Almond Milk & Other Milk Alternatives
Does almond milk break a fast? And does oat milk break a fast?
Technically speaking, YES! However, if you absolutely must have something and are okay with open fasting coffee with a splash of almond milk can be a good alternative.
Out of the most popular milk alternatives like soy, oat, rice and coconut milk, almond milk has the least calories and zero sugar .
Almond milk is low in carbs and calories, hence up to 0.5 cup/120 ml of almond milk could be a good option for open intermittent fasting. When choosing almond milk, avoid the ones with added sugar or those fortified with extra protein.
Heres a little breakdown for 1 cup of various types of milk :
- Whole milk: 150 kcal, 12 g sugar
- Oat milk: 130 kcal, 19 g sugar
- Rice milk: 90 kcal, 0 g sugar
- Soy milk: 80 kcal, 1 g sugar
- Coconut milk: 45 kcal, 0 g sugar
- Almond milk: 30 kcal, 0 g sugar
- Cashew milk 25 kcal, 0 g sugar
As you can see out of all milk alternatives oat milk is the least preferred choice when fasting. If you must add a bit of milk, then intermittent fasting coffee with almond or cashew milk will be the best choice.
Gatorade And Powerade Zero While Intermittent Fasting
Even if the enrichment with electrolytes and vitamins sounds interesting for fasting, at first sight, sugar-free sports drinks are not suitable for it.
For example, Gatorade and Powerade Zero contain sucralose, the sweetener in Splenda.
According to studies, just one pack of Splenda can be enough to wipe out 50 percent of healthy gut flora .
Moreover, sucralose increases the insulin level by about 20 percent, which breaks the fasting anyway .
Concerns And Adjustments With Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is becoming popular, but it’s still not the normal thing to do. As a result, you may have some concerns about it or you may want to make some adjustments to your intermittent fasting schedule. Here are some common questions I’ve seen that should help point you in the right direction.
What if I ate my first meal at breakfast, skipped lunch, and then ate my second meal at dinner time?
This idea would work well for one reason, but not well for another reason. Let’s talk about both.
First, if your goal is to lose weight, then skipping lunch should help because it decreases the number of calories that you’re eating throughout the day. As I said in my article on lessons learned from 1 year of intermittent fasting, even if you try to eat two large meals instead of three regular meals, it’s hard to get the same number of calories. Even if you want to eat more, you often end up eating less.
So the end result of skipping lunch is that you would probably reduce your overall caloric intake and end up losing weight.
However, one of the primary benefits of intermittent fasting is that it puts you in a fat burning state. In other words, fasting makes it more likely that you’ll burn fat and not muscle.
In other words, you need to have at least 8 to 12 hours off from eating before your body enters the fasted, fatburning state. This is why you want to squish your meals into a smaller time frame rather than spreading them throughout the day.
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Can I Use Cream In My Coffee During Fasting
There are tons of questions about intermittent fasting, like these:
- Is LCHF or a vegetarian diet better for health?
- Can I use cream in my coffee during intermittent fasting?
- Will I stall on the Warrior Diet?
Stalling On The Warrior Diet
Dear Dr. Fung,
I lost 21 lbs over several months doing 1, 2 and 3 day fasts. I hit resistance at that point and for the last month have been doing IF by skipping breakfast lunch and dinner only. I find this is good for maintenance, but my body seems to have become used to it. Im therefore thinking of going Warrior eating every day in a 4-hour window, say 5 pm to 9 pm. Would appreciate your thoughts, and also whether any of your T2D patients have had success with the Warrior method. Thank you.
My experience is that people who eat the same way daily eventually hit a plateau, and usually at a level higher than they wish. I think the intermittency of the diet is important to keep weight loss moving. That is, I think doing Warrior, or 16:8 or 24-hour fasts every single day eventually leads to a plateau. I usually recommend my patients mix it up and monitor their progress.
Dr. Jason Fung
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How Does Intermittent Fasting Work
There are several different ways to do intermittent fasting, but they are all based on choosing regular time periods to eat and fast. For instance, you might try eating only during an eight-hour period each day and fast for the remainder. Or you might choose to eat only one meal a day two days a week. There are many different intermittent fasting schedules.
Mattson says that after hours without food, the body exhausts its sugar stores and starts burning fat. He refers to this as metabolic switching.
