By Claire

February 27, 2020

Are you looking for another way to live a healthier life without riding a roller-coaster of fad diets that don’t work? You’re not alone. More people are looking for a safe way to lose weight, improve their overall health, and live a simpler lifestyle – even find mental and spiritual balance.  

How to manage 24-hour fasting? To start, drink 2-3 cups of water or 1-2 cups of green tea throughout the day, and at least every few hours. You should find things to do to distract from thinking about food, such as taking a drive. At the end of the day, eat a small, well-balanced, and nutrient-dense meal to break your fast.




8 AM: Drink 2-3 cups of water or 1-2 cups of green tea

12 PM: Drink 2-3 cups of water or 1-2 cups of green tea

3 PM: Drink 2-3 cups of water or 1-2 cups of green tea

Find activities to distract yourself such as yoga, meditation, reading, watching a movie

7 PM: Drink 2-3 cups of water

Eat a meal of carbs and lean protein

Eat slowly and small portions only

Getting through a 24-hour fast isn’t easy. But if you have a plan to follow and some activities planned to help distract yourself from the thought of eating, you will have a much higher chance of success.

In this guide, we’ll look at how a 24-hour fast works and explore intermittent fasting and examine sample plans.

Is 24-Hour Fasting Just a Fad?

Actually, the practice of fasting originated with religious groups, and ancient philosophers like Socrates and Plato took part in the practice. It’s true; check out this article.  That’s why many who engage in regular fasting, are adamant that it not be confused with diets.

The Health Research Funding organization says a fad diet is something Americans try four times a year, and within two weeks, 25% of them give up on their weight loss goals.

They also said that 65% of people who successfully complete a fad diet end up gaining the weight back and that more than 95% of people relapse from a diet in 5 years or less.

fasting weight loss

Those who engage in regular or intermittent fasting, however, swear by it and stand by its many proposed health benefits.

24-Hour Fasting Benefits

Once you finish eating and your body begins to digest food, your stomach breaks down carbohydrates into sugar that cells use for energy. If your cells don’t use all the glucose, your body stored it as fat. Hence, when you fast, your cells use fat for fuel instead of stored glucose, which helps with fat loss.

During a fast, your body releases ketones into your bloodstream, and it plays a role in weight loss and brain function.

Ketones then trigger the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which helps with memory and learning and the growth of new nerve cells. Further, additional benefits of fasting include:

  • Burns stored fat and sugar
  • Human Growth Hormone (HGH) levels increase, aiding fat loss and resistance from chronic disease
  • Changes in gene expression occur and are related to protecting the body against disease
  • Insulin levels lower substantially
  • Cells initiate waste removal, eliminating damaged cells 
Fasting Schedule

The Benefits of 24-hour Fasting

24-hour fasting is part of what many people refer to as Intermittent Fasting (IF). In addition to the list above, proponents of intermittent fasting – including 24-hour fasts – say it promotes the following changes in the body: 

  • Resistance to aging
  • Reduces inflammation markers
  • Promotes a stronger immune system
  • Aids with weight loss
  • Improves sleep
  • Improves digestion
  • Normalizes hunger hormone
  • Improves cognitive function
  • Promotes new brain cell growth
  • Boosts your mood
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Lowers triglyceride levels
  • Decreases bad cholesterol
  • Increases HDL (good cholesterol)
  • Improved heart variability
  • nutrition meal

    24-Hour Fasting: A Step-by-step Guide with Cheat Sheet

    Although there are multiple benefits of 24-hour fasting, you should proceed with caution. If you take medications or suffer from chronic conditions, please consult with your physician before beginning any fitness or dietary program. Let’s look at precisely what a 24-hour fast entails.

    1. Fasting for a Day

    First, ask yourself: why am I fasting? Are you doing it for detox purposes, or is it spiritual? Are you doing it to lose weight? If you are, the IF 24-hour fasting plan starts at early as 72-24 hours before your actual fast.


