It May Be Dangerous If You’re Taking Certain Medications
If you want to give intermittent fasting a try, make sure to discuss it with your doctor first, says Dr. Eric Rimm, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Skipping meals and severely limiting calories can be dangerous for people with certain conditions, such as diabetes. Some people who take medications for blood pressure or heart disease also may be more prone to imbalances of sodium, potassium, and other minerals during longer-than-normal periods of fasting.
Dr. Suzanne Salamon, associate chief of gerontology at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, expresses another concern: “People who need to take their medications with food to avoid nausea or stomach irritation may not do well with fasting.”
How Often Should You Do 1: 8 Intermittent Fasting
Unlike other intermittent fasting diets, each day of the 16:8 works independently to the other days. This means that you can do anywhere from one day of intermittent 16:8 fasting to seven days a week, depending on your goals and the advice from your GP.
Evidence differs, however, on whether its healthy to do intermittent fasting all the time for a number of reasons. While one study suggests that fasting helps your vital organs by giving metabolic functions a break, other research suggests the fasting can lead to an increased level of cholesterol and can lead to feelings of nausea, along with causing spells of low-blood sugar and dehydration.
Intermittent Fasting: What Breaks A Fast On Keto
A keto diet is a kind of fasting that aims at achieving some of the weight loss goals as the intermittent fasting. The keto diet involves the consumption of low-calorie food and drinks. While you depend mostly on calories from fat, others are sourced from a moderate intake of protein and partial or total abstinence from carbs . By implication, when you are on this diet, you are expected to abstain from high-calorie food and drinks such as high carb proteins, alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, and soda. While keto diet aims at reducing the total intake of calories in meals, intermittent fasting focuses more on structuring how much you can eat at a time.
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What Can You Drink While Intermittent Fasting
Updated on Medically reviewed byKimberly Langdon, MD
Obesity is spiking at alarming levels all around the world. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of obesity in American adults increased from 30.5% to 42.4between 2000 to 2018.;
Among all the diet options, most Americans tend to choose intermittent fasting. It has been in practice all around the world for thousands of years and has made a great comeback recently. The popularity of this eating pattern goes beyond shedding a few pounds. Its like giving your body a major detox.
One of the most common questions googled about intermittent fasting since it got mainstream attention is what one can drink during their fasting windows?. In this article, you will learn everything about what you could drink during your intermittent fasting phase and some simple tips weight loss.
If You Want To Consume *something* During Your Fasting Window Here Are Your Best Options
Again, fasting by definition means youre not having food, so this is really more about what you can drink. That includes:
- Water. Water is fine, for sure, Keatley says. This includes still or sparkling water, although flavored waters get a little dicey because they usually contain some calories.
- Coffee. Black coffee has about five calories per cup, which is technically not nothing, Keatley points out. Still, he says, most people have black coffee during fasting periods and do just fine. Just skip add-ons like milk, creamer, or sugar. That will have an effect on your fast, Cording says.
- Tea. Brewed tea typically contains the same calories as a cup of black coffee or less. The same rules apply here as they do for coffee, Cording says.
Some people will drink chicken broth or bone broth, or add MCT oil, ghee, or coconut oil to their coffee during a fast, but all of these will break your fast, Cording notes. Broth is kind of surprising, but Cording points out that bone broth in particular has plenty of protein. What can happen is, when you consume the broth, your body uses the amino acids as fuel and then youre not longer in the fasting state, she says.
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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.
What You Can Drink During Fasting Periods
Merotto gives a thumbs up to the following:
Water;Its naturally calorie-free, and should be consumed during a fasting portion to support optimal hydration, for energy, and digestive health, she says.
Lemon water;If you crave some flavor with your hydration, lemon juice has relatively no carbs compared to other fruit juices, so it can be used as a way to flavor water without breaking a fast, says Merotto.
Apple cider vinegar;Some experts dont allow apple cider vinegar because it has calories . Merotto gives it a green light, but recommends mixing it with water or unsweetened tea, as the high amount of acidity can damage the enamel on your teeth.
Unsweetened tea or coffee;Herbal or decaf teas are okay if you brew them in water and add no other mixers. If you choose caffeinated varieties, dont overdo it, Merotto warns. Too much caffeine can cause poor sleep and irritability, she says. This is especially true if consumed on an empty stomach, which is what youll have when fasting.
