ADF Side Effect - You Keep Going, and Going, and Going...

Day 36, Fast Day #17

I am alive and still alternate day fasting. I have lacked the energy and focus to finish a blog post over the last few days due to a rough week of spring allergies. The uncharacteristically nice weather here in Seattle has seemingly caused every single plant in the region to blast the air with its pollen. Because all of these plants are trying to reproduce with my sinus cavity, I have been feeling like the living dead (minus the hunger for human flesh and brains). Sitting down and blogging with a fuzzy brain, runny nose, and ear and nose congestion has yielded about three partially-completed posts.

(If for some reason urination freaks you out, I recommend skipping the rest of this post.)

I am neither pregnant (yay) nor suffering from a urinary tract problem (yay), so I assume the recent increase in my peeing frequency is from alternate day fasting. Luckily, I spend a lot less time cooking and eating on this diet, freeing up my time to search for toilets.

It appears that a normal, healthy person urinates 6-8 times a day on average. I have been more in the 8-12 times a day range. I doubt I have a reduced-capacity bladder despite getting some flak about having a woman's "microbladder" in reference to me needing a pitstop at least once every road trip in the past. In fact, women and men's bladders are approximately the same size. It is the bladder positioning due to special lady organs that irritates a woman's bladder more often and creates the urge to urinate. Hence, the line for the women's restroom.

Whether I am fasting or feasting, I am likely thirsty. As a result, I have been drinking large amounts of water and herbal tea. It is obvious why I am peeing a lot. Consuming lots of water and water-filled foods is a common trick often used by dieters because water makes you feel full for zero calories. Research shows that increased water consumption may be an independent factor in women's weight loss as well. I too have been using water as a food substitute to wait out hunger pains on my fast days so I feel volume in my stomach without the calories.

One of the non-beverage ways I have been absorbing all of this water volume is through the produce I am eating. On my fast days, I have been packing in fruits and veggies for their volume and nutrition. Below are some of the fruits and veggies, with their respective water content, that I have been eating on fast days for reference:

Apple, 84% water, ~72 kcal (medium fruit)
Blueberries, 85% water, ~41 kcal (per 1/2 cup)
Carrots, 87% water, ~30 kcal (large carrot)
Orange, 87% water, ~65 kcal (medium fruit)
Broccoli, 91% water, ~30 kcal (1 cup)
Peppers, 92% water, ~60 kcal (1 bell pepper)
Spinach, 92% water, ~7 kcal (1 cup)
Strawberries, 92% water, ~46 kcal (1 cup)
Watermelon, 92% water, ~46 kcal, (1 cup)
Tomatoes, 94% water, ~35 kcal (medium fruit)
Celery, 95% water, ~9 kcal (long stalk)
Cucumber, 96% water, ~45 kcal (medium fruit)

In fact, if I ate every single thing on this list in these portions, that would be about 486 calories total and within the fast day calorie goal. Mind you, I probably wouldn't eat this list alone on a fast day because that would be 62 grams of sugar (which is over twice what is recommended per day) and there is not enough iron or protein. However, these foods are still great for getting in vitamins, phytochemicals, and fiber.

On a different water-related tangent, I will call to your attention that the encouragement to drink a ton of water for health somewhat revolves around myth. The common advice to "drink 8 glasses of water a day to avoid dehydration"  lacks hard evidence. You do need to drink enough fluids to replace what you lose daily (again, basic math like calorie intake and outtake for weight management). But a lot of the water we consume comes from the food we eat. The water consumption an individual requires is based on a lot of factors including the climate they live in, their size, and their lifestyle. As long as you can pee, it is very rare that too much water will be a problem for you. Just make sure you have enough electrolytes.

I also have yet to find the study that is often referred to in blog posts and articles (which all have broken links, when there is an attempt at a citation or source at all) claiming that the human sense of thirst is very weak and is often confused with hunger, resulting in 37% of people mistaking thirst for hunger in "studies." Perhaps I am searching for the wrong keywords? Or perhaps 37% of the people in this mysteriously unsearchable "clinical study" are just idiots and cannot differentiate their own bodily needs. Either way, 37% is not a majority, so I am not sure how this line of reasoning about our sense of thirst has been turned into such thriving urban legend. The study I did find in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that hunger is not related to thirst at all. My conclusion is to just drink water when you are thirsty. You will likely be aware of when you are thirsty.


  1. I have been looking for something similar like this one and encountered several people who has the same problem. I found out that there is a possible benefit that a person might get in consuming berries of organic saw palmetto. I'm not sure about this one since I've read it from Dr. Mercola's article.

  2. I don't know if it's relevant but I find I urinate more when I eat foods high in salicylates. Several of the foods you list there are high in salicylates so that might be an issue.