    • Slowly drink at least 2 liters of water the day before or at much as 72 hours beforehand. Water is essential because it helps maintain body temperature, aids in digestion, circulate blood, and assist with the absorption and transportation of nutrients. If water alone is too much, other liquids, including Gatorade, tea, and juice, will suffice.
    • 7 PM: Eat your last pre-fast meal and drink 2-3 cups of water: Eat a well-balanced meal packed with nutrient-dense produce to help fuel your body during fasting. Don’t overeat either, instead consume a few smaller meals. Seek out water-based fruits and vegetables and avoid fast foods, baked products, and foods loaded with excess sugar and salt.

    Note: some experts recommend eating a small number of calories the morning of your fast, as this activates your metabolism and ensures your body burns stored fats. However, with this IF version, you eat the night before.

    detox water good


    8 AM

    Drink 2-3 cups of water or 1-2 cups of green tea

    12 PM

    Drink 2-3 cups of water or 1-2 cups of green tea

    3 PM

    Drink 2-3 cups of water or 1-2 cups of green tea

    7 PM

    Eat a small dinner packed with carbohydrates and lean protein, and drink 2-3 cups of water

    7 AM Next Day

    Return to your regular eating habits

    Tips for the 24-hour Fast

    • Water is an excellent option as it fills you up, dilutes stomach acids, and can restore energy. Green tea also acts as an appetite suppressant.
    • Find things to keep your mind occupied throughout the day. Some people do yoga, watch television, go driving, or read. Avoid heavy exercise and high-energy activities such as lifting weights or jogging.
    • When it is time to return to your regular eating habits, avoid overeating and junk foods instead eat another healthy, well-balanced meal filled with nutrient-dense produce. Eat only half of what you typically do, and focus on fruits, vegetables, soups, water, and juices.

    For example, you might choose to start the day with an apple and glass of water, and 30 to 45 minutes later, have a bowl of soup and orange juice. Space meals out and stick to small portions.

    Fasting differs from starvation in one crucial way: control. Starvation is the involuntary absence of food for a long time…Fasting, on the other hand, is the voluntary withholding of food for spiritual, health, or other reasons

    -- ​Dr. Jason Fung, MD at Diet Doctor 

    24 hour fasting guide

    Fasting for a Day: A Modified Version

    If you suffer from prediabetes, type 1 or type 2 diabetes, and fasting for a day will increase your risk for hypoglycemia, you still have options. Even if you have other ailments and need to eat, you can follow a modified version of the IF regime.

    With the modified variation, you may consume between 100-200 calories at lunch. The pre-fast steps the day before your fast also apply to this amended version.

    Day Before the Fast

    7 PM: Eat your last pre-fast meal and drink 2-3 cups of water

    8 AM

    Drink 2-3 cups of water or 1-2 cups of vegetable tea

    12 PM

    Drink 2-3 cups of water or 1-2 cups of green tea

    3 PM

    Drink 2-3 cups of water OR 100-200 calorie meal options, including

    • 1 cup of vegetable juice (8 oz.)
    • 1-2 pieces of fruits* (banana, apple, pear, orange)
    • 1-2 servings of vegetables (cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, brussels sprouts)
    • 8-10 Nuts (cashews, walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts)
    • A small bowl of salad containing one serving of vegetables (and a salad base combination of cabbage, spinach, lettuce, arugula, kale)

    *Those with diabetes should check with their doctors to determine which natural sugars are acceptable to consume.

    7 PM

    End fast by eating a small meal consisting of carbohydrates and lean protein, and drink 2-3 cups of water.

    7 AM Next Day

    Return to your regular eating habits. Recommendations from Day Two, Step 1, are the same for this version.

    Here’s what the modified 24-hour fasting would like at a glance:




    8 AM: Drink 2-3 cups of water or one cup of vegetable juice

    12 PM: Drink 2-3 cups of water or 1-2 cups of green tea

    3 PM: Drink 2-3 cups of water 


    100-200 calorie meal:

    1-2 servings vegetable

    8 oz. vegetable juice

    1-2 pieces of fruit

    8-10 nuts

    Small bowl of salad

    7 PM: Drink 2-3 cups of water and a small meal of carbs, lean protein

    Eat slowly and small portions

    (Source: Intermittent Fasting Explained by Cyrus Khambatta, Ph.D., of Mango Man Nutrition and Fitness)

    Variations of Intermittent Fasting

    Intermittent fasting can include different variations of the 24-hour fast, as well as eating and fasting on alternating days. The chart below illustrates different versions of intermittent fasting and explains how the schedule for each one works.

