What Can You Drink During Intermittent Fasting

Drinks while intermittent fasting

Every drink that contains calories will break your fast if you consume it during your fasting window.

So, in order to ensure that you do not break your fast while remaining hydrated during your fasting window, we have compiled a list of drinks to consume while intermittent fasting.

You’ll also find information on what to avoid drinking during the fasting window if you’re doing intermittent fasting.

Before we get into the specifics of what to drink while intermittent fasting, let’s first go over some basic information on intermittent fasting and why what you drink while fasting is so important.

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Basic information on Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting has been practiced for thousands of years and has recently made a strong comeback.

Contrary to popular belief, intermittent fasting is not about starvation. It’s not so much about how much you eat as it is about when you eat.

This eating pattern separates your day into two parts:

  1. Eating (feeding) window, and
  2. Fasting (not eating) window

Intermittent fasting can be done in a variety of ways. Each of these methods is distinguished by its fasting/eating schedule, fast days, and calorie allowance.

You can learn more about the popular intermittent fasting methods here.

The 16/8 diet, which requires you to eat for an 8-hour window and fast for 16 hours, is the most popular intermittent fasting method. Because this type of intermittent fasting is the most common, you can find out what foods to eat and avoid on the 16/8 intermittent fasting method here.

If you are new to this way of eating and need assistance getting started, we recommend that you read our Beginner’s Guide To Intermittent Fasting.

During your fasting time, you should avoid consuming any calorie-containing foods or beverages. So, no eating during your fasting hours.

However, you must drink something during your fasting window. You have several beverage options, which are crucial because it is critical to stay hydrated during fasting.

Why Is What You Drink While Fasting So Crucial?

Hydration is essential. When you fast, it is easy and common to become mildly dehydrated. It’s surprisingly easy to forget to drink while you’re fasting or to misinterpret thirst for hunger and ignore it. You may not realize it, but your food provides a significant portion of your fluid intake.

During your fasting period, you do not acquire water from your food. As a result, you’ll need to keep track of your thirst and make a concerted effort to drink. However, hydration isn’t the only factor to consider when deciding what to drink during a fast.

Sugary or carbohydrate-containing drinks elicit an insulin response, causing your body to secrete the hormone insulin. And as a result, you may miss out on the benefits of intermittent fasting.

What can you drink during intermittent fasting?

So, when you’re fasting, what are you allowed to drink?

To begin, keep calories in mind when selecting a drink during your fasting period. Drinks with calories higher than single digits can break your fast and undo your hard work.

Even non-caloric drinks, such as diet sodas, flavored waters, or anything with artificial sweeteners, can trigger the insulin response and disrupt your fast.

So here is the detailed information on what you can drink during the fasting period:

Water

Water is necessary for preventing dehydration and controlling hunger pangs during the fasting period. Because water has no calories, it does not break your fast.

Water can be still or sparkling, depending on your preferences. You can also add a squeeze of lemon or lime to your water if you prefer lemon water or try infusing a pitcher of water with cucumber slices.

Water, on the other hand, is not created equal. Many bottled water companies have had their minerals removed using reverse osmosis or other methods, leaving you with demineralized water. Water is a good source of trace minerals, especially magnesium.

When you drink demineralized bottled water, you may develop mineral deficiencies and experience symptoms such as headaches.

So pick your water wisely. If you consume bottled water, avoid distilled water and opt for brands that do not use reverse osmosis to filter or re-mineralize their water.

Tea (Unsweetened)

Tea is also a good alternative when you’re fasting. Any unsweetened tea is a winner during fasting or eating periods while intermittent fasting, but the following varieties appear to provide the most significant benefits.

You can choose from caffeinated teas as well as herbal teas that are caffeine-free:

Drinking tea on a daily basis while intermittent fasting (or otherwise) can result in:

Fewer hunger pangs: Because the body is used to having a steady source of calories throughout the day, cravings that occur during the first few days or weeks of fasting might be difficult for some dieters.

According to a 2016 study published in Clinical Nutrition, catechins, a particular phenolic component and antioxidant found in tea may help reduce the production of ghrelin, a hunger signaling hormone within the body.

Increased relaxation: According to a 2019 study published in Nutrients, L-theanine, an amino acid present in green and black tea, can help reduce stress levels. Making a cup of tea and holding a warm mug may also naturally help you relax.

Additional weight loss: A 2018 research published in the journal Molecules revealed that the polyphenols in tea, specifically green tea, may be useful for people looking to lose a few pounds, thanks to the caffeine and a reaction within the gut bacteria that might cause enhanced fat burning.

Caffeine-containing teas should be consumed in moderation because they can cause irritability and poor sleep. This is especially true if consumed on an empty stomach, as is usually the case when fasting.

*Remember: During the fasting period, you should avoid adding cream, milk, sugar, or other sweeteners to your tea. Drinking tea without sugar isn’t for everyone, but it gets better with time.

Because limiting sugar is recommended for overall health benefits, avoiding sugar in tea can become a great new habit of yours.

Coffee (black)

Drinking moderate amounts of black coffee while fasting will not break your fast.

For most people, the nutrients in 1-2 cups (240-470 ml) of black coffee are insufficient to cause a significant metabolic change sufficient to break a fast.

Some claim that coffee suppresses your appetite, making it easier to maintain your fast over time. This claim, however, remains scientifically unproven.

