Dirty Fasting vs Clean Fasting (The Most Effective for Weight Loss?)

Are you curious about the pros and cons of dirty and clean fasting? And which one is more effective (especially for weight loss)?

Fasting has been around for centuries and is a powerful way to lose weight while cleansing your body. But there are different ways to fast, and knowing which one is the best and right for you can be confusing.

That’s where dirty fasting and clean fasting come in. In this article, we’ll compare the two fasting types to decide which will work best for you. We’ll also discuss the benefits and cons of each type of fasting and how to get started.

Read on to learn more about dirty fasting and clean fasting!

The Difference Between Clean and Dirty Fasting

There are two types of fasting: clean and dirty. Clean fasting is when you only consume water and avoid all food and drink. On the other hand, dirty fasting is when you consume calorie-free liquids such as tea, coffee, and sparkling water. In terms of weight loss, both types of fasting are effective.

However, clean fasting is more effective because it makes your body burn through stored fat more quickly. And clean fasting has additional enhanced health benefits like autophagy.

Additionally, clean fasting helps to reset your appetite, making it easier to stick to a healthy diet in the long term.

However, dirty fasting (also called filthy fasting) may be more sustainable for most people, as it doesn’t require such strict adherence. And you can still lose weight with dirty fasting without being so hungry and miserable the entire time.

dirty fasting and clean fasting

Ultimately, the type of fasting best for you will depend on your individual goals and preferences.

Fasting purists are very strict with only drinking water during their fasting periods. But for most, it’s too hard going without any beverages such as coffee, tea, sparkling water, and coffee creamers.

Technically you’re not even supposed to chew sugar-free gum while intermittent fasting. It’s believed by fasting purists that an artificial sweetener can still activate insulin secretion by triggering sweet taste receptors (1).

Lemon water or diet soda aren’t even allowed during a clean fast. Any xenobiotic that is foreign to the body can technically break your clean fast (2).

Yet, with a dirty fast, you can still get results without making yourself miserable the entire fast. Now let’s look into the benefits of dirty fasting

Benefits of Dirty Fasting

Intermittent fasting, whether clean or dirty, will still give you plenty of health benefits. A pure water fast with clean fasting will provide you with the best overall results since you’ll only be drinking water.

But a dirty fast, for many, makes it easier to get through your fasting window and will still produce many results you’d get with a clean fast.

A “50-calorie rule” allows some leeway when dirty fasting. This will enable you to add a small amount of sugar-free sweetener or creamer to your coffee.

If it makes it easier to keep fasting, you’ll get better results in the long run, as opposed to if you stopped altogether or shortened your fast because it was too hard.

Here are the benefits you can expect from dirty fasting:

Weight Loss: If losing weight is your main goal with intermittent fasting, you’ll get results with clean and dirty fasting. Weight loss is primarily achieved with calorie restriction, macronutrient regulation, and fat burning (3).

With clean and dirty fasting, you’ll be keeping your calorie intake to a near zero calorie intake the entire time, promoting weight and fat loss. You’ll also be improving insulin levels and resistance with intermittent fasting (2). This is key to lowering your weight and body fat.

Mental Clarity: You’ll get more mental clarity and focus with intermittent fasting by giving your digestive system a rest and balancing out your hormones. Blood sugar and insulin spikes can mess with your mental state causing you to feel more brain fog.

After eating something, your blood moves towards your gut to aid digestion, which takes away from your brain. Also, if your gut is busy digesting food, it’ll free up energy for mental clarity and focus.

Energy Boost: Many mistake that they’ll have decreased energy levels from fasting since they won’t eat any food. The truth is, your body won’t be going through the blood glucose spikes, which then cause an energy crash. Instead, your body is now burning through your liver glycogen for fuel in the form of ketones.

These ketones fuel your brain and your body giving you an energy boost. That’s another reason to add C8-MCTs to your coffee during your fast. Your liver quickly converts them into ketones, helping flip the “metabolic switch” for fat burning (4).

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Gut Health: Giving your digestive system a break with intermittent fasting will allow time for your gut to heal and strengthen. When you’re constantly eating, your gut doesn’t have a chance to recover as it’s busy digesting your food.

Your good bacteria will also increase, improving the overall gut microbiome (5). 70% of your immune system is in your gut, so you’ll also have strengthened your body’s defenses (6).

Anti-aging: One of the reasons it helps with anti-aging is by regulating your hormones. When you’re constantly eating, your blood sugar and insulin levels are spiking, leading to an early onset of diabetes and other age-related diseases.

