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March 23, 2019

What Can You Drink During Intermittent Fasting? Your Questions Answered

Intermittent fasting for women and men has been around for years and is gaining in popularity throughout the world. This doesn’t just mean skipping breakfast, however. People take to fasting between each meal for various reasons with different fasting hours, including weight loss, control of blood sugar levels, and control of caloric intake to accumulate hunger for more satisfying reasons and religious reasons.

In this article, we address a question that confuses many; what can you drink while intermittent fasting. First, let’s provide you with a guide to intermittent fasting.

What It Is and Its Types

Intermittent fasting is described as an eating pattern that includes alternating periods of a no calorie or energy intake with those of average food intake in a repetitive manner.

According to researchers, there three common types of intermittent fasting that follow a standard fasting schedule :

Alternate Day Fasting

This typically involves taking very little or no calorie content for 24 hours, followed by another 24 hours of regular food intake.

Whole Day Fasting

Those involved in full-day fasting, prolong fasting, take one or two days per week to do so then eat regularly for the rest of the week.

Time-Restricted Feeding

In this program, people fast for a minimum of 16 hours and a maximum of 20 hours each day. It has been found to be the most popular method of fasting. For example, you may decide to have a regular healthy eating routine then fast from 2.00 pm one day to 8.00 am the next day. This gives you an 16-hour fast period and eight hours to eat. Such an arrangement is referred to as an 16:8 fasting.

Reasons for Fasting

As mentioned earlier, people have different reasons for going into intermittent fasting. They include:

Weight loss

This is perhaps the most popular reason why people start fasting, especially when the bikini season is approaching. Fasting reduces one’s intake of calories.

weight loss smoothie

For health reasons

When no food is being digested, insulin is not produced—this beneficial for people having problems with their blood sugar levels.

Longevity

Research is yet to prove if intermittent fasting increases one’s longevity. A number of scientists and researchers, however, are convinced that it the key to long youth.

Religious reasons

Many religions across the world encourage their faithful to fast for different reasons, but mostly to effect prayers. It is seen as a sign of humility as well as an expression of deep grief and distress.

Such reasons will automatically determine the answer to the frequently asked question: what can you drink during intermittent fasting?

What Can You Drink During Intermittent Fasting?

1. Fat burning

Intermittent fasting promotes fat loss through two avenues:

  • No insulin is released as a result of carb consumption. Insulin drives fat storage.
  • Reduced caloric consumption to achieve a daily caloric deficit where you are burning more energy than you take into your body.

During the fating period, the goal is to prevent insulin release from the pancreas. To achieve this, you should not take in any calories, whether food or beverages. You can drink water or tea bu that should be it.

2. Health benefits of intermittent fasting

Here are some benefits of intermittent fasting that people claim to had:

  1. Cancer prevention
  2. Insulin sensitivity
  3. Brain health
  4. Reduced inflammation
  5. Increased longevity

Many people may not know that these studies have some serious limitations such as:

  • They are conducted on animals
  • They are performed in conditions that are outside the normal human biological context
  • Some factors remain purely theoretical
  • Some of these significant studies are not conducted with limitations in calorie intake.

In conclusion, there may be health benefits attributed to fasting, only that there is currently no strong evidence to prove it.

In this regard, it is hard to say which drinks would or would not affect the health benefits that are speculated to come with fasting. We would only advice you to:

  • Avoid too much alcohol
  • Avoid drinking processed beverages
  • Practice stress management and exercise regularly
drink during intermittent fasting

3. Fasting for religious reasons and testing for mental strength

These reasons are personal and we may not be able to provide a reasonable answer as to what you should drink. For religious purposes, you should check with the rules of fasting contained in your religion.

You should know, however, that fasting for very long periods is very dangerous and could quickly turn to starvation or even malnourishment. Intermittent fasting should, therefore, be supervised closely by a professional.

However, here are some beverages that won’t do so much harm during your fast (unless, of course, your religious rules restricts them):

Tea

All types of unsweetened tea are acceptable. Green tea is particularly helpful; it makes the fast easier by suppressing hunger as well as encouraging weight loss.

Coffee

Coffee is only good when it is plain. Sugar, cream, and milk all contain calories that will put you out of the fasting window. The caffeine content in plain black coffee can actually help you to lose body fat by speeding up the metabolism which leads to enhanced calorie burning. So, plain black coffee is permitted when you are intermittent fasting but you do not want to have too much of it. You do not want to overdose on the caffeine that it contains. This can lead to the jitters, dehydration and an energy crash. Drinking coffee in the evening may also promote insomnia. if you want a hot evening beverage that will not affect your sleep pattern and that is safe for intermittent fasting, go with herbal tea.

Water

You should drink plenty of water as you fast otherwise you will end up dehydrated and feeling very hungry. Water / mineral water, has many natural health benefits including keeping your joints lubricated, promoting healthy digestion and maintaining body temperature. But water will also help you to stay on track with your intermittent fasting plans. When you feel those familiar hunger pangs coming on, grab for your water bottle. The more hydrated you are, the less hungry you will feel.

Drinking water / mineral water can get a bit boring, especially if it is the only beverage that you allow yourself on an intermittent fasting diet. Fortunately, you are permitted to drink carbonated water beverages on intermittent fasting. This is great news, but you still need to be very careful about the specific brands of carbonated water that you choose. Some of them contain artificial sweeteners that have no place on an intermittent fasting diet. If you have access to a self-carbonating machine, such as a Sodastream, you can carbonate your own water. This way you will know that there are no artificial sweeteners in the bottle.

Be sure to avoid soda (whether diet or not), milk, alcohol and other drinks with high contents of sugar and fats. A lot of guys think that, because it is free of sugar, carbs and calories, diet soda is ok when you are intermittent fasting. However, there is more to the story that simply having no calories. Diet sodas are filled with artificial sweeteners. These are toxic to the body and they up your insulin resistance. This will make it more difficult for you to lose body fat. So, taking diet soda will defeat the whole purpose that you are doing intermittent fasting for in the first place.

Apple Cider Vinegar 

Drink apple cider vinegar for a whole lot of health benefits, including helping to promote weight loss. While you don’t want to take too much of it during your period of intermittent fasting, a little bit of apple cider vinegar can be a smart idea. A 2018 study found that apple cider vinegar promotes metabolic changes that induce fat loss. It led to a reduction in bad LDL cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels.

Dilute your apple cider vinegar in water to bring down its acidity. Just put a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in an 8-ouce glass of water. Having that once daily will not end up in you breaking your fast.

Another permissible beverage is bone broth. This is a nutritious stock that is produced when animal bones and are simmered. Bone broth may not be for everyone but for those who have not tried it give it a go.

Summary

When it comes to intermittent fasting, your fasting window is a time when you should be going zero calorie. The best way to do that is to restrict liquid intake to water only. That way you will be sure not to take in any artificial sweetener. Coffee and tea are ok, but make sure that they are plain, with no sugar, milk, or cream.

When you are breaking your fast keep make sure you eat healthy food to maintain the benefits of intermittent fasting. Those interested in reading more about the Atkins and Keto diets should read Keto Diet vs. Atkins: What Actually Is the Difference? You will learn about the ketogenic diet which includes bulletproof coffee.

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Steve (Qualfied Personal Trainer and Nutritionist)


Steve Theunissen has qualified from the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) and is a certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist. He has over 30 years experience in fitness and nutrition and currently working with famous fitness professionals. He is currently living in New Zealand with is wife and daughter.

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