What Exactly Is Fasting
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, to fast can mean one of two things:
As you can understand, since fasting can, technically, mean both completely abstaining from food AND eating a little/not eating some foods, were in a bit of a pickle.
Remember when, at the start of this article, we said that things are not as straightforward as you may think? Well, this is partly why.
Hold your horses, though, because this is going to get a little more complicated.
Conditionally Allowed Intermittent Fasting Drinks
You can drink the conditionally-allowed drinks only if you really have trouble continuing the fast and dont want to break it entirely. These drinks will also help you get through a longer fast.
They do have calories and cause a metabolic response but their impact on blood sugar is minimal so you can still consume them and reap most of the intermittent fasting benefits.
Here is the list of intermittent fasting drinks that you can consume conditionally.
What To Eat During Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern and not a diet plan. You may feel confused about what to eat while intermittent fasting. Although it is all about time intervals, eating healthy foods can make it more powerful.
Here is the intermittent fasting food list that can help you plan a balanced diet:
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What Can You Drink While Fasting
While eating is definitely off the table while in your fasting window, many people find success with a variety of beverages that can help preserve the benefits of fasting while simultaneously curbing hunger pangs. Heres a rundown of a few of the most common:
- Water. Staying hydrated is the most important component to a successful fast. Choose still or sparkling, but be sure to check the label on flavored water, which may have hidden carbs.
- Coffee and tea. If you cant imagine your mornings without a cup of coffee or tea, dont fret! Black coffee and tea contain so few calories that you may find they dont impact your fast at all. Or, you may find that the benefits outweigh the negligible calories. Just be careful to reach for low carb and calorie creamers and sweeteners, if at all.
- Broth. While broth will technically break your fast, it contains high levels of necessary sodium and other minerals, which helps your body replenish electrolytes and stay hydrated while also fighting off hunger pangs. Most broths also contain very few calories
Can You Drink Alcohol While Intermittent Fasting
On intermittent fasting days, its best to limit alcohol consumption to your eating windows. Most alcoholic beverages are high in sugar and calories, so drinking alcohol can easily break your fast. Plus, alcohol affects us more on an empty stomach, so even one glass of wine during a fasting window might feel awful the next day!
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What To Eat When Intermittent Fasting
Of course, we know that an all-or-nothing approach isn’t always warranted or sustainableâand that there are still plenty of benefits to be had in the territory that lies between a strict water-only fast and eating a full-blown meal.
Some foods maintain many of fasting’s benefitsâwhile keeping you sane. So, many experts say it’s OK to consume certain caloric foods in small quantities to help you stick to an intermittent fasting plan.
Case in point: To help patients stay happy and compliant with their fast, integrative physician Amy Shah, M.D., allows the consumption of 30 to 40 calories from sources that won’t spike blood sugar, like coffee or tea with a splash of unsweetened almond milk. “I call this ‘dirty fasting,'” says Shah. “For me, I like to fast as long as possible with just waterâthat might be 13 or 14 hours of a water fastâthen I’ll have my tea with almond milk and end at around 16 hours.”
Even Horne agrees that some perks of fasting remain with minimal food intake: “One mechanism that is known to remain active when a small amount of food is consumed is ketosisâas long as you consume less than 50 grams of carbohydrates ,” he says. “Some effects, such as the impact of fasting on the gut microbiome, may be different depending on whether it’s a water-only fast or a very-low-calorie diet with a small amount of food consumed, but both may provide some level of benefit when compared to eating a standard amount of food.”
Some People Believe That Zero
Data from numerous publications on the effects of low-energy sweeteners on appetite, insulin and glucose levels, food intake and body weight have shown that there is no consistent evidence that low-energy sweeteners increase appetite or subsequent food intake, cause insulin release or affect blood pressure in normal subjects.
If a drink is truly a zero calorie drink, you will be fine.
If you are paranoid, then substitute plain carbonated water in place of soda while fasting.
I have had great fat loss results drinking Diet Coke while intermittent fasting.
I also have used coffee and tea.
I may give apple cider vinegar a shot along with salt water to see if it makes a difference.
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Unsweetened Tea Or Coffee
Coffee and tea should be consumed without any mixtures like milk, flavored syrup, artificial sweeteners, sugar, or cream. Its best to avoid sugars even during eating hours. However, some feel that adding some milk or fat can curb hunger, so try it this way, only in the eating window as they will break your fast. Herbal teas and decafs should be brewed only in water to make them calorie-free. Do not overdo caffeinated varieties, since they can cause irritability and poor sleep. This applies particularly if consumed on an empty stomach, which is usually the case when you are fasting.
What Is Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that alternates periods of eating with periods of either not eating or taking in minimal calories. It emphasizes when you eat rather than what you eat.
Even though it has recently gained mainstream attention, intermittent fasting isnt new. People have practiced periods of fasting throughout history, such as for spiritual, health, or survival reasons .
