from solid food in the early part of the day, your body doesn’t have to divert energy to the digestive process, which typically consumes a significant amount of energy. This redirection of energy can lead to improved alertness, mental clarity, and overall vitality. Many proponents of dirty fasting report feeling more focused and energized in the morning.

I can say this is my experience. Typically, I am good with coffee and pressed juice/tea until about 2-3 o’clock, but may also have a piece of fruit or some nuts if I am really hungry. I then have a substantia snack/mini-meal around 4. Then for dinner I am still hungry, but not STARVING.

green lime fruit on white textile
Photo by Christina Rumpf

Less Restrictive and Easier to Sustain

Unlike traditional fasting methods, dirty fasting is less restrictive and may be easier for many people to sustain over the long term. In traditional fasting, complete food avoidance can lead to feelings of deprivation and an increased likelihood of overeating when the fasting period ends. Dirty fasting, on the other hand, allows for some caloric intake in the form of liquids, making it a more sustainable option. This flexibility can make it more achievable for individuals with busy lifestyles or those who find traditional fasting too demanding.

splash of water in drinking glass with sliced lemon
Photo by Thao LEE

Improved Hydration

Dirty fasting promotes better hydration. Many people struggle to consume enough water daily, but dirty fasting encourages regular intake of water and other hydrating liquids. Staying well-hydrated is essential for overall health and can also help control appetite, which is a significant advantage for those aiming to lose weight or maintain a healthy diet.

Enhanced Weight Management

Dirty fasting can be an effective tool for weight management. By delaying solid food intake until later in the day, you may naturally consume fewer calories during your eating window. Additionally, the reduced insulin response during the fasting period can help your body tap into stored fat for energy, which can aid in weight loss. However, it’s essential to maintain a balanced and nutritious diet during your eating window to achieve your weight management goals.

Even though you may be eating some foods that elevate insulin, as long as the drinks you are drinking do not have a lot of added sugar, you can still get many of the benefits of more “traditional fasting” – that is, for weight management. My previous article on fasting talked about a process called autophagy, which is basically a form of cell renewal. There is increasing evidence, however, that fasting has to extend for long periods of up to 72 hours – that is THREE DAYS – to really attain this. So while it might be really depriving and depressing to try to attain something like that, you can still get a lot of weight management benefits from a more tolerant form of fasting.

Safety Considerations

While dirty fasting can offer various benefits, it may not be suitable for everyone. Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or eating disorders, should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any fasting regimen. It’s crucial to listen to your body and make adjustments as needed. If you experience dizziness, weakness, or any adverse effects, it’s essential to break your fast and consume a balanced meal.


Dirty fasting, with its liquid-only approach until late in the day, offers a more flexible and potentially sustainable alternative to traditional fasting. It can provide you with increased energy, improved hydration, and a less restrictive fasting experience. However, it’s vital to remember that fasting isn’t one-size-fits-all, and individual needs and preferences should guide your choice of fasting method. If you decide to try dirty fasting, do so with an awareness of your body’s signals and consider seeking advice from a healthcare professional to ensure it’s a safe and appropriate choice for you.

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