The effect of fasting on our body is something that many people are interested in. There’s always the debate between “should I fast?” And if you do decide to forgo your meals, what should be eaten during those hours where you are in fasting mode? This article discusses different types of foods and drinks which can be eaten during the fasting window, and what foods may break or help reduce a Fast from happening altogether as well other things you may want to consider before getting started!
I have done some form of intermittent fasting for years, and I get asked a lot about what breaks a fast. So I thought I’d try clearing up some basic ideas here.
What is intermittent fasting?
intermittent fasting can be divided into two stages: one eating period and another fast period. We all intermittent fast when we sleep, because that is a set of hours that we do not eat. So habitually, we have a ‘fast’ window of 8-10 hours. . . say you eat a snack at 10:00 before bed, and then wake up and eat breakfast between 6:00-8:00 am. That means you practiced intermittent fasting for 8-10 hours, and you didn’t even know it.
We will mostly discuss Intermittent fasting, which is eating every day but within different lengths of an eating window. I will mention all-day, or multi-day fasts briefly, but those are really extreme and should be done with great care and with a health professional.
The most popular intermittent style is the 16/8 method. This involves fasting for 16 hours and eating only during an 8-hour window. This isn’t as hard as it seems. Usually people just stop eating a few hours earlier. . . Say at 7:00 p.m, and start eating a few hour later than normal, at 11:00. During the fasting period, you can drink water, black coffee, unsweetened tea and other calorie-free and carb-free beverages.
NOTE: If you’d like to take a two-week Intermittent Fasting Challenge, I highly recommend this INTERMITTENT FASTING TRACKING LOG PRINTABLE. It has everything you need to start intermittent fasting. After buying, all you need to do is print off the papers. If you are not a “printing person”. . .There is a 1-hour intermittent fasting tracker, and 16/8 Intermittent fasting tracker on amazon for a really decent price!
How to do intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting involves time-strapped meals and emphasizes when to eat, and not merely how. The 16:8 technique requires fasting for 16 hours a day and eating for 8 hours. What we are trying to gain within the fasting window, is a chance for your body to work through all of the food from your previous meals, and give it a chance to go into minor autophagy. Anything that gets your stomach, intestines, and insulin moving again is considered a break in your fast.
Start by slowly reducing the amount of time you eat during the day. The first stepping stone that people do is usually called the 16/8 window. Where you fast for 16 consecutive hours, then can eat normally for the next 8 hours. For the first few days, you may not make it quite to 16, but that is ok. Keep track of when the last time you ate, and try to extend your fasting for an extra half hour each day till you get to 16 hours.
Now that you are at 16 hours easily, it is time to put more nutrition into your diet. This is one of the main mistakes people make when intermittent fasting, they think that since they are not eating for long periods of time, they can eat anything they want when they are eating. And although this is true at first, (check out my beginning meal plan and how to switch it to an expert meal plan) long-term, this is not the case!
You still need to be mindful of what you are putting into your body. Just because you have, say, a 2-hour window does not mean you can eat as many calories as possible in those 2 hours. That mind set can cause a dangerous eating pattern of starvation and over eating that is warned against by wellness professionals.
You also need to be careful about what you are drinking. Many people think that they can drink anything because it has zero calories, but this is not the case! If you are trying to intermittent fast for weight loss, then you need to avoid all liquids that also have sugar or carbohydrates.
My rule of thumb is 4 grams of carbs or less in drinks I can have on occasion. . . and for those drinks that have zero or one carb per serving, it’s ok to have as much as you want. My husband loves flavored sparkling water, and the brand he gets has zero carbs. I will drink this sometimes, but I personally hate carbonation, so I usually just pass.
Note: What we want to make sure with drinking outside of our eating window, is to not activate our insulin. Some people’s insulin can spike with just the taste of sweets, so if you are fasting, and drinking sweet drinks, and not losing weight. Try cutting out all artificial sweeteners.
Coke Zero, and other name brand diet sodas will usually use a sweetener that technically is carb-free, but will still spike your blood sugar. So as a rule, I just stay away from those unless they are sweetened with ONLY stevia, monk fruit, or erythritol, which are milder sugar replacements.
Green tea and coffee are both great options because they contain caffeine and no carbs or sugar. Caffeine has been shown to boost your metabolism and help you burn more fat. Just make sure you do not add any sugar or cream to your coffee, as this will cancel out the benefits.