The intent of intermittent fasting isnt necessarily only to restrict calories, but also to allow your body to focus on maintenance and recovery, rather than digesting.
Many fasting patterns incorporate regular 12- to 16-hour periods of fasting into each day, while others include fasting for 24 or 48 hours once or twice per week.
When you fast, your body undergoes a number of metabolic changes. After some time, fasting causes your body to enter ketosis, a state in which fat is used for energy when carbohydrates are unavailable (
Intermittent fasting rotates periods of fasting and periods of eating. Its often used for health purposes like weight loss and chronic disease prevention, though its been used historically for other reasons.
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Can I Have Coffee With Cream During A Fast
This depends on how strictly youre practicing IF.
If you have an ample amount of weight to lose, you may want to be stricter and stick with black coffee only on your fast. Some people swear by bulletproof coffee , as its medium-chain triglycerides are thought to speed up the process of getting into ketosis.
Be Mindful Not To Overeat
It can be easy to overeat between fasting periods.
Although fasting doesnt emphasize what you eat as much as when you eat, its not designed to be an excuse to eat unhealthy foods.
Overeating and eating junk food between fasting periods can cancel out the health benefits of fasting. Instead, choose minimally processed, whole foods as much as possible for the most overall health benefits.
When youre ready to break your fast, start with foods and drinks that will be gentle on your digestive system. Avoid foods that are especially high in sugar, fat, and fiber. Additionally, take care not to overeat.
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What You Can Drink During Intermittent Fasting
If you want to skip the details above: Here is the bottom line!
According to science, this is the list of what you can drink while intermittent fasting:
- Herbal tea
- Diluted apple cider vinegar
What you can drink during intermittent fasting always depends on your goals. If your primary goal is weight loss, go with the list above.
If you aim at prolonged fasting for anti-aging and disease prevention, opinions of researchers and experts differ.
Although numerous animal studies suggest that coffee and green tea support autophagy, the truth is that we dont know for sure.
As there is no data on this in humans yet, many people restrict autophagy fasting too pure water fasting, where you may add only salt or mineral water if necessary.
However, green tea has activated autophagy in human cells, but these were previously implanted into mice .
Can You Drink Energy Drinks While Intermittent Fasting
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Can you have zero-calorie energy drinks while youre intermittent fasting?
In this article, well teach you why a better question to ask is should you have energy drinks during your fast?And why the answer is: no, backed by strong scientific evidence.
Intermittent fasting is a dietary strategy in which times of food consumption alternate with periods of calorie restriction .
The potential results of intermittent fasting are powerful, including :
The key to intermittent fasting is a biological process called autophagy, which happens during periods of low-calorie intake.
Basically, your cells still need ATP, the cellular form of energy, and with less energy available from food, cells in tissues all throughout your body begin recycling dysfunctional and damaged proteins and cells.
This is actually great for your body when done in short bursts.
So why dont we recommend drinking zero-calorie energy drinks during a fast?
Well, even though these drinks dont have calories and wont technically break your fast, these artificial drinks can have negative short-term and long-term effects that interfere with the health benefits of intermittent fasting.
Well explain the scientific reasons below, and also provide some ideas for other, health-promoting zero-calorie beverages that amplify the health benefits of fasting.
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Eating Drinking And Fasting
On fasting days, most people choose to consume only about 500 calories or 25 percent of their normal caloric intake. That means very little food, but lots of water and some other zero-calorie beverages. Some people forget that drinks can contain calories too, Merotto says.
Any drink with macronutrientscarbs, fat, or proteinwould push the body out of a fasting state, she adds. Because these nutrients contain calories, they promote an insulin response which alerts your body that you are no longer fasting.
The basic idea of intermittent fasting is that you want to have periods where you are not consuming calories in the form of foods or beverages, says Katherine Brooking, MS, RD, cofounder of Appetite for Health. Your beverages should be calorie-free or very close to it, like with coffee, cucumber water, lemon water, or tea.
Feel free to consume caloric beverages such as smoothies, juices, alcohol , and shakes on your non-fast days and in your eating window. Just be sure to include the calories in your overall calorie count.
What To Eat To Break Your Fast
To break your fast, eat clean foods and be sure not to overeat.
Avoid breaking your fast with processed foods. Foods high in sugar or even high-fibre nuts and seeds can be challenging to digest, resulting in unwanted bloating and discomfort.
To avoid this and to prevent spiking your blood sugar which will take you out of fat-burning mode, consume nutrient-dense foods that are low in carbohydrates, easily digested and contain some protein:
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Beverages You Can Drink During Intermittent Fasting
The best kind of drinks for your fasting hours are calorie-free. That way, they will not activate an insulin response or break your fast. Acceptable beverages for intermittent fasting include water, teas, coffee, and apple cider vinegar. These zero-calorie beverages are suitable for your fasting window.