Bone broth;This one is actually a maybe.Bone broth does contain small amounts of fat and calories which could break a fast, says Merotto. But on longer fastslike the 24-hour fastsome fat may be okay as it can keep the body in a ketosis state. Limit yourself to very small amounts.
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Gentle Foods To Break A Fast
When youre ready to break your fast, its best to ease out of it. Toward the end of your fast, you might want to introduce small portions of foods that are more easily digested, so you dont overwhelm your digestive system.
Breaking your fast with foods that are especially high in fat, sugar, or even fiber can be difficult for your body to digest, leading to bloating and discomfort.
Foods and drinks that can be even more shocking to your system after a fast include those like a greasy cheeseburger, slice of cake, or soda. Even high-fiber raw produce, nuts, and seeds may be difficult to digest.
On the other hand, nutrient-dense foods that easy to digest and contain a bit of protein and some healthy fats can break your fast more gently.
Below are a few examples of what to eat to break your fast.
Breaking your fast with healthy foods that may be better tolerated can help replenish important nutrients and electrolytes while easing food back into your diet.
Once youre tolerating gentler foods, add in other healthy foods like whole grains, beans, vegetables, nuts, seeds, meat, poultry, and fish and return to eating normally.
May Help Manage Inflammation
Our bodies naturally undergo inflammation as a part of the process it uses to fight off harmful pathogens or recover from injuries by triggering our immune system.;
However, when inflammation persists for too long it can start causing us harm. Chronic inflammation happens when the immune system continues to be triggered by what it thinks is a threat. Prolonged inflammation plays a role in the development of chronic health conditions such as atherosclerosis, heart disease, osteoporosis, and even diabetes .
Intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce concentrations of pro-inflammatory markers such as homocysteine, interleukin 6, and C-reactive protein which play a role in the development of these chronic diseases .;
Eating a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods or following a strict;anti-inflammatory diet or auto-immune protocol may also help reduce inflammation in the body.
Although fasting may provide some health benefits, looking at the quality of our diet and lifestyle can help us create healthy habits to support our health.;
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I Didn’t Sleep Very Well
I’m not sure if this was one of the results of intermittent fasting, but I noticed that I didn’t sleep very well during my experiment. After a few days, I woke up multiple times during the night feeling super thirsty and had to get up to drink water before I could fall asleep again. I tried to adjust the types of food I was eating to fix it. Other bloggers who have tried the diet reported similar problems, but I couldn’t find concrete research linking the issue with fasting besides my fellow IFers accounts. I normally don’t have a problem sleeping, so this was definitely a negative side effect.
Do I Need To Cram A Day’s Worth Of Meals Into Eight Hours
Regarding the “feeding window” , you want to reach the same calorie and macronutrient totals as you were beforeâmeaning amounts of fat, carbs, and proteinâprovided you were already on a solid diet plan that corresponded to your goals, of course.
You definitely don’t want to undereat during your feeding window, or you’ll compromise your performance in the gym and your ability to build or maintain muscle mass. Get in all of your nutrients, particularly protein. This is especially important for bodybuilders and anyone with strength-building goals.
In theory, you’ll be eating the same number of calories and macros per day, just with a different meal schedule than a typical eat-every-few-hours nutrition plan. Of course, you can always tweak calories and macros if and when your physique and training goals change.
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What To Eat When Intermittent Fasting: The 24 Best Foods List
After numerous studies can prove intermittent fastings health benefits, the interest in fasting is rising steadily. Perhaps it does not also come by chance that almost every culture or religion embodies fasting traditionally.
Whether for weight loss or anti-aging benefits, what you eat when intermittent fasting makes the difference!
This science-backed guide contains everything you need to know about intermittent fasting and eating.
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.
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Intermittent Fasting Can Still Lead To Weight Gain
Feeling starved during your fasting period might make some people more prone to binging behaviors when theyre not fasting. And eating more calories than what your body burns will lead to a long-term increase in body fat even if you consistently fast for 12-16 hours each day.;
In other words, if you are having trouble maintaining your hunger and end up going completely rogue on your non-fasting periods, you could end up gaining weight.