I personally don’t like the addictive aspect of caffeine, so I would stick to herbal tea, coconut water, apple cider vinegar, and sparkling water, and just leave it at that.
If you are looking for something more than just water to drink while fasting, with amazing health benefits, then consider bone broth. Bone broth is a great source of protein and nutrients, and it can help to keep you feeling full and satisfied during your fast. I even did a 3 day bone broth fast.
I love how intermittent fasting works for me. I have always had the urge to keep eating once I start. But with a simple time limit, I have been able to keep my weight gain under control.
What can you eat or drink while intermittent fasting
Fasting is defined as not having eaten calories or carbs. Many of us use fasting to improve and increase our metabolism, reduce body weight, and reduce insulin resistance. Fasting isn’t about dehydration or hunger. (yet again, check out autophagy)
In a nutshell. With true fasting, the only thing to put into your body would be water. But each body is different, and I will talk about the exceptions and how to handle hunger, dizziness, medication, and other reasons why you may need to eat or drink small amounts of food during your fasting state, and what are the best options to keep it as fast-friendly as possible.
What can I drink while fasting?
The easiest and cleanest way to fast is to just not drink or eat anything at all except for water during your fasting window. But sometimes that is not possible for some of us, and sometimes it’s just not probable for many others.
So if you need something to stabilize your blood glucose levels, I would first turn to a drink before actual food.
My first thought would be that I need more electrolytes. So I will either reach for My calcium and magnesium supplements to take with water, or I will reach for some diluted apple cider vinegar in water, or other zero calorie and zero carb drinks that contain electrolytes (you can check out my intermittent fast drinks to buy at the store post here)
- There are many different types of drinks that people consume while they are fasting, but the most common and calorie-free beverage is water! It is essential to stay hydrated while you are fasting, especially if you are working out during this time.
- You can also drink unsweetened coffee and tea, which will help to suppress your appetite.
- Will seltzer water break a fast? If you are looking for something with a little more flavor, there are many options for zero-calorie beverages or low-calorie seltzers and sparkling waters.
- If you are someone who doesn’t like plain water, you can jazz it up with lemon or lime wedges which don’t have the calories or carbs that you need to worry about.
- Coconut water is great for hydration with minimal calories, but has some carbs in it, so I would be careful with this one.
- Mineral water will give you a little extra boost as well.
- Cucumber water is a good alternative to coffee and tea without added sugar or additives. And add a little carbonated water in there, and it can curb cravings for diet sodas.
- This may sound unpleasant, but I also found that putting a small cap-full of apple cider vinegar in a large glass of water really woke my mind up, and gave me an extra boost of energy while I was fasting.
You should stay away from sugary or sweetened drinks like juices and sodas, as well as alcohol. These beverages can quickly break your fast, as well as provide you with empty calories that won’t do your body any good.
What can you drink in the eating window?
The awesome thing about the eating window, is that you are not limited to any foods at all! You can consume milk from animals, almond milk, smoothies, coconut milk or smoothies.
Buttermilk and Kombucha are a good source of probiotics which help with upset stomachs and help with digestion.
You can even drink alcohol, soda, Koolaid, fruit juice, you name it. But remember that it can irritate you and will raise insulin levels to possibly higher than you’d like.
And if you want to keep as many benefits of the fast that you just had, I’d keep away from non-nutritional drinks and just keep drinking plenty of wonderful, non caloric drinks like water.
What to eat when intermittent fasting
Sometimes we just have to eat. Whether our hunger pangs are getting too much, or our insulin levels are dropping a bit. Sometimes we just need to chew things.
Several foods maintain many benefits associated with fasting—while maintaining sanity. Research suggests that eating naturally calorie free foods can assist in your fasting.
But what we don’t want is anyone to pass out because of low glycemic issues or low blood glucose levels, or any other reason, for that matter.
So when someone feels lethargic or faint during their fast, but they don’t want to lose out on all of the benefits, there are some things they can turn to.
Foods To Eat When You Need Help
Intermittent fasting can decrease cravings and curb hunger in the long run because it improves insulin sensitivity. During a busy day, you may be having sugar cravings or even wanting to eat something other than healthy foods. But giving into those cravings will most definitely break your fast.
So here are a few snacks that can keep you mostly satisfied till the end of your fast. These should only be used the first few days as your body gets used to longer and longer gaps between meals. You will find that eventually, your body won’t need a mid-fast pick me up.
