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What Breaks a Fast: Your Ultimate Food List

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Kasparas Aleknavičius, MD November 3, 2022

It might be challenging to figure out if eating or drinking are allowed while fasting, and if yes, what exactly can you consume?

There are certain products that might break a fast or even push you out of ketosis. You need to be extra careful during intermittent fasting, but what should be avoided exactly? Many people stick to consuming low-calorie beverages in between eating windows.

Fasting means you ideally avoid food or drink completely – water being the only exception. This allows the body to burn fat for energy instead of glucose. Burning fat is all about lowering your carb intake, which can be done through fasting periods.

So, what foods can you drink, and what should you avoid?

In this article, we explain what breaks a fast.

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What Does It Mean To Break a Fast?

Breaking a fast means you consume a meal after fasting. It doesn’t matter if you eat a nutrient-dense meal or a snack containing over 50 calories. The only way to stay in the fasting zone is to avoid food completely and wait until the eating window begins.

Many people recommend no calories, but others suggest staying under 50. This is because the body would then use calories for energy instead of fat, further breaking ketosis. It might be worth staying away from calories to ensure you produce enough ketones.

If you’re new to intermittent fasting DoFasting app is here to guide your journey. DoFasting contains multiple types of intermittent fasting for both beginners and pros. You can take small steps to achieve your fitness goals. Fasting experts can offer you advice on how to fast and what foods to eat for effective fat loss.

Breaking a fast vs breaking ketosis

There’s a big difference between breaking your fast and disrupting ketosis.

Consuming foods with minimal calories, like one piece of celery, will break your fast. However, that doesn’t mean it stops ketosis from happening. Your body still doesn’t have enough energy or calories to burn, so it continues the fat-burning process.

Ketosis is a metabolic state that produces ketones for energy and uses stubborn fat as a fuel source. This can prevent you from getting too weak during a fasting period. You can only break ketosis by eating a considerable amount of carbs and fats.

Just be aware that not all calories stimulate insulin levels equally. For example, fats stimulate very little, proteins stimulate a moderate amount, and carbohydrates stimulate a lot. So, from a fat-burning perspective, carbs are most likely to break your fast.

Some high-fat foods will technically break a fast but not break ketosis. They can also still help burn body fat. You could have a few nuts, chia seeds, and even small amounts of sliced fish. These foods will stop the fasting period and maintain the ketosis state.

List of Food That Break a Fast

Almost all foods are unsuitable to eat during the fasting window. This is because they contain lots of calories and carbs that will interfere with ketosis. If you want your body to continue burning fat, stick to zero-calorie products or avoid calories completely.

Let’s take a look at food that will break your fast:

  • Processed foods: Breakfast cereals, bread, salad dressings, french fries, pizza, potato chips, burgers, canned fruit, chicken nuggets, and takeaways.
  • Meats: Beef ribs, lamb chops, steak, sausages, chicken thighs, pepperoni, salami, roasted ham, duck, ground turkey, beef patties, and bacon.
  • Certain fruits: Figs, bananas, prunes, coconut, dates, avocados, apricots, raisins, mango, pineapple, passion fruit, grapes, cherries, and apples.
  • Dense vegetables: Sweetcorn, white potatoes, green peas, turnips, sweet potatoes, beets, parsnips, acorn squash, kidney beans, and sprouts.
  • Fat-based products: Cheese, yogurt, certain nuts and seeds, eggs, dark chocolate, seed butter, cow’s milk, sour cream, and other dairy products.
  • Sugary snacks: Cookies, frozen desserts, cakes, ice-cream, chocolate, fruit jams, sweet rolls, pies, crackers, brownies, syrups, and honey.

You can still consume healthy fats in moderation. For example, one can drink black coffee with healthy fats such as ghee, coconut oil, or butter during the fast.  This will break the fast, but it will not break ketosis, so it can’t interfere with fat burning.

Remember that any food containing calories might slow down your weight loss progress. Try to refrain from eating anything during the fasting window.