Although coffee alone will not break your fast, the addition of other ingredients may. Adding high-calorie additives like milk and sugar to your cup can disrupt intermittent fasting, limiting the benefits of this dietary pattern.

Lattes, cappuccinos, and other high-calorie or sweetened coffee drinks, for example, should be avoided during your fasting period.

So, during fasting periods, you can drink regular black coffee or decaf coffee; just don’t add any sweetener or milk.

Major consideration of drinking too much coffee

A single cup of coffee (240 mL) contains approximately 100 mg of caffeine.

Caffeine consumption in excess can cause side effects such as heart palpitations and temporary increases in blood pressure.

Furthermore, excessive caffeine consumption may impair your sleep quality. Poor sleep can wreak havoc on your metabolic health over time, minimizing the benefits of intermittent fasting.

Most studies show that up to 400 mg of caffeine per day is probably safe for most people. This is equivalent to 3-4 cups (710-945 ml) of regular coffee per day.

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar has approximately 3 calories. As a result, it’s unlikely that it’ll interfere with your fast.

Taking apple cider vinegar while fasting appears to aid in the fight against cravings and hunger pangs.

Before consuming apple cider vinegar, it should be diluted.

Because vinegar is extremely acidic, exposing yourself to large amounts of undiluted vinegar can erode your tooth enamel as well as irritate your esophagus and digestive tract lining.

To make it safer to drink, dilute 1 tablespoon (15ml) of vinegar in 8 ounces (240 ml) of water. If it’s still too strong for you, dilute it even more.

If you want to incorporate apple cider vinegar into your fasting routine, limit yourself to 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 mL) per day and dilute it with plenty of water.

Overall, a small amount of apple cider vinegar per day may make your fast more manageable.

Drinks To Avoid During The Fasting Window

It is always best to avoid drinks with sugar or artificial sweeteners during your eating window. If your goal with intermittent fasting is to lose weight, there is no rule that says you can’t have a soda, juice, or even a milkshake during your eating window.

It’s a different story during your fasting hours.

Here’s a list of beverages that may break your fast.

Diet Soda

“Is it okay to drink diet soda while fasting?” – This is one of the most frequently asked questions. The simple answer is NO.

Diet soda may appear to be an ideal substitute for soda while fasting. This is due to the absence of sugars, carbohydrates, and calories.

However, research indicates that common soda ingredients such as sucralose and acesulfame-K may raise insulin levels. It can counteract the effects of fasting by making you crave sugar.

Furthermore, diet soda may have an effect on the quality of your gut bacteria by increasing the number of harmful bacteria while decreasing the number of beneficial bacteria.

Overall, avoiding diet sodas while fasting is a good idea. It should go without saying that you should avoid regular sodas as well because they are high in sugar.

Alcohol

You should not consume alcohol while fasting.

Because you haven’t eaten in many hours, your stomach is nearly empty during a fast. When you drink during these times, alcohol enters your bloodstream very quickly. This can result in worse hangovers, increased intoxication, and severe dehydration.

Furthermore, because most alcoholic beverages contain a lot of sugar and calories, drinking alcohol can easily break your fast.

Juices

There is a lot of misinformation about juice. On the one hand, it is a drink high in vitamins and minerals, but it is also high in sugar. Most juices contain between 100 and 150 kcal per glass. That means they will undoubtedly break your fast.

As a result, you should only drink juice during your eating window.

Coconut water

Coconut water contains simple carbohydrates and drinking it will break your fast. If you’re going to drink coconut water, do so during your eating window.

Milk

Calories and naturally occurring sugars/carbohydrates are found in dairy products. One cup of milk has 100 calories and 12g of carbs. So even a 1/4 cup of milk will break your fast.

Protein shakes or smoothies

Protein shakes and smoothies contain calories and will cause an insulin response, effectively breaking a fast. They are, however, an excellent choice if you decide to break the fast.

Commonly asked questions

Does bone broth break a fast?

Bone broth contains small amounts of fat and calories which could break a fast. However, for longer intermittent fasting methods, such as 24-hour fasts, consuming it may do more good than harm.

Consume very little (for longer fasts) and as much as you want during the eating window.

Can I have almond milk in my coffee while intermittent fasting?

Most store-bought almond milk contains a lot of additives and sugars, which will most likely break the fast.

However, in very small quantities, homemade pure almond milk made from only almonds and water is safe. If you like a splash (1-2 tbsp) of almond milk in your coffee or tea in the morning, it should be low enough in calories and carbs to keep you in a fasted state.

However, a 1/4 cup or more will break your fast.

It is best to avoid calories and drink your coffee black during your fasting period (unsweetened).

Glass of water with lemon for intermittent fasting drink

Final thoughts on what to drink and avoid while intermittent fasting

When it comes to beverages while fasting, the most important thing to remember is to drink plenty of fluids and avoid calorie-containing drinks.

Water, black coffee, unsweetened tea, herbal teas, and water with lemon are all examples of non-caloric drinks that you can consume during your fasting window.

During your fasting period, avoid drinks that are high in sugar and calories, such as diet sodas, juices, alcohol, milk, protein shakes or smoothies, and coconut water.

If you are new to intermittent fasting, you should speak with your doctor or a nutritionist before beginning this eating pattern. Every person is unique, and professionals will advise you on what is best for you when making dietary changes.

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