Here Are The Drinks To Take During Intermittent Fasting
They include but not limited to:
Naturally, water is calorie-free, and it is pointless to restrict its intake. Moreover, we cant overemphasize the enormous significance of water to your body, more so during fasting. Water should be your priority number 1. Water is essential for hydration. Scientifically, enhancing hydration can revamp an individuals BMR and increase the bodys capability to burn fat, thus leading to weight loss. So, it is imperative that you take plenty of water during fasting.
Coffee, especially black coffee, is free of calories, and it is okay to use it during fasting. Of note is that you should avoid adding milk or sugar to reduce the risk of introducing calories, which ultimately jeopardizes your fasted state.
Furthermore, remember not to take excess coffee during IF because too much caffeine on a hungry stomach has the likelihood of increasing jittery feelings of hunger and an appetite for food.
Natural tea from tea bags or tea leaves is free from calories, and it is totally fine to take it during fasting. Avoid bottled ice tea because its sweetened and loaded with sugar and calories more often than not. However, as opposed to coffee, tea is relatively lower in caffeine, and it is safe to use a little more while fasting.
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Can You Drink Alcohol When Intermittent Fasting
There is no definitive answer when it comes to intermittent fasting and alcohol. Some people say that you can drink alcohol when intermittent fasting, while others believe that its not a good idea.
The main thing to keep in mind is that if you are intermittent fasting, your body is going to be using its energy resources more efficiently. This means that the alcohol will be metabolized more quickly, and it could interfere with your fasting goals.
If you do choose to drink alcohol while intermittent fasting, make sure to drink in moderation and avoid drinking late at night. Also, be aware that drinking alcohol can slow down your weight loss progress. So if youre looking to lose weight, it might be better to avoid alcohol altogether.
At the end of the day, its up to you to decide whether or not to drink alcohol when intermittent fasting. Just remember to be smart about it and listen to your body. If you feel like drinking is interfering with your intermittent fasting goals, then it might be best to abstain from alcohol altogether. But if you can enjoy a glass of wine or beer in moderation without affecting your progress, then go for it! Cheers!
How Can I Suppress Hunger During Intermittent Fasting
Eat high-fiber foods, such as nuts, beans, fruits and vegetables, and high protein foods, including meat, fish, tofu, or nuts, during your eating window, Varady advised. Chewing high-fiber gummies can also help.
Drink lots of water. People tend to think they’re hungry, when they are really just thirsty, she said.
Go for black coffee or tea, or cinnamon or licorice herbal teas. These beverages may have appetite-suppressing effects, Varady noted.
Watch less TV: I know this sounds strange, but while you are watching TV, you are bombarded with dozens of ads for food. This can make you feel hungry, when in actuality, you are not hungry at all, she said.
Remember, being “a little hungry” is the best thing that can happen to you, wrote Madelyn Fernstrom, health and nutrition editor at NBC News, calling it a “true mind-body connection” that helps you recognize fullness.
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Why Do People Fast
Many cultures around the world fast for spiritual reasons, but fasting as a health measure has become popular because research suggests it may offer metabolic benefits and possibly lengthen lifespan.
And because youre usually eating only within a specific window, you tend to consume fewer calories than you would if you were eating around the clock, says Julie Upton, RD, a registered dietitian and cofounder of the nutrition news company Appetite for Health, in San Francisco. That, of course, can leads to weight loss.
According to a study, published in 2019 in The New England Journal of Medicine, the biggest benefits of fasting may come from whats known as metabolic switching. Thats when the body changes from using energy from glucose thats stored in the liver to ketones stored in fat. Researchers believe ketogenesis, an increase in ketones in the blood, may trigger cellular signals that slow aging, reduce inflammation, and promote better blood sugar control.
Scientists are still trying to get a handle on how intermittent fasting impacts health over the long-term. And theyve barely scratched the surface in terms of what happens when people fast while already at a healthy weight. Some of the latest studies have been observational or performed on mice. So the findings are often considered preliminary.
But, she adds, thats only after other measures have been tried first, such as improving general eating habits, moving more, or trying other stress-management strategies.
What Can I Eat While Intermittent Fasting
During the times when youre not eating, water and zero-calorie beverages such as black coffee and tea are permitted.
And during your eating periods, eating normally does not mean going crazy. Youre not likely to lose weight or get healthier if you pack your feeding times with high-calorie junk food, super-sized fried items and treats.
But what Williams likes about intermittent fasting is that it allows for a range of different foods to be eaten and enjoyed. We want people to be mindful and take pleasure in eating good, nutritious food, she says. She adds that eating with others and sharing the mealtime experience adds satisfaction and supports good health.
Williams, like most nutrition experts, regards the Mediterranean diet as a good blueprint of what to eat, whether youre trying intermittent fasting or not. You can hardly go wrong when you pick complex, unrefined carbohydrates such as whole grains, leafy greens, healthy fats and lean protein.