Intermittent fasting contrasts with the normal eating pattern for most Americans, who eat throughout their waking hours, Mattson says. If someone is eating three meals a day, plus snacks, and theyre not exercising, then every time they eat, theyre running on those calories and not burning their fat stores.
Intermittent fasting works by prolonging the period when your body has burned through the calories consumed during your last meal and begins burning fat.
How To Do It
The easiest way to follow the 16:8 diet is to choose a 16-hour fasting window that includes the time that a person spends sleeping.
Some experts advise finishing food consumption in the early evening, as metabolism slows down after this time. However, this is not feasible for everyone.
Some people may not be able to consume their evening meal until 7 p.m. or later. Even so, it is best to avoid food for 23 hours before bed.
People may choose one of the following 8-hour eating windows:
- 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- noon to 8 p.m.
Within this timeframe, people can eat their meals and snacks at convenient times. Eating regularly is important to prevent blood sugar peaks and dips and to avoid excessive hunger.
Some people may need to experiment to find the best eating window and mealtimes for their lifestyle.
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Ginger And Chai Tea On Intermittent Fasting
In a broader sense, ginger and chai tea are pretty similar to regular herbal tea. If you can get the straight dried herbs in a tee specialty shop, you can drink the brewed tea during intermittent fasting.
Please keep your hands off instant mixes and chai from coffee shop chains , as they almost always contain additives that will break your fast.
If you are lucky, you can even get straight chai or ginger tea in grocery stores, but always check labels before purchasing.
However, its not that easy to get it straight since most people drink chai as a latte . If the label says chai latte, its going to break your fast anyway.
On the other hand, ginger tea brewed with nothing else than freshly chopped ginger root and hot water should be fine, as long as you dont eat the pieces .
The Morning Hunger Was Real
I’m not huge on breakfast, but I start desk snacking at 10:30 a.m. every day almost religiously. For the first three days this wasn’t a huge issue because I was only fasting for 12 hours. I stopped eating most nights at 9 p.m. and had the green light again at the same time the next morning. But when I upped that no-go window to 16 hours on day four, my rumbling stomach was hard to ignore until noon. Smith had warned me that the hunger often leads to binging, so I was careful not to start shoveling handfuls of chips into my mouth when the clock struck 12. Instead, I ate either an apple or banana with peanut butter to keep my snacks portioned until I ate a bigger meal around 2.
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What Are The Health Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
A proper Intermittent fasting plan can help you curb weight gain, lower oxidative stress, and inflammation. Furthermore, it also reduces blood pressure and improves cardiovascular health. Research suggests that intermittent fasting increases the levels of the fat-burning hormone, improves insulin sensitivity, and normalizes insulin levels.
While drinks may seem negligible when considering your intermittent fasting journey, in reality, they play an immense role. The simple rule is, consume drinks with little to no calories. Make sure you avoid sugars at all costs since they bring in a considerable amount of calories. While fasting, if you consume calories, it breaks the whole point and purpose, doesnt it? Hydrate yourself consistently and keep a check on calories.
Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar
Diluting a small amount of apple cider vinegar in 8 ounces of water won’t break your fast. In fact, it might actually be a really good idea. According to a study in the Journal of Medicinal Food in 2018, apple cider vinegar can lead to positive metabolic changes that help promote weight loss. Drinking apple cider vinegar every day may also reduce total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL or “bad cholesterol” levels.
Make sure to dilute it in water before drinking it, though. The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar is potent and drinking it undiluted may damage tooth enamel.
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Positive Effects Of Tea Caffeine On Fasting
There are a myriad of benefits of consuming caffeine drinks during fasting. Both black and green tea contain manageable amounts of caffeine, which significantly influence the fasting exercise.
Caffeine is not harmful if you take less than 400mg per day. However, it is essential to note that caffeine’s tolerance levels vary depending on a person’s habits, lifestyle, health, among other factors.
Some of the positive effects of drinking tea caffeine during fasting include the following
But We Can Still Drink
Yes, and this doesnt mean you can drink litres and litres of coffee and tea. Even if you take too much water, you could flush out all the minerals. The most difficult part for many people is dealing with the early morning beverage. When they just wake up, all they want is coffee. This is a cultural and psychological phenomenon. If your body could talk, it would ask you just for some water and a few minerals. Not coffee, not even tea. But, since we already grew to be addicted to certain taste in the morning, let me recommend you something that will change your intermittent fasting mornings into perfect and joyful moments.
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Wait That Doesnt Mean The Drink Is Cold
You can still enjoy a cup of hot cold-brewed tea! Sounds like an oxymoron, right?
