Fasting After Overeating, Does it Work?

Fasting has become a lifestyle trend that is gaining popularity as an attempt to mitigate the effects of overeating or indulging on unhealthy food. The question many people ask remains: Does fasting after a binge help?

Understanding Binge Eating and Fasting

Binge eating is a common eating disorder characterized by repetitive episodes of consuming large quantities of food, often very quickly and to the point of discomfort. The individuals experiencing this might feel a loss of control during the binge and experience guilt or distress afterward.

Fasting, on the other hand, is an intentional act of refraining from all or some kinds of food and drinks for a specific period of time. Some people practice fasting for religious or health reasons, while others use it as a way to manage their weight or digestive health.

The Science Behind Fasting

Fasting can exercise many physiological changes, including reduced insulin levels, increased human growth hormone (HGH) levels, increased cell repair process, and changes in gene expression. These effects could potentially aid in weight loss and improve health. Fasting, however, should be done in moderation and under proper medical supervision, especially if you have an underlying medical condition.

Does Fasting Help in Undoing Binge Eating?

The answer to this question is not straightforward. While fasting may seem like a convenient way to "reset" after eating more than intended, it's important to understand that this approach can potentially lead to an unhealthy cycle of extreme eating behaviours.

Binge eating is often followed by feelings of guilt and remorse. To compensate for these feelings, people may consider fasting as a means to negate the impact of overeating. Studies show that this approach can inadvertently endorse an unhealthy relationship with food – one based on revenge and punishment, leading to further episodes of binge eating, a phenomenon often referred to as the 'binge-purge' cycle.

Build a Healthy Relationship with Food

Instead of fasting after a binge, consider responding to overeating by building a healthier relationship with food. Aim for balanced, consistently nutritious meals that nourish your body and mind. Encourage yourself towards mindful eating – paying close attention to physical hunger cues and eating in moderation.


While fasting has numerous health benefits, utilizing it as a way to compensate for binge eating can turn into an unhealthy cycle and promote a negative relationship with food. If you find yourself stuck in this recurring pattern, consider seeking professional help. Remember, maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle, rather than extreme measures to correct short-term errors, is the key to long-term health.

Learn more about a healthy relationship with food and check out "What is Food Fomo?"

Fasting but still want something to drink? Check out: "Does Apple Cider Vinegar Break a Fast?"