List of Drinks That Break a Fast

You should aim to avoid any drinks containing calories and sugars during the fasting window. Consuming calories breaks the fast no matter how healthy the drink might be. If you want to lose some body weight, only drink water throughout the fast.

Here is a list of drinks that will break fasting and ketosis:

  • Alcohol: Make sure to avoid all types of alcohol.
  • Sugary beverages: Flavored water, pop drinks, milkshakes, fruit smoothies, energy drinks, pre-workout, sweetened tea, fruit juice, and diet soda.
  • Hot drinks: Coffee breaks a fast if it contains added sugar and milk, so does hot chocolate.

All of these drinks contain sugars that can throw you out of ketosis. Sugar also doesn’t have any health benefits and might harm weight loss. Make sure you check the label of each drink product to make sure it contains very minimal or zero calories.

List of Food Supplements That Break a Fast

Supplements that contain sugar or calories are more likely to affect your fast. Many people don’t realize that some supplements actually contribute toward food intake. You should check the nutritional value of each product before using them in your routine.

Common examples of unsuitable supplements include:

  • Gummy multivitamins
  • Branched-chain amino acids
  • Protein powder
  • Supplements that contain ingredients like maltodextrin, pectin, cane sugar, or fruit juice concentrate that has sugar and calories

Prebiotics and vitamins are perfectly fine for your diet, as they won’t trigger high glucose levels. It’s better to consume supplements that fuel the body with nutrients during fasting. This might be iron, vitamin C, tyrosine, vitamin B, and electrolytes.

What Is Allowed To Consume During a Fast?

If you want to consume something during a fast, then don’t worry. You’re able to eat certain foods and beverages while still preserving the benefits of fasting. Just make sure to check the calorie, fat, and sugar content before having a snack or drink.

Let’s take a look at what you can consume during a fast:

Water

The best thing you can do is drink lots of water.

This hydrating drink promotes satiety and fuels natural functions in your body. Not everyone likes drinking water, but it has so many health benefits for weight loss. Water also strengthens metabolism, encouraging fat burning throughout the day.

You can add lemon or mint if you dislike plain drinks. Both of these ingredients work to increase fullness in between meals. This should stop those intense hunger cravings after eating windows, so it’s worth incorporating more of this drink into your diet.

Coffee and tea

Plain coffee and tea are also great options. You can choose black coffee, green tea, or other herbal remedies. Just make sure not to add milk or sugar, as this won’t be allowed during the fast. A hot drink is the best drink for people who want caffeine regularly.

Further benefits of black coffee or tea include the high amount of antioxidants. These compounds reduce free radicals in the body and reduce your risk of heart disease. It’s worth having one or two cups of this drink to limit a negative insulin response.

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Healthy fats

Consuming healthy fats will technically break your fast but not ketosis. You can have fats that contain zero calories, so try to find ones that have the least amount. Some good examples include coconut, avocado, nuts, olive oil, and chia seeds.

To maintain strong ketosis, you’ll need healthy fats in meals. This will fuel the body and encourage it to burn extra fat, further promoting weight loss. Just remember not to have too much food during fasting periods, otherwise it might break ketosis.

Bone broth

Certain bone broth recipes can provide your body with nutrients. You can also gain long-lasting hydration for the rest of the day. Some of the ingredients might break your fast, but they won’t disrupt ketosis or exceed the recommended daily calorie intake.

Bone broth also has anti-inflammatory properties that may improve your digestive system. Animal bones usually contain amino acids – essential molecules that help break down food, repair body tissue, ease bowel movements, and increase immunity.

Diluted apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) contains very few calories that won’t break your fast.

This drink has been known to promote satiety, which stops you from feeling hungry during time-restricted eating. Beverages that curb hunger usually encourage people to continue their fast. All you need is one tablespoon in a full glass of plain water.

You can also consume apple cider vinegar gummies. They are easy-to-use and contain plenty of vitamins to fuel the body. If you don’t like drinking ACV on a daily basis, eating simply gummy treats will give you all of the important nutrients.

