The water station, also promoted by local celebrities, more dangerous than one might think. “Avoid it at all costs”

Social media and influencers are never short of recommending different diet trends, and right now water fasting is very popular.

Damian Drăghici chose to observe black fasting PHOTO Collage Instagram

The water station is promoted in the Romanian space by Damian Drăghici, Elwira Petre and the actor Marius Manole.

Damian Drăghici announced on social networks that he kept a black fast for 7 days and lost 5.5 kilograms, consuming only water.

The artist shared every stage of this transformation on Instagram, keeping his followers up to date with every food choice, as well as his body's reactions.

He pointed out that he feels more energetic and better than ever, despite total abstinence from meat, eggs and milk.

The dancer Elwira Petre also told about her experience with black fasting for 72 hours, talking about the regeneration benefits. And the actor Marius Manole announced a similar attempt.

What studies and doctors say about this idea

Research on water fasting is limited, and what does exist suggests that—unsurprisingly—people often lose weight by doing it, but it can put you at risk of potentially harmful side effects.

You might be thinking, hey, it's just water, how bad could it be? MH advisor Robert Glatter, MD, professor of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital Northwell Health, puts it this way: “Having worked in the emergency department for over two decades caring for people who have resorted to water fasting, my advice is simple: avoid it at all costs. It's simply not worth the associated risks and you- could cost lives,” write

The risks are sort of the fine print on some drug ads, in that there's a lot to consider. It can affect many organs, including the brain, heart and liver. May be “just” water, but it can be strong, especially in excess.

The dangers of drinking too much water

“Water fasting is not a good idea for most people, especially for an extended period of time. If someone is not eating solid food, they will feel hungry and may drink more and more water to reach a certain level of satiety.” says Farhad Modarai, MD, clinical director of population health at Strive Health in Denver, specializing in kidney care.

“This can be very dangerous because hyponatremia, or dangerously low levels of sodium in the blood, can occur.”

A low serum sodium level, explains Dr. Glatter, “it can lead to seizures as well as brain swelling, brain herniation and ultimately death if not recognized and treated urgently. Low potassium in the blood, another risk of water fasting, could adversely affect nerve, muscle and heart function.”. Low levels of calcium and magnesium in the blood can also happen, which is dangerous because these electrolytes are vital for nerve and muscle function.

Dr. Modarai also points out that drinking large amounts of water in short periods of time can also overload the kidneys and cause the cells to swell. If you're fasting and drinking only water, you may blame symptoms like headaches, nausea, weakness and fatigue on hunger, but it could actually be a life-threatening problem if left untreated, he says.

Some of the claims about water fasting specifically revolve around the idea that fasting can induce autophagy, your body's natural process of cellular cleansing and elimination of damaged cells. There is limited evidence, often from animal studies, that short-term fasting can increase autophagy, but there is no published human research showing that water fasting is a safe or effective way to induce it.

What is water fasting?

In short, a water fast is a water-only diet lasting two or more days.

Fasting itself is by no means a new idea. People have incorporated fasting into their lives for thousands of years, often as part of religious traditions. In the mid-1800s, a few doctors began experimenting with fasting for health reasons, and this continued into the 20th century, with a small revival in the 1960s.

Today on TikTok, you can find all sorts of pseudo-experts promoting the benefits of water fasting. Often the goal is weight loss or another health benefit, such as a reduction in cancer risk or an improvement in type two diabetes or high blood pressure. As with any health advice, check where it's coming from. Influencers often lack the credentials to comment on health effects.

How to fast with water

There are no hard and fast rules for a water fast, mostly because there isn't enough research to establish safety guidelines. It's worth noting that a water fast is not the same as a liquid diet.

There is not much published scientific data on this,” says Krista Varady, PhD in nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In the research studies that do exist on water fasting, the study participants (usually a small number of participants) are closely and constantly monitored by medical professionals during the fast, and are then followed and counseled accordingly which are reintroduced to regular food.

Water stops range from two to 41 days, with an average of about seven days. In some versions of the fast, participants are allowed a small amount of liquid foods, such as fruit juice and vegetable soup, each day.

As part of treatment, study participants may also be given complementary care, such as enemas to cleanse their bowels, as fasting disrupts their regular bowel schedule. Sometimes they stay at a spa and are encouraged to get massages. In other words, these guys don't usually sit at home fending for themselves.

In some controlled water fasting studies, participants drink between two and three liters per day, far more than the recommended daily water intake. While the participants were typically young and healthy with no underlying kidney disease, they nevertheless experienced multiple metabolic derangements that, if undetected, could lead to serious neurological complications, which, unrecognized, if untreated, can prove ultimately fatal,” says Dr. Glatter.

What are the risks of water fasting?

Research published in the journal BMC Complementary Medicine Therapies found that the most common adverse events of water fasting include:

Quality of life problems such as fatigue

Heart problems such as high blood pressure

Musculoskeletal problems such as arthritis

Gastrointestinal problems such as colitis, gastritis and constipation

Endocrine problems, such as thyroid problems or diabetes

Neurological problems such as headaches, neuropathy and dizziness

Urological and renal problems

Psychiatric problems such as depression and anxiety

Lung problems such as inflammation, difficulty breathing and infections

Two people in the studies reviewed required hospitalisation, one with severe dehydration and another with dangerously low sodium levels.

In a recent study of middle-aged men in Poland who did an eight-day water fast, the patients lost weight and perceived a reduction in stress, but their bodies suffered some negative consequences, including dehydration, low sodium levels, low blood sugar levels and an increase in uric acid in the blood.

The body needs electrolytes to keep sodium levels stable, and most of these electrolytes come from fruits and vegetables such as bananas, spinach and cantaloupe.” says Dr. Modarai.