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Does Smoking Break Your Fast?

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Kasparas Aleknavičius, MD November 11, 2022

Smoking negatively affects your body, but does it disrupt intermittent fasting?

This is a question you might have when figuring out your meal plan. Many people quit smoking before losing weight, which is the first step to self-recovery. Remember that one cigarette could set you back a few days and release more toxins.

Abstaining from eating for periods of time requires lots of mental strength and energy. Even though smoking doesn’t equal food consumption, your body can still cause an insulin reaction. If you learn about smoking and fasting, you might feel encouraged to stop.

In this article, we explain if smoking can break the fast.

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What Does it Mean to Break a Fast?

Breaking a fast means you’ll eat foods with more calories after the fasting period. This eases you into your next non-fasting window. Most people consume less than 10 calories on their fast, so anything above this means you have officially broken your fast.

Here are some examples of foods that break a fast:

  • Eggs
  • Greek yogurt
  • Bone broth (chicken, fish, beef, or turkey)
  • Watermelon
  • Chia seeds
  • Dried fruits
  • Good fats (avocados and salmon)
  • Fruit smoothies
  • Bananas
  • Fresh soups (tomato, lentils, or vegetable)

If you need more support on your journey to intermittent fasting, the DoFasting app is the right choice for you. It contains over 5000 recipes that can improve your results. You’ll also find educational articles and daily tips that greatly increase long-term motivation.

Does Smoking Cigarettes Break a Fast?

Smoking cigarettes doesn’t break your fast, but it isn’t great for your body either.

The long-term damage of this habit can increase the risk of heart disease, strokes, cancer, lung disease, and diabetes. This can make you feel extremely weak, which might ruin the fast and cause you to stop following fat loss methods.

Regularly smoking can also affect other mental abilities that might motivate you to break the fast. The tobacco and nicotine thin out your cerebral cortex – a layer of nerve cells that control language, memory, learning processes, emotion, and personality.

Does Vaping Break a Fast?

Vaping doesn’t usually break a fast, but e-juice may actually contain calories. This is due to the liquid that comprises propylene glycol, added sugar, flavorings, and other chemicals. However, the amount of calories in e-juice is not enough to disrupt fasting, as there are only 5 calories per 0.03 fl oz.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that vaping is a good option during fasting. Someone who regularly vapes may have high blood pressure. The e-liquid spikes your adrenaline and increases the heart rate. Not everyone realizes that vaping can trigger heart attacks, as you’re constantly putting more force on blood flow.

Just like cigarettes, vaping can dampen normal brain functions and prevent you from finishing the fast. Nicotine and added sugar, two prime ingredients, can cause major depression, anxiety, dysthymia, and bipolar disorder.

Other side effects of vaping could be:

  • Coughing
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Sore throat
  • Heart palpitations

Does Smoking Marijuana Break a Fast?

Marijuana does not break a fast, as it doesn’t contain calories or macronutrients.

Inhaling this substance could still dampen your motivation. You might experience frequent lung infections, high blood sugar, and phlegm in the throat. These side effects alone can stop you from losing pounds when following day fasting methods.

Due to marijuana affecting your cerebellum and basal ganglia, you may have poor balance, posture, emotional reactions, and coordination skills.

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Effects of Nicotine on Hunger and Appetite

Studies reveal that cigarettes can reduce hunger and suppress appetite. This could encourage people to not eat during their eating windows, which isn’t good at all.

Nicotine sends signals to the brain telling your body it doesn’t need food. Not feeling hungry may stop you from binge eating, but that is not a healthy way to lose weight. You should never try cigarettes or vapes to lose stubborn fat

Although these properties of nicotine can support weight loss, it doesn’t mean it’s good for overall health and well-being. Smoking increases your blood pressure and blood sugar levels, not to mention plenty of other harmful effects.

Other Negative Side Effects of Smoking During Intermittent Fasting

Natural tobacco and e-liquids have lots of negative side effects. People with diabetes will especially face physical changes, either through increased blood glucose or insulin levels. Whether you’re a regular smoker or not, you must understand how smoking damages your health and abstain from it altogether.

Let’s take a look at the 5 harmful effects of smoking:

Dull sense of smell and taste

Yes, smoking can actually dull your taste buds and smell.

The smoke damages buds on your tongue that are responsible for distinguishing different foods. You might find that certain meals taste funny or taste of nothing at all, as nicotine changes the blood supply to your tongue.

Higher levels of smoking can also affect your nasal passage. It causes inflammation and stops your ability to smell things properly.

This physical change might put you off from consuming food during the eating window. Reducing your caloric intake too much will only lead to nutritional deficiencies.

Anxiety and irritability

There is a common misconception that going for a smoke will help you relax. However, this statement is not true, as smoking cigarettes triggers feelings of anxiety and tension. Nicotine increases your heart rate and boosts the chance of panic attacks.

Feeling on edge could stop you from fasting properly and sticking to a diet. Stress also leads to high blood sugar levels, so keep that in mind before you smoke.

Higher risk of heart disease

Nicotine is the number one culprit for hardening your artery walls. This negative change will increase blood pressure and impact fasting blood sugar. Extra force in your arteries can lead to cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, heart attacks, and strokes.

High cholesterol level

The nicotine in cigarettes can decrease HDL cholesterol (the good kind) and increase LDL cholesterol (the bad kind). Low-density lipoprotein carries cholesterol to your cells, including ones in the arteries, and leaves that there to eventually build plaque.

High cholesterol may also trigger overstimulated insulin levels. This will encourage insulin resistance, meaning your body can’t regulate these peptide hormones. Insulin resistance usually elevates blood glucose, which leads to type 2 diabetes.

Premature aging of the skin

Smoking can damage collagen and fibers that keep your skin looking fresh. A lack of collagen means the skin cells can’t smoothe out any fine lines or wrinkles. This is what leads to premature aging – signs that make you look older than your actual age.

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Conclusion

So, does smoking break a fast?

When a person smokes, that nicotine starts to damage the body, even if the cigarette contains fewer chemicals. You should avoid smoking completely while doing a fast. Remember that people who smoke need more insulin to regulate blood sugar levels.

Author

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Kasparas Aleknavičius, MD
  • Head of Medical Affairs at Kilo Health
  • Medical Doctor at Vilnius University, Lithuania
  • Partnering with the EU-funded Young50 and EUPAP projects

Kasparas Aleknavicius is a medical doctor that graduated from Vilnius University, working as head of medical affairs at Kilo Health. After nearly 5 years in the industry, Kasparas focuses on digital health and is looking for innovative ways to help people lead healthy lifestyles through digital health and wellness platforms.

You can find Kasparas on LinkedIn and follow his latest research on Medium.

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