    How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

    Variations of Intermittent Fasting

    Types of Intermittent Fasting

    Actions to Take

    16/8 Fasting:

    • Stop eating at 8pm
    • Start eating again at noon the following day
    • You may eat 2-3 meals during the 8-hour window

    20/4 (Warrior Diet):

    • Fast for 20 hours (may eat a few fruits and vegetables)
    • Eat during 4-hour window

    5:2 Fasting:

    • Eat for five days at you usually would
    • For two non-consecutive days only eat 400-600 calories or less

    Every Other Day Fasting

    • No eating on this day but if you must, only eat 500 calories or less
    • Other variations, eat less than 1000 calories

    Whole-Day Fasting 


    • Fast for 24 hours each week

    Intermittent fasting (IF) consists of whole-day fasting, alternate-day fasting, and time-restricted eating windows, and have become popular over the last few years.

    The regimen cycles through periods of normal eating, fasting, and regulated eating.

    There are variations with each version, and the timeframe and number of calories also differ. Here’s a complete break down of the categories and the type of plans they contain.

    1. Whole-Day Fasting

    The whole day fasting version is where you fast for 1-2 days per week. After you do the full fast for 24-hours, there are no food restrictions for the rest of the week. This is the Eat-Stop-Eat method.

    2. Alternate-Day Fasting

    Alternate fasting involves going back and forth between the days when you eat and when you eat far less, or next to nothing.

    For example, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday could be your fasting days, and on alternate days, you’ll have no food restrictions. This is the every-other-day fasting method.

    There are variations where (during fast days) you eat 500 calories or less, or where you eat 25-percent of your daily calorie needs (which if you’re on a 2,000-calorie diet, is equivalent to 500 calories). On non-fast days, you eat more than your usual food intake (feast days). 

    Modified Fasting: For two non-consecutive days a week, you eat 25-percent of your daily calorie needs or 400-600 calories. This is the 5:2 diet where there are no food restrictions for five days, but then you cycle through two restricted-calorie days per week.

    Intermittent Fasting Schedule

    3. Time-Restricted Fasting Methods

    This involves following a meal plan each day during a designated timeframe. You eat at certain times and fast for the rest. You only restrict food within this specific window, and fast between 12-16 hours.

    16/8 Method: The most popular version of the time-restricted approaches, where you eat for 8 hours and fast for 16 hours. You eat as many (healthy) meals during the time as you wish and can drink water, coffee, and tea to curb your hunger.

    The Warrior Diet: Another version of the time-restricted eating module, is the 20/4 method, also known as the Warrior Diet. This is where you fast for 20 hours and eat for 4 hours only. You’re allowed to eat vegetables, fruits, and nuts during the 20-hour window, and have a large dinner at night.

    Some proponents recommend the full 20-hour fasting without eating but say you should eat three full meals within the compressed timeframe.




    • Every other day fasting

    • 16/8, e.g., eat from 8 am – 4 pm, fast for 16
    • 5:2 fast on two different days with 400-600 calories
    • 20/4 Warrior Diet: 20-hour fast with some fruits and vegetables 
    • Eat, stop, eat: 24-hour fast for 1-2 days a week

    1. Body cleans waste from cells more efficiently

    2. Resistance to aging

    4. Reduces Inflammation

    5. Builds a stronger immune system

    6. Promotes weight loss

    7. Improves sleep

    8. Balances blood sugar

    9. Improves digestion

    10. Promotes new brain cell growth

    14. Normalizes hunger hormones

    15. Reduces bad (LDL) cholesterol

    16. Promotes heart health

    17. May prevent cancer

    18. Boosts human growth hormone (HGH)

    Source: Adopted in part from “How to Intermittent Fast” by Jené Dupré of

    Isn’t Intermittent Fasting Just Another Fad Diet?

