Salt and Fasting: Can You Have Salt While Fasting?

Salt and Fasting: Can You Have Salt While Fasting?
Tim Börner

Tim Börner | Author

Tim Börner is a dedicated intermittent fasting advocate and user engagement specialist with a deep passion for promoting a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Based in Germany, Tim has been an integral part of the Fastic team for several years, where he combines his expertise in user engagement with his personal commitment to intermittent fasting. His approach is rooted in the belief that a harmonious blend of disciplined eating habits and mindful living is key to overall well-being.

Salt contains sodium, an essential electrolyte that you need to consume daily. An adequate salt intake during fasting is generally acceptable and, in some cases, encouraged. However, how you take it and how much you consume may vary based on personal factors like health conditions and activity level. 

If you struggle to track your macros while intermittent fasting, you need a way to document what you eat and drink during and after the fasting period. Download the Fastic app, which is a featureful assistant for intermittent fasting and can also help you track your salt intake. 

Does Salt Break a Fast?

Salt doesn’t break a fast, as it doesn’t contain carbohydrates, sugar, protein, or fat. Table salt is made of sodium and chlorine, so it has no calories. 

Taking a bit of salt in water won’t activate an insulin response, which breaks the fast in intermittent fasting.

If you’re dry fasting, for example, for religious reasons, you should avoid salt. Even though salt doesn’t spike insulin, it will break your dry fast. Any food or liquids, even those with zero calories, should be avoided in a dry fast. 

The Importance of Electrolytes and Fasting

Sodium and chloride, the main salt nutrients, are electrolytes. But salts, such as Himalayan salts, also contain other electrolytes like magnesium, potassium, and calcium. The electrolytes or minerals are essential for your body. They have an electric charge when dissolved in fluids, including blood. 

Here are some of the vital functions of electrolytes in the body:

  • Balance the pH level 

  • Help cells absorb nutrients

  • Move waste out of the cells

  • Balance water in the body

  • Helps with heart rate and rhythm by stabilizing blood pressure

  • Support for muscle and nerve function

It goes without saying that proper intake of these electrolytes is highly important. And if you’re fasting, you may need to supplement them, as your body loses electrolytes like sodium and potassium through urine. But contrary to popular opinion, this usually only happens during long fasting periods. 

Research indicates that electrolyte excretion is rapid at the beginning of the fast and slows down later. 

Things change if you’re also active during the fasting period. Physical activity, especially moderate to intense, results in sweating, and you lose electrolytes through sweat. So, you may need to supplement them by taking salt or an electrolyte drink with zero calories. 

salt and fasting

Signs of Electrolyte Imbalance

Most individuals may not experience an electrolyte imbalance due to fasting, especially if their fasting window is short. It takes 24 to 48 hours for electrolytes to deplete from your body. That said, looking for signs of an electrolyte imbalance, especially sodium, is important. 

Remember that other factors, such as conditions like electrolyte deficiency disorders, may also be responsible for your body's low sodium. 

Symptoms of low levels of sodium include:

  • Headaches

  • Lightheadedness or dizziness

  • Nausea 

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle cramps

If you feel any of these symptoms while fasting, take salt with some water to supplement sodium and other electrolytes. 

How Much Salt Do You Need Per Day?

The recommended daily intake of sodium is 1,500 mg. The Food and Drug Administration has put the limit at 2,300 mg per day, whereas the World Health Organization (WHO) limits the intake to 2,000 mg for adults. 

As for other electrolytes found in salt, here are the recommended daily intake values:

  • Chloride – 2,300 mg

  • Potassium – 4,700 mg

  • Magnesium – 320 mg (women), 420 mg (men)

  • Calcium – 1,000 mg

In addition to salt, you can also get these electrolytes through food sources. For instance, bananas are rich in potassium, while milk contains calcium. 

One of the highlighting benefits of using the Fastic app for intermittent fasting is that you can track everything you eat and the calories and nutrients in them. So you easily make up for any deficiencies in key nutrients like sodium. 

How Much Salt Should I Take While Fasting?

If you want to replenish sodium and other electrolytes while fasting, you can take some salt on its own or have it with water. You can take 2-3 g of salt while fasting and 3-4 g if you also work out during your fast. 

Keep in mind that you also get salt in the food that you eat during your eating window. You don’t want to take too much salt, either. It’s best to keep track of your sodium intake and supplement conservatively or only when necessary. 

Don’t Ignore Sodium

For years, salt has had a bad rap in the nutrition world, but sodium and other electrolytes found in salt are very important for healthy body functioning. It’s important to ensure you get enough sodium through your diet and supplement it where necessary. 

You can take salt while fasting, but don’t go too overboard. Electrolyte supplementation is highly recommended when fasting for 24 hours or more. 

Disclaimer: It is advised to speak with a health professional before beginning intermittent fasting or a diet program. There may be side effects for people with certain medical conditions. 

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