A common misconception is that cold-brewing means a cold temperature drink. Heres what actually happens: the tea leaves themselves are cold-brewed in order to extract all the amazing polyphenols and catechins and preserve them.
Pique Tea has perfected this process with their patented cold-brew crystallization technique, which transforms the cold-brewed tea into tea crystals that you can instantly dissolve in any temperature water.
Voila super healthy and potent tea thats as easy to drink as water! Check it out:
Best Drinks For While Fasting
When someone tells you that you cannot eat, whats the first thing you want to do?
Yep, you guessed itcue the hunger pangs, right?
Thats why its important to keep yourself hydrated during the fasting window.
Otherwise, when its time to eat, youll overeat. One way to stave off hunger is by tricking your starvation mentality with liquid consumption.
And for this purpose, there are certain drinks that are superior to others.
With that said, here are 5 best drinks you can enjoy during your fasting windows:
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What Can You Eat
During your fasting window, you can drink as many of the approved beverages as you want, but you can’t eat anything. Eating provides calories and starts digestion, two things that break your fast. When your fasting window ends, and you enter your feeding window, it’s best to make food choices that keep your blood sugar levels stable.
Although there’s no specific dietary recommendation when intermittent fasting, many people choose to combine it with a low-carb, ketogenic diet. When it’s time to eat, include foods that are high in good fats and low in carbohydrates. That means eating nuts, seeds, vegetables, avocado, olives, meat and fish, while avoiding whole grains, fruits, starchy vegetables, sugary drinks and anything processed.
Processed foods are usually packed with sugar additives and other undesirable ingredients that improve the taste but negatively affect your health. Even if “sugar” isn’t listed on the label of ingredients, chances are it contains a substitute in some form. Whether it’s sucrose, dextrose, high-fructose corn syrup or something similar, these ingredients can have the same effects as sugar.
The Optimal Fasting Strategy Depends On The Reason Why Youre Fasting
For weight loss in general
Keep in mind that the main mechanism that induces weight loss in people who fast frequently is the fact that theyre simply eating less calories by having fewer and bigger meals in a shorter time frame, which feels more satisfying.
Many of us benefit from having some sort of relatively rigid structure to our meal timing, in order to have better control of our food choices. Instead of giving yourself permission to eat whenever you want, you limit the time window in which you can eat, and therefore do not need to rely on your willpower for the rest of your time.
The decision of when to eat is already made, and you dont need to make it again each time you have an opportunity to consume something. You just ask yourself a simple question Is this my feeding window, or is it my fasting window? and stick to the plan.
Considering the above, if youre doing fasting mostly for weight loss, you could still have a splash of cream in your coffee, or have a sip of bone broth. Technically if you do that, you will break your fast, since youd be consuming calories. While not optimal, if this helps you with long-term adherence and if it makes the experience easier and more enjoyable for you, go for it .
As for autophagy, in order to benefit from it, you need to do longer fasts of 16-24 hours. This is an advanced fasting strategy and only people who already have significant fasting experience should do it.
Can You Use Sweeteners While Fasting?
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What Foods Are Best For Achieving Your Fasting Goal
Below is a list of foods suitable for the attainment of the goals and purpose of an intermittent fast .
Other foods allowed during fasting are vegetables, whether fermented or unfermented, sauerkraut, tempeh, lettuce, celery, tomatoes, strawberries, cucumber, skimmed milk, and plain yoghurts. You should also make sure to drink lots of water during this period. In fact, it would be best if you made it your rule not to consume refined grains, processed foods and meats, and soft drinks, among others.
Cream In Coffee During Fast
Ive been eating LCHF for about 6 weeks and lost around 26 pounds which obviously Im very happy with. My weight loss has now significantly slowed which Im not overly concerned about but thought Id try 24-hour fasting which Ive done for the last few days and feel great. However, I am having cream in my coffee during the fasting hours which really helps me cope. Am I undoing all the positives of the fast by doing this?
Good question Lucy. First, let me start by saying nobody knows the answer for sure. We simply dont have enough data to support a conclusion.
Anecdotally, I use cream in coffee during fasts as well. For me, that little bit of cream does not stop me from getting the results that I desire.
In others, it may undo some of the positives, but generally not.
The key is to monitor your goals and see if you are progressing.
You can read Diet Doctors full guide on fasting for more information.
Dr. Jason Fung
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