    Proponents of IF say it’s a lifestyle and not a diet. It doesn’t restrict what you eat, and in a sense, isn’t considered conventional dieting because of the eating patterns.

    Yet, fasting and dieting follow a similar path in why people want to watch what they eat – from losing weight to managing chronic conditions.

    heart food

    The connection between them is similar: people want to live a healthier, more well-balanced life, and in search of that, may resort to whatever the newest trends are. The problem is that the weight gain usually occurs once it's over because of nutritional deficiencies in the diet itself.

    The other problem: the choice of foods we eat. In fact, 90% of the population eat more sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet, and most adults consume an average of 3,400 mg/day of sodium, which is above the guideline of 2,300 mg or less daily.

    The Department of Health also says that 86% of fad dieters are looking to cut down on foods that are high in sugar, and another 85% are looking for help in eating smaller portions of their favorite foods.

    why people diet chart

    That's why, across the spectrum, many are turning to IF for results. Intermittent fasting doesn’t deprive you of food or nutrients, and fasting can become a life-long practice. This kind of fasting does three things:

  • Encourages healthy eating habits and some versions allow you to indulge on certain days
  • It's packed with nutrient-dense foods and promotes a well-rounded and balanced diet
  • It helps you to learn “food discipline” and how to abstain without deprivation
  • It does all of this while potentially tapping into the spiritual aspect of fasting. In fact, many religions use fasting as a means of spiritual clarity, including Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam.

    Is Intermittent Fasting Safe for Anyone?

    It is worth mentioning again for safety reasons that if you suffer from a chronic illness, you should talk to your physician before adopting any of the IF plans.

    The three top issues of IF are as follows:

  • Hunger to the point of lightheadedness
  • The inability to fast for a day
  • Overeating after coming off a 24-hour fast.
  • headache sick detox

    In fact, in one randomized controlled trial that followed 100 individuals over 12 months (Trepanowski et al., 2017), the dropout rate of participants was higher in the alternate-day fasting group, possibly because it was too challenging.

    Their plan may not be suitable for people with these conditions and more:

    • Diabetes
    • Problems with blood sugar regulation
    • Low blood pressure
    • Taking medications that require food intake
    • Active growth stages such as adolescents and children
    • Underweight
    • History of eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia nervosa)
    • Trying to conceive, pregnant or breastfeeding
    • History of amenorrhea
    • Suffering from chronic fatigue
    • Hormonal imbalance

    Sample Regimens for 24-hour Fasting Plans

    To determine which plan works best for your circumstances and goals, a closer look at each plan and what it entails is warranted.

    Here are a few sample regimes to choose from if you’ve ever wondered about what to do.

    The 16/8 Fasting Meal Plan

    The 16/8 method involves skipping breakfast and restricting eating to 8 hours, so you can eat from noon-8 pm and fast for the next 16 hours.

    If you usually skip breakfast, this will be the easiest method. Another example is to stop eating at 9 pm and start again at 1 pm the following day.

    During that 8-hour window is when you may eat 2-3 meals (coffee, tea, and water are allowed during fasting hours).

    If you’re new to IF, it's recommended that you start with the 16/8. Your 8-hour eating window can be 9 am-5 pm, or 10-am-6pm, or 11 am-7 pm. You can always experiment with different timeslots to see which one fits your biology, schedule, and lifestyle.

    16/8 Fasting Schedule

    • 7:00 AM - wake up
    • 7:30 AM - drink lemon water
    • Skip breakfast
    • 12:00 PM – have lunch
    • 3:00 PM – have a snack
    • 8:00 PM- have dinner
    • 9:00 PM – fasting begins
    • Fast for 16 hours
    body cleanse diet

    Ideas for Meal Options During the 16/8 Fasting Plan

    Meal options can be customized to your taste and schedule as long as you don’t overeat after fasting and don’t eat junk food. Here’s a sample menu by Misato Alexandre of Fitwirr.