Going rouge during your non-fasting periods can sabotage your health goals, start a meal prep routine or plan your meals to ensure you’re nourishing your body.;
Not sure what style of diet is right for you? Use a meal plan quiz to get started!
May Play A Role In Cancer Treatment And Prevention
This potential benefit is still a bit up in the air. Animal models have shown that periodic fasting may help protect normal cells from the toxic effects of chemotherapy drugs while sensitizing cancer cells to the treatment .;
When it comes to human trials, the data is still inconclusive. Weight control and reduced inflammation in the body could reduce the development of cancer, but further research is needed to understand the role fasting may play in cancer treatment .;;
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What Artificial Sweetener Breaks A Fast
Artificial sweetener refers to certain substances that give the same sweet effect as your natural sweeteners such as sugar and honey. They are produced in the lab, and some of them have zero calories, while others are loaded with them. To know what artificial sweetener breaks a fast, you must know its caloric content.
At the same time, you need to be sure if the artificial sweeteners of your choice will give you the required result or not. Some of the artificial sweeteners that wont throw you out of the fasted state are: saccharin, aspartame, sucralose . However, if you go for artificial sweeteners like sugars of alcohol with high calorie content they will break your fast.
Potential Intermittent Fasting Side Effects
Intermittent fasting is a term people use to describe patterns of eating that include regular periods of fasting in which they consume very few or no calories (
- lower blood pressure
- reduction in markers of oxidative stress
- improved blood sugar control
These findings have led to the increased popularity of intermittent fasting regimens like:
- time-restricted feeding
- alternate-day fasting
- periodic fasting
If youre interested in trying out intermittent fasting, youre probably curious to know whether it has side effects.
The short answer: Intermittent fasting is safe for most people. However, studies have shown that intermittent fasting does have some minor side effects. Plus, its not the right choice for everyone (
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Answers To The Most Common Intermittent Fasting Questions
Welcome to the first Reader Mailbag!
Im taking a page from the playbook of one of my favorite sportswriters, Bill Simmons, and answering a boatload of your questions today.
Questions are rolling in all the time mostly through the free newsletter or and I love hearing from you. Keep them coming! I’m happy to help however I can.
My hope is that this mailbag will bring useful answers together in one place and make it easier for you to find the information you need to make the changes you want. My goal is always to make it easier for you to lose fat, gain muscle, and live healthy.
Boom. Lets get this party rolling.
As always, these are real emails from real readers.
Dont Fast On Active Days
Its crucial to make sure youre giving your body enough food to fuel upcoming activities. So if youre going to fast Mondays and Wednesdays, dont put more demands on your body with an intense spin class, or other serious workout. Make fasting days your rest days. Or at the very most, plan to do some stretching or light yoga.
In other words, timing matters. Think of your body like a car: You need to fill the gas tank before you go for a long drive, not the next day. The difference between a car and your body, however, is a car with no fuel will stop, while you can push your under-nourished body to keep moving. But slogging through workouts will only wear your body out, and up your risk of injury.
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Could Help Promote Balance In Other Areas Beyond Food
When we think of intermittent fasting we immediately think of food, since that is what we are limiting. But could we benefit from taking a break from other things in our life?;
The basic concept of fasting is to abstain from something for a specific period of time, so what other things could we fast besides food?;
Television, social media, and video games to name a few may all be things we could use a break from that may positively impact our health and well-being.;
At the end of the day, consciously choosing to reduce or shift our habits can help us create health and wellness goals based on our values and beliefs.;
Here’s A Quick Refresher On What It Means To Do Intermittent Fasting
Before we get into what you can and cant eat and drink, its a good idea to go over what intermittent fasting involves in the first place. Intermittent fasting focuses on following a pattern of periods of eating and fasting, i.e., times when you eat and dont eat. Intermittent fasting usually involves fasting for a certain number of hours or even days that are spaced out during the week.
There are plenty of types of intermittent fasting to choose from, but some of the more popular forms include the 16:8 diet, where you fast for 16 hours a day and eat only during eight hours , and the 5:2 diet, where you eat less than 500 calories for two non-consecutive days a week and eat normally for the rest of the time.
Research has linked intermittent fasting with lower insulin levels and blood pressure, and increased appetite control. Some people also lose weight while intermittent fasting.
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