Just remember that a small, small, small portion goes a long way. Overdoing it with any of these suggestions will break your fast. As few calories as possible while keeping your metabolic health in good shape is the goal here.
- 1. half handful of nuts- Almonds, cashews, pistachios, and walnuts are all great options. Just remember to measure out a serving so you don’t overdo it and break your fast.
- A hard-boiled egg- This is a perfect option if you’re feeling peckish mid-fast. It will give you some protein and fat to tide you over till your next meal. Plus its hard to go overboard with eating plain eggs.
- A small piece of fruit- An apple, peach, or pear are all great choices. This will give you some natural sugar to help fight off any blood sugar drops.
- Green, watery vegetables: celery, cucumber, and bell peppers are all great choices. They are low calorie and low carb, but can give you a boost of vitamins.
- A yogurt- This is a great option if you’re feeling like you need something creamy. Choose a plain yogurt and add in a tiny amount of fruit or nuts for extra flavor and nutrition.
- Homemade bone broth is the absolute best thing you can take to curb hunger, keep your digestive system from being overworked, won’t give you an insulin spike, or give you an upset stomach. And it will actually help to continue to burn fat and promote gut health. It has healthy fats in it as well as other nutrients.
Intermittent fasting is a great way to improve your health and lose weight, but it’s important to make sure that you’re still getting the nutrients your body needs. These snacks will help you do just that!
How many calories breaks a fast?
It’s hard to day for sure, but the main suggestion is stick to under 200 calories if you absolutely need to eat anything while fasting.
What can I eat or drink during intermittent fasting?
Can you take medicine while intermittent fasting?
Yes, please take your medication. And if your medication requires you to eat something along with it, try taking it with some of the above suggestions. If your medicine says don’t take it on an empty stomach, please follow the directions! You are taking medication for a reason, and skipping it might have dire consequences on your body. So yes, you can take medicine while intermittent fasting. You should also consult with your doctor to see if fasting will have any adverse effects on your medication.
Can you drink water while intermittent fasting
Yes. Water is essential for our bodies to live and to thrive. Water will also help flush out toxins and keep us hydrated during a fast. Focus on drinking as much water as you can during this time!
What breaks a fast (long-term)
All day fasts, or multiple day fasts are traditionally, a time to cleanse your body and soul. It has been practiced for thousands of years and is still done today by many people from different cultures and religions. Fasting has also been shown to have health benefits, including weight loss, improved mental clarity and decreased inflammation.
Do not just jump into fasting though! Our bodies have been programmed to eat at certain times, and will plan accordingly by slowing down our metabolism. This can make time restricted eating more difficult than it needs to be. I have done up to a five day fast before, but it was with months of preparation (see my five day fast review).
Anything with calories and carbs will technically break a fast. Anything that creates the need for your digestive cycle to start running again will break the fast. I find that electrolytes, especially in water, do not activate those things for me. Salt, potassium, magnesium, and calcium are great things to take to keep your body going during a fast.
How To Break Long-Term Fasts
If you’re doing a longer fast, such as the 5:2 diet or fasting for 24 hours, you can still drink water, black coffee and unsweetened tea. However, you may also want to add in some bone broth or protein shakes to help keep your energy levels up. Some people have also used bulletproof coffee. . .bulletproof coffee is coffee with mct oil or coconut oil added into it. It is a big thing in the keto diet world. And intermittent fasting goes really well with the keto diet because both work on keeping a low insulin response.
When I chose to do long-term fasts, I included bone broth and electrolyte supplements to keep me going.
When you break a fast that lasts longer than a day, it’s important to start slowly and gradually increase your food intake. A good rule of thumb is to eat 50% of your normal calorie intake on the first day of breaking your fast, 75% on the second day and 100% on the third day. I did not follow this rule, and had a miserable stomach ache that day!
When it comes to what to eat when you break a fast, it’s important to choose nutrient-rich foods that will help replenish your body. Good options include lean protein, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats. I followed the excellent advice of Dr. Dan Pompa at least read his book before going more than 24 hours!
Intermittent fasting or long term fasting, is a great way to lose weight, but it’s important to make sure you’re doing it in a safe and healthy way. If you have any concerns, be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any type of intermittent fasting plan.
Check out our comparison review of the Keto Egg Fast verses the Military Diet