    Meal #1


    Meal #2


    Sprouts, Chicken, Quinoa Buddha Bowl

    Greek Yogurt

    Teriyaki Chicken with Cauliflower Rice


    Avocado Chicken Salad

    Handful of Nuts

    Macadamia Basil Pesto Pasta


    Vegan Chickpea Salad

    Fruit of Your Choice

    Mexican Tempeh Quinoa Salad


    Tuna Avocado Salad Wrap

    Hummus and Raw Veggie Sticks

    Asian Fried "Noodles"


    Broccoli Tofu Salad

    Piece of Dark Chocolate

    Salmon Kale Salad


    Turkey Chili

    Organic Edamame

    Grilled Chicken Salad


    Grilled Salmon Salad

    Dark Chocolate Bark

    Chicken Tortilla Soup

    Source: 16/8 Intermittent Fasting Plan from Fitwirr

    The 5:2 Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan

    With the 5:2 method, you eat 400-600 calories (though some sources say its 500 calories or less). You do this on two non-consecutive days and eat normally the rest of the week. It simple, but you may be fatigued on those low-calorie days.  

    As you can see from the two-day menu, 500 calories aren’t much, that’s why it's on different days.





    DAY 1

    Greek Yogurt with Almonds and Sultanas

    (94 Calories)

    Potatoes and Shoots


    (170 Calories)

    Two Satsumas

    (42 Calories)

    Chicken Vegetable Chow Mein

    (170 Calories)





    DAY 2

    Spinach Omelet

    (94 Calories)

    Chicken Miso Soup

    (132 Calories)

    Snack #1: Pure Fruit Gummies

    (27 Calories)

    Moroccan Root Tagine with Couscous

    (238 Calories)

    vege broth

    The Warrior Diet or 20/4 Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan

    The 20/4 IF version is also known as the Warrior Diet and consists of eating for 4 hours and fasting for 20. Here is one sample courtesy of Healthy Happy Warriors.

    It is a bit more complicated than other variations, but it incorporates a good detox phase for beginners.

    Week one is detox, where you eat “clean” foods to prepare your body. Even on the high fat and fat loss weeks of the plan, starches and grains may change, but the idea is the same.

    There may be other variations of the 20/4, but this is the original from the author, Ori Hofmekler, and it can change how you look at food and promote mindful eating.


    (undereating period)


    (overeating period)


    Broth, Vegetable Juice, Raw Fruits, Vegetables,Protein, Dairy, Hard-boiled Eggs

    Salad, Oils, Beans, Whole Grains, Vegetables, Cheese, Water, Coffee, Tea


    Broth, Vegetable Juice, Raw Fruits, Vegetables, Protein, Dairy, Hard-boiled Eggs

    Salad, Oils, Beans, Lean Protein, Vegetables, Nuts, Water, Coffee, Tea


    Days alternate between high protein-low carb and high carbs meals for each category

    For example:High Carb Day:1-2 days then switch to a high protein/low carbs for 1-2 days and alternate for a week


    (undereating period)


    (overeating period)


    Broth, Vegetable Juice, Raw Fruits, Protein, Dairy, Hard-boiled Eggs

    Salad, Oils, one Carb (pasta, corn, oats), Vegetables, Lean Protein, Water, Coffee, Tea


    Broth, Vegetable Juice, Raw Fruits, Protein and Vegetable Juice, Dairy, Hard-boiled Eggs

    Salad, Oils, Non-Starchy Vegetables, Vegetables, Lean Protein, Water, Coffee, Tea


    You may cycle through the first three phases again, starting over from the beginning

    However, it might be too much for some people. Just doing it occasionally might work best for many.

    detox no trans fat

    The foods you should avoid with the Warrior Diet include preservatives and foods with added sugars and sweeteners, including the following:

    • Fast foods and fried foods
    • Processed meats like bacon and lunch meat
    • Refined carbohydrates
    • Candy, cookies, cakes, chips, crackers, and canned fruits
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Sweet drinks like fruit juice and soda
    • Meal Options for the Warrior Diet
    If you need more ideas on what your options are, here’s a detailed view of the different eating phases. Remember to eat smaller portions during the undereating phase.


