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What Can You Drink While Fasting?

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Kasparas Aleknavičius, MD November 22, 2021

Hydration is key. You’ve heard that before, haven’t you? Our bodies depend on water to survive and stay healthy. Whether you’re fasting or not, doesn’t change that.

Fasting means you will be sitting with an empty stomach for prolonged periods of time. Even though eating is strictly prohibited, you can (and definitely should) drink while intermittent fasting. This is because 20% of water intake comes from food.

However, not everything is safe to drink while fasting. People tend to forget that some drinks have more calories than certain foods. So, what can you drink?

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7 Drinks You Can Enjoy During Your Fasting Window

Some experts strictly prohibit all calories, while others claim that 50 calories per fasting period are harmless.

Whether you’re on one side or the other, the drinks listed below are virtually calorie free  so they won’t interfere with your fast.

1. Water

Water plays a key role in keeping your body hydrated and working properly. Many people follow the 8×8 rule which refers to 8 glasses of 8 ounces of water.

Plain tap or bottled water holds zero calories, but this doesn’t mean that it has no nutritional value. Water provides a variety of minerals such as calcium, iron, and zinc.

Drinking water can improve metabolic health and boost your metabolism by up to 25%. This means that you will burn more calories and, in turn, lose weight.

A glass of water can help with appetite control as it creates a feeling of fullness. Therefore, eliminating the risk of overeating or helping get through those last few hours of your fast.

When fasting, make a conscious effort to drink more water. A slice of lemon, cucumber, or mint will enhance the flavor and won’t break your fast.

If you’re having trouble drinking the recommended amount of water, check out DoFasting – an intermittent fasting app. It will help you track your progress and keep yourself accountable.

2. Electrolyte water

Electrolyte water contains minerals (calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium) that are crucial for the processes inside the human body.

When you sweat, your body loses electrolytes. A low number of electrolytes can result in a number of electrolyte disorders that affect blood pH, fluid regulation, nerve, and muscle function.

Choosing electrolyte-infused water when fasting can replenish electrolytes that were lost during a long fasting window.

For fasters who burn fat through regular exercise, electrolyte water will help keep your energy levels high while also stabilizing electrolytes lost through sweat.

3. Mineral water and sparkling water

Mineral water is a type of bottled water that comes from a mineral spring and contains a number of dissolved minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. These natural minerals are essential for a healthy body. They’re especially beneficial for bone strength, gut health, and the heart.

Some fasters suffer from constipation as a result of making a change in diet. Magnesium, one of the key minerals found in mineral water, has been shown to improve bowel function.

Gulping down water can trick the body into thinking it’s not hungry. Sparkling water has an even greater effect on suppressing your appetite.

Similar to the types of water discussed previously, mineral water helps rebalance the electrolytes lost when actively fasting.

Both mineral water and sparkling water come from natural sources. To put it simply, sparkling water is a type of mineral water that is naturally carbonated, unlike seltzer, which we’ll cover next.

4. Seltzer

Seltzer is a type of carbonated water. It’s infused with CO2 which is responsible for that fizzy taste. Seltzer has traces of natural minerals like sodium, calcium, and magnesium.

As mentioned above, seltzer and sparkling water differ in the carbonation source. Seltzer is artificially carbonated while sparkling water comes from a naturally carbonated water source.

Seltzer is a great alternative to fasters who are cutting down on sweetened drinks like soda as it still has that fizzy taste.

It’s important to note that not all seltzers are safe to drink when fasting. To be more specific, you should steer clear of hard seltzer during a fast since it contains alcohol.

5. Tea

Unsweetened tea is calorie-free which means it won’t break your fast.

Not only is it safe to drink while fasting, but tea also provides numerous health benefits that can enhance your fasting period.

Black and green tea are the first to pop up when searching for the best type of tea to drink while intermittent fasting. They’re high in caffeine and can serve as a healthier alternative to coffee.

Polyphenol is the main ingredient in tea responsible for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

You can spice things up in the tea department with a touch of lemon or artificial sweeteners.

6. Coffee

A regular cup of black coffee has around 2 calories making it entirely safe for fasting as long as you don’t add milk, cream, sugar, or other additives with calories. If plain black coffee isn’t for you, opt for zero-calorie artificial sweeteners.

Aside from giving you a boost of energy, the caffeine inside your cup can increase the benefits of intermittent fasting by boosting your metabolism which allows you to burn even more calories.

You can drink coffee in the morning to make those last few hours of your fasting window more bearable. This is due to its appetite control capabilities that help relieve hunger pangs.

7. Diluted apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) can contribute to your intermittent fasting journey by promoting satiety. A tablespoon of ACV with your meal can stop you from overeating. It may also extend the period until you start craving food again.

Aside from promoting satiety, apple cider vinegar has been shown to improve blood sugar levels.

It’s important to always dilute apple cider vinegar before drinking it as ACV contains high levels of acidity which can damage teeth enamel.

