The Complete Guide to Choosing the Right Fast for Your Goals

Fasting has become an increasingly popular way to improve health, lose weight, and enhance wellbeing. But with so many different types of fasting, how do you know which one is right for you?

In this article, we’ll break down the most common fasting protocols, the benefits of each, and help you determine which fast best aligns with your goals.

The Fasting Spectrum

Fasting can range from intermittent fasting on the shorter end to extended multi-day fasts on the longer end. Here’s an overview of the fasting spectrum and the benefits unlocked at each stage:

13-15 Hours – Intermittent Fasting

Going 13-15 hours without food is considered intermittent fasting. This means you condense your eating window down to 8-11 hours per day.


  • Increased growth hormone – Growth hormone helps burn fat and slows aging
  • Ketone production – Ketones provide energy, mental clarity, and appetite suppression
  • Overall healing and inflammation reduction

This style of fasting is great for general health, sustainable weight loss, and anti-aging.

17 Hours – Autophagy

After 17 hours of fasting, you start to stimulate a process called autophagy. Autophagy is your cells’ self-cleaning process, breaking down and recycling old components.


  • Cellular detoxification and repair
  • Beneficial for autoimmune conditions, cancer prevention, brain health

24 Hours – Gut Repair

At 24 hours of fasting, research shows intestinal stem cells start to regenerate. This can help heal leaky gut and improve gut microbiome balance.


  • Intestinal stem cell reboot
  • Increased GABA production (calming neurotransmitter)
  • More autophagy

Use 24 hour fasts for advanced gut healing and autoimmunity.

36 Hours – Unlocking Fat Stores

Once you hit 36 hours, you start forcing your body to unlock stubborn fat stores and burn excess glucose/insulin. This helps bust weight loss plateaus.


  • Forces body to burn stored glucose and fat
  • Boosts fat loss

Use periodic 36 hour fasts to get over weight loss stalls.

48 Hours – Dopamine Resets

Around 48 hours of fasting, you begin to reset dopamine receptors in the brain. This can increase mood and motivation.


  • Resets dopamine receptors
  • Increases antioxidant production
  • Enhances mood and motivation

72+ Hours – Stem Cell Production

Extended multi-day fasts of 72+ hours trigger stem cell production and immune system regeneration.


  • Stem cell production
  • Immune regeneration
  • Maximum anti-aging effects

Use these fasts occasionally for autoimmunity, injuries, disease prevention, and longevity.

Choose Your Fast Based on Your Goals

Now that you understand the different stages of fasting, you can choose the protocol that aligns with your goals:

For Weight Loss: Stick with intermittent fasting of 13-17 hours daily, and incorporate occasional 24-36 hour fasts to break plateaus.

For Autoimmunity: Use a mix of daily 17+ hour fasts along with 24-48 hour fasts several times per month.

For Gut Health: Implement consistent 24 hour fasts 1-2 times per week.

For Cellular Repair: Ramp up to longer fasts of 36-48 hours 1-2 times per month.

For Serious Diseases: Progress to extended multi-day fasts of 72+ hours under medical supervision.

For Anti-Aging: Regularly fast for at least 17 hours and work up to longer fasts of 24-36 hours.

For Brain Health: Maintain a daily 17 hour fast and do occasional 36-48 hour fasts.

Start Slow and Listen to Your Body

It’s important not to jump straight into longer fasts too quickly. Give your body time to adapt to shorter fasts before extending your duration. And always break a fast slowly with broth or easily digested foods.

Pay close attention to how you feel when fasting. If you experience low energy, dizziness, nausea, or other concerning symptoms, break your fast. Fasting should feel invigorating, not miserable.

Implement a Customized Fasting Lifestyle

Rather than random one-off fasts, most benefits come from a consistent fasting lifestyle tailored to your goals. Figure out which types of fasts work best for you and create a balanced weekly regimen.

Fasting is incredibly powerful when done strategically over the long-term. Be patient with yourself as you determine your ideal fasting protocol. And don’t become discouraged if you need to adjust your approach based on how you feel.

By understanding the phases of fasting and aligning them with your health objectives, you can harness the full healing potential of fasting. Use this guide as a starting point, listen to your body, and you’ll find a fasting lifestyle that works for you.

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