    Undereating Phrase

    Overeating Phrase


    Hard-boiled Eggs, Poached Eggs

    Chicken, Turkey, Steak, Fish, Eggs


    Chicken or Beef Broth




    Pasta, Bread, Barley, Oats, Quinoa


    Milk, Cottage Cheese, and Yogurt

    Milk, Cheese, Yogurt



    Potatoes, Corn, Sweet Potatoes, Beans


    RAW: Carrots, Peppers, Mushrooms, Greens, Onions

    COOKED: Cauliflower, Greens, Zucchini, Brussels Sprouts


    Vegetable Juice (Beets, Carrot, Celery)



    Bananas, Apples, Peaches, Pineapples, Mangoes, Kiwi


    Fats and Oils

    Olive Oil, Nuts, Apple Cider Vinegar

    Olive Oil, Nuts


    Water, Coffee, Tea, Sparkling Water

    Water, Tea, Coffee

    Source: Warrior Diet: 20/4 Intermittent Fasting Plan  and based on “The Warrior Diet” by Ori Hofmekler

    Whole Day and Every Other Day Fasting

    • The whole day or 24-hour fasting plan (introduced in the beginning), involves completing a fast for 1-2 days during the week. There isn’t a need for menus or meal plans other than what was mentioned in the modified version.
    • In the basic alternate or every other day fasting plan, a detailed menu plan or meals aren’t required (remember, the modified version where you eat is the 5:2 plan). You can either fashion your meals around the other menus we reviewed or create your own.
    meal plan fast detox

    A Word of Caution about 24-hour and Intermittent Fasting

    It’s a fact that some of these IF plans are more advanced and not recommended for everyone.

    Further, even the author of Healthy Happy Warriors says, “there is little scientific evidence to back up the validity of this [warrior diet].” 

    Yet, there are doctors, professors, health gurus, and studies published either claiming IF is safe, or that it is as effective (if not more) than regular reduced-calorie diets.

    Still, while IF has its benefits, it is still controversial in many circles. First, the original studies on IF were conducted on rats (and were short-term small-scale studies).

    Of the studies that were done, (Trepanowski et al., 2017) found “no significant differences” in fasting glucose and fasting insulin but saw a significant increase in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. However, a meta-analysis (Ganesen et al., 2018) of four other IF studies noticed a decrease in LDL cholesterol.

    Any diet must be sustainable. The best diets are those a patient can maintain. People are often looking for this one magical something that is going to work, and the point is, there’s no one right diet for everyone.”

    -- Alisa Scherban, Yale Health Nutritionist

    Thus, many scientists say there aren’t enough high-quality human studies to conclusively claim similar benefits in people. The Harvard School of Public Health adds that it is unclear if intermittent fasting is superior to other weight loss methods for losing weight and decreasing appetite (for example).

    According to Valerie Pavilonis of the Yale Daily News, the Clinical Director of the Yale Metabolic Health and Weight Loss Program, Artur Vargas Viana, wholeheartedly agrees that “further research is necessary to make any definite conclusion about the fad.”

    Hence, the consensus among many experts is that additional quality, randomized controlled trials, in more significant numbers, need to be conducted to determine the direct effect and benefits.

    fasting benefit


    While there aren’t any quality studies of 24-hour and intermittent fasting in humans (yet), it might be too early to know the long-term effects. But one thing is certain: 24-hour fasting doesn’t negate the fundamentals of a healthy diet.

    That is, consuming a diet filled with a wide variety of wholesome fresh foods, in portion-controlled quantities, and with reduced use of saturated fats and processed foods, holds true.

    You’ve seen a step-by-step guide to 24-hour fasting, examined the tenets of different 24-hour and IF plans, and reviewed sample regimens. None of it rejects the thesis of a balanced diet.

    Further, if used safely in conjunction with daily exercise, and if incorporated into a healthy daily diet, “intermittent” fasting can be beneficial. You have the facts. Now, you decide if it will work for you. 


    About the author

    I created this site to share my knowledge of natural remedies and ingredients because I am a big believer in an organic lifestyle.
    Our body is strong enough to rid toxins and maintain a balanced ecosystem by itself as long as we treat it smartly.
    Note that I’m not just talking about food and exercises, I also aim to help you gain a healthy mindset – a mindset that will lead you to a positive and resilient life.

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