But by fasting, you’re allowing your hormones to balance out and lowering the risk of these age-related diseases. Keeping your insulin levels low and stable is the key to healthy aging.

The more insulin resistance and spikes you put your body through, the faster it’ll cause it to age. Elevated insulin is directly linked to your tissues aging faster, so it’s key to regulating your insulin levels (7).

Lastly, intermittent fasting helps fight aging by reducing inflammation in the body. Fasting helps to reduce inflammation by decreasing the number of cytokines in your system (8). Cytokines are inflammatory markers that can increase when you’re constantly eating.

Success with Dirty Fasting

Can you lose weight with dirty fasting?

The good news is you can still get great results with dirty intermittent fasting. One of the reasons why intermittent fasting works for losing weight is calorie reduction. So if weight loss is your goal, then you’ll get results since you’ll still be reducing calories even with dirty intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting also works for weight loss since it promotes burning body fat stores for fuel. During your fasting window, you’ll be keeping any calories, sugars, and carbohydrates to a bare minimum, even with dirty intermittent fasting.

Keeping your insulin response and blood sugar levels at their lowest point possible is the key to intermittent fasting. So this leaves room to have a bare minimum amount of calories when practicing dirty fasting, and you can still lose weight.

Then if you work out while fasting, you can get even better results. For example, if you’re in a fasted state, your body will burn through glycogen stores and then your body fat. So if you exercise during your fast, you’ll start burning even more fat than you usually would.

So yes, you can have weight loss doing a dirty fast. Just be sure to limit your number of calories, sugars, and bad carbohydrates the rest of the day too.

Many make the mistake of eating whatever they want during their eating window. But you can quickly go off the rails and end up undoing all the progress you’ve made during your fasting period.

Cons of Dirty Fasting

The biggest disadvantage of dirty fasting is the decrease in autophagy. Autophagy helps fight aging by clearing out old problematic cells and improving your cells’ ability to regenerate.

When you’re constantly eating, your cells are in a fed state where they don’t need to regenerate as they’re getting energy from food.

But when you fast, your cells go into autophagy which is a starved state where they start to regenerate and repair themselves (9). This is one of the reasons intermittent fasting has been shown to reverse signs of aging.

Fasting experts agree that a pure water fast is necessary to maximize autophagy. About 18 hours into your fast, autophagy starts to kick in.

Most aren’t fasting that long to begin with, and consuming anything other than water during your fast can turn off (or at the very least decrease) autophagy.

Exercise is one of the best ways to increase autophagy (10)… This is another reason to consider working out during your fasting hours. Even if you’re doing a dirty fast, you may still be able to increase autophagy by exercising when you’re fasting despite not doing a 100% pure water fast.

Which type of fasting should you do?

If you’re looking to maximize your results, a strict and pure water fast is best.

You’ll be guaranteed to lose the most weight since you know nothing other than water has entered your body during your fasting period. You’ll also have more autophagy, especially when doing a more extended fast of 18+ hours.

But you can lose weight with dirty fasting if that’s your goal. Intermittent fasting isn’t like an on/off light switch, and there is some gray area in between. Your body will still be burning fat, and you’ll still be cutting calories doing dirty intermittent fasting.

Some fasting beverages such as coffee and green tea can even accelerate fat loss. Both contain caffeine which is a natural thermogenic that boosts your metabolism (11). They also contain antioxidants and polyphenols, which are beneficial to slow aging.

You can even add some C8-MCTs to your black coffee to encourage your body to start burning through your fat stores for fuel. Your body makes ketones from your fat when it runs out of food. C8-MCTs are quickly converted to ketones in your liver, helping to flip the “metabolic switch” to start burning your body fat for fuel.

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The best fasting method is the one you can keep doing without breaking it. Most people prefer dirty fasting because it’s a lot easier to make it through your fast by allowing some non-calorie beverages like coffee and green tea. But I would stay away from having Bulletproof Coffee even in a dirty fast.

Sure, a 100% pure water fast will surely give you the best results possible. But if a pure water fast is too hard for you, then what’s the point of suffering and making yourself miserable? In my experience, it’s only a matter of time before you give up clean fasting altogether.

But if you can stick with the dirty fasting, then you’ll clearly get better results in the long run. You’ll still be able to lose weight and get a lot of the benefits of intermittent fasting while making it more sustainable in the long run.

Creating a lifestyle around intermittent fasting will be much easier with dirty fasting. And you’ll still end up winning and getting results in the long run. But if you have the strength and determination for a pure water fasting, you’ll know you’ll get the maximum benefits possible.