Natural sweeteners

There are natural sweeteners you can have while intermittent fasting. You need to choose ones that don’t significantly raise insulin levels. If you have too many artificial sweeteners during fasting, the body might store fat instead of burning it off.

Here are some sweeteners you can have during a fast:

  • Stevia
  • Erythritol
  • Xylitol
  • Yacon syrup
  • Monk fruit

Natural sweeteners are the best for a very low-calorie diet. They don’t increase blood sugar and can still be enjoyed in products like plain coffee and tea. Always measure out these products, as some of them still contain a certain amount of calories.

Supplements That Won’t Break a Fast

A modified fasting diet can still have natural supplements. You just need to determine how many calories may or may not be in that product. It might be worth speaking to wellness professionals if you require guidance on nutritional supplementation.

Below, you’ll find supplements that won’t break your fast:

Electrolytes

Consuming electrolytes on an intermittent fasting plan is the best way to fuel your body. Sodium, calcium, and potassium are the main electrolytes that contribute to key internal functions. Many supplements contain these minerals for time-restricted feeding.

Eating food with electrolytes breaks a fast, so supplements are the better option. They help muscles contract, regulate blood pressure, and control blood pH levels. You need at least 1,600 to 2,000 mg of these electrolytes per day.

Multivitamins

A multivitamin usually contains a mix of vitamins and minerals. This dietary supplement can help you reach your daily nutrient allowance. People who fast might not eat enough minerals, so multivitamins are the best way to get everything in one tablet.

These supplements have many benefits while you’re in fasting mode. Some might be better skin health, smoother digestion, increased energy levels, and steady blood glucose. It’s always worth incorporating these into your daily diet.

Fish or algae oil

The classic fish or algae oil supplements are popular in the fitness industry. People claim this supplement lowers blood pressure and reduces triglycerides in your body. Triglycerides are derived from fatty acids that contribute to extra weight gain.

Aim to have these calorie-free supplements if you’re only focused on losing stubborn weight. They can benefit total calorie restriction during a fast. Some nutrients in omega-3’s might also promote muscle synthesis after intense work out sessions.

Individual micronutrients

You can have singular micronutrients on a fasting diet. For example, some people might only want magnesium to improve insulin sensitivity. It solely depends on your personal preferences and what you wish to strengthen during intermittent fasting.

Here are some examples of micronutrients:

  • Iron
  • Vitamin C
  • Chromium
  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Vitamin A
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin B12

The Essential Fiber Complex is a good supplement to have while promoting appetite control. It contains glucomannan and cellulose – two dietary fibers that curb cravings. All you need to do is add the powder supplement to a glass of plain water.

Creatine

Creatine is a supplement that helps repair and build muscle. There are no calories that will harm your progress or break ketosis. If you want to perform strength training while intermittent fasting, it might help to mix creatine with herbal teas or black coffee.

This muscle-boosting supplement might also boost your energy. This is great if you perform regular exercise and want to grow lean. Creatine has amino acids that will slow down insulin release and help your organs and muscles stay hydrated.

Pure collagen

A collagen supplement can strengthen your bones and muscles during fasting. It’s important to maintain your physical energy when not eating for a set time. You might consume collagen powder or a capsule-form that is easily digestible.

Probiotics and prebiotics

Your body needs good bacteria to function properly. Probiotics are direct bacteria found in foods and prebiotics contain fiber to feed gut microbiome. Consuming both of these on your small coffee break could encourage a smooth digestive process.

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Conclusion

Breaking a fast means consuming calories. Eating any type of food breaks a fast, but will not necessarily push you out of ketosis. Certain foods, like bone broth or healthy fats might contain ingredients that will break a fast, but will not disrupt ketosis. And losing weight is all about limiting food consumption during a fast, and maintaining ketosis that will help you burn body fat.

Anything that increases blood sugar levels can break ketosis and stop the fat-burning process. You may eat minimal healthy foods while fasting, but always monitor the calorie intake.

Abstain from products like diet soda, sugary drinks, processed foods, and other calorie-dense foods. Avoid protein calories or better try not to eat anything at all in the fasting period.

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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