Easily dilute apple cider vinegar by adding one or two tablespoons of ACV to an 8-ounce glass of water.

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When Is It Okay to Drink Bone Broth?

Bone broth is the liquid left after boiling animal bones. There are numerous homemade bone broth recipes based on chicken, beef, pork, fish, and even raw vegetables.

Its nutritional value depends on the type of bone broth. For instance, calcium, iron, and potassium can be found in beef bone broth. Unsurprisingly, it can improve joint health and keep your digestive system in good shape.

Generally, bone broth can have up to 50 calories and can break your fast. You should consider bone broth when on prolonged periods of fasting such as OMAD, Eat Fast Eat, or the Monk Fast. It’s filling enough to relieve hunger which will make it easier to get through a fast.

Can You Drink Diet Sodas While Fasting?

Diet sodas are zero-calorie beverages loaded with artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. This means a can of diet soda won’t technically break your fast.

While it doesn’t contain any calories, diet soda can interfere with intermittent fasting in other ways. Research suggests that diet soda can increase your appetite which will make it more difficult to abstain from food while intermittent fasting.

Moreover, excessive consumption of diet soda can increase the risk of developing metabolic syndrome and worsen your heart health, making intermittent fasting counterintuitive.

What About Milk or Cream?

Milk and its products like cream have been part of our diet for centuries. Besides being a source of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates, milk provides essential nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, and riboflavin.

As such, it contains high amounts of calories which will most definitely break your fast. Even a splash of milk in your cup of coffee exceeds the allowed calorie count so it will have to wait until the end of your fast.

5 Drinks to Avoid Entirely During Fasting

Choosing a suitable beverage can be tricky. Let’s make it simple by establishing what drinks you should definitely stay away from.

1. Juices

Popular juices like orange, apple, or mixed fruit juice are great sources of vitamins. However, they also contain high amounts of sugar and, in turn, have too many calories to be safely consumed without breaking a fast.

You can drink juice during your eating window. Although, due to high amounts of sugar, they should be enjoyed in moderation. Some studies show a correlation between juice consumption and increased blood sugar.

2. Fizzy drinks

Did you know that soda contains up to 10 teaspoons of sugar? That’s right, aside from breaking your fast, fizzy drinks are full of added sugar that can result in an insulin spike. Moreover, they have been shown to increase your appetite.

The majority of fizzy drinks like Coca-Cola lack essential nutrients and vitamins. Its high levels of sugar increase the risk of obesity and diabetes and can result in weight gain.

Most people choose intermittent fasting for its health benefits which means that you should cut out unhealthy foods even when not actively fasting. Fizzy drinks shouldn’t make the cut to your eating windows.

3. Coconut water

Coconut water has become a trendy topic within the health community and is often referred to as a natural sports drink. Enjoying it right after finishing your fast helps to replenish electrolytes, however, you shouldn’t drink it while fasting.

Carbohydrates, or just sugar, are the main culprit as to why you can’t drink coconut water during your fast.

In addition to being rich in vitamin C and minerals like potassium and manganese, coconut water is associated with a myriad of health benefits such as electrolyte-infused hydration and blood sugar management.

4. Alcohol

Alcohol on an empty stomach does not sound like a good time. Neither does drinking alcohol when fasting. Alcohol contains high amounts of sugar and has no nutritional value making it an empty-calorie drink.

It can sabotage your fast by dehydrating your body and destabilizing your blood sugar levels. Moreover, alcohol slows down your metabolism which can interfere with your weight loss journey.

While not recommended, it’s safe to consume alcohol in moderate amounts during your eating window at the expense of intermittent fasting benefits like insulin sensitivity.

5. Nut milk

Nut milk, just like dairy milk, will break your fast. Although, it contains fewer calories than dairy milk making it an alternative for those who are cutting dairy out of their diet.

Almond milk and other nut milk are great sources of calcium and vitamins D and E. If your focus is weight loss, swap dairy milk for nut milk in your morning coffee during eating hours.

Why Is What You Drink (or Don’t Drink) So Important?

Intermittent fasting is defined by periods of abstaining from food, or, if we’re being more technical, abstaining from intaking any calories. It’s important to keep in mind that this includes certain drinks. A cup of your favorite latte contains twice the amount of calories than a single apple.

In truth, your choice of beverage can make or break your fast. Sip the wrong drink and all your efforts will have gone to waste.

When choosing a drink, make sure it contains zero to few calories at most. If you’re out of ideas, check the list above, and remember, you can never go wrong with water.

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What Can You Drink During Fasting: The Main Takeaways

It’s crucial to drink plenty of fluids while intermittent fasting. As long as you follow the general guidelines of consuming less than 50 calories, you will be A-OK.

The beverages listed above will not only help you stay in active ketosis but will also replenish vitamins and minerals.

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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2 Comments

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DoFasting October 27, 2022

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