Intermittent Fasting: What Can You Drink While Fasting?
July 2, 2021
Hydration for your fasting window
If you’re new to intermittent fasting with Fastic, you might be wondering what type of schedule works for you, what health benefits can be gained, and what side-effects to expect. Still, a topic that’s on a lot of people's lips is drinks during the fasting phase:
“What kind of beverages can I consume during my fasting period?”
To answer your question, we’ve compiled a short guide on what you need to know about the most popular drinks for your fasting phase, and some of the most common questions we've received from you on the topic. Since you might want to sip on your favorite drinks while fasting, it could be useful to find out whether or not they’ll have an impact on your fasted state.
Recap: Can I eat while fasting?
Fasting consists of voluntarily abstaining from food and drink for varying lengths of time. The idea is to refrain from ingesting calories, which is why water, coffee and some other almost calorie-free drinks, are permitted during the fast and between meals.
The goal of intermittent fasting isn’t only to cut down on calories but also to give your body a break from digestion so it can concentrate on maintenance and repair. You can eat normally while intermittent fasting, without the need to diet or restrict food groups to lose weight successfully. Just remember that “eating normally” doesn't imply bingeing throughout your eating windows. If you fill your meals and snacks with junk food that has little nutritional value, super-sized fried foods and sweets, you could still find it hard to lose weight or improve your health.
That being said, many people appreciate the flexibility of intermittent fasting. It enables them to consume what they want and enjoy a wide variety of meals and foods. The goal is balance; for people to eat healthily and with enjoyment, without having to skip out on the social aspect of having a meal. Eating with people is essential for both happiness and health.
Now that we're all caught up, on to drinks!
Can I drink water while fasting? Yep! ✓
Be water, my friend. Adapt your drinking habits and see water as your new BFF. It’s the source of life and thus essential to our health, so drink up. Not only is water vital to stay hydrated, it also helps you feel full and prevents those hunger pangs. We often eat when we actually feel thirsty, so take this opportunity to listen to your body and give it what it really craves.
Tip: Start a habit of drinking enough water by linking it to your bathroom break. One cup after each visit and you’re sorted.
Can I drink seltzer water while intermittent fasting? Yes! ✓
Mineral water, carbonated water, soda water, sparking water, seltzer water. The bubbling stuff has many names! Sparkling water is one of the best beverages to drink during a fasting window since it has zero calories. Carbonated water, often known as seltzer, is produced by mixing carbon dioxide gas with still water. Simply preparing a seltzer with filtered water and nothing else results in a beverage void of calories, sugar, and carbohydrates. There are no sugars or artificial sweeteners (like the ones in diet soda), so there is no need to worry about it breaking your fast. Even seltzers like La Croix and Spindrift are okay, as they aren't flavored, but rather infused, with the essence of different fruits. So sip away and enjoy this healthy glass of bubbly!
Does fruit infused water break a fast? Nope! ✓
If you’re bored of plain H20, test the waters a little. Add some oomph to it and sip on some infused water instead. It will give your body the fluid it needs to perform essential body-repairing functions, all while satisfying your senses. Add a slice of fruit and top it up with some still or sparkling water for a burst of freshness.
Tip: Simply adding fruit to your water won’t break your fast, since only the essence will be released, not the juices. Try out strawberry infused water, grapefruit infused water or cardamom infused water for some added health benefits!
You can also add fresh herbs and spices to give your water even more of a boost. Grapefruit water can be paired with fresh basil for an interesting infusion. Or try cucumber water with mint! Cucumbers’ low sugar and calorie content make it the perfect infusion ingredient. Cardamom has been shown to help reduce water retention in the body, meaning a bit in water can potentially help bloating.
Does lemon water break a fast? Probably not ✓
We've got an exception if you love a splash of lemon in your water. Lemon contains Vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant and strengthens the immune system. Most of the time, you probably won’t need to break your fast to drink water with a small squeeze of lemon because lemons have so few calories. That being said, if you want to stay on the 'safe' side and not take the chance of triggering an insulin response, save the splash for your eating window.
What happens if I eat the fruit in fruit infused water? Is it going to break my fast? Probably ✗
Fruit may be a delicious and satisfying source of nutrients to consume during your eating window, but that's where it should stay! While intermittent fasting, you shouldn't consume any of the fruit in the water. It contains fructose and calories that can trigger an insulin response in your body, bringing you out of the fasted phase and therefore out of fat burning, autophagy and putting an end to all those other wonderful benefits of fasting we know and love!
Can I drink flavored water while fasting? Nope! ✗
We've talked about how important it is to stay hydrated during your fasting window, but not all water is created equal. Regular water and infused water are fine to drink during the fast, but the consumption of sugar-heavy beverages triggers an increase in insulin secretion, pulling you out of your fast. Hold off on drinking anything with added sugar or artificial sweetener. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame, erythritol, stevia, and others can still trigger an insulin response in the body the same way full-sugar options do, although they don’t have any calories.
Can I drink coffee on a Fast? Yep! ✓
For many of us, the day doesn’t really begin until we’ve sipped on a good cup of coffee. (It’s true for the Fastic team as well!) But can you drink it while fasting? Well, the answer is pretty much black and white. Black coffee is essentially calorie-free, so it’s absolutely fine to enjoy in moderation during your fasting phase. But adding milk, cream, or sugar is best avoided, since the energy in the added calories can bring you out of your fasted state.
Tip: If you want to tease your taste buds, jazz your coffee up with spices like cinnamon, turmeric or cardamom.
Can I drink tea on a fast? Yep! ✓
If coffee isn’t your cup of tea, then well, go for tea instead. Just like coffee, tea is virtually calorie-free and safe to consume while fasting. As long as it’s from tea bags or leaves, and you skip the add-ons like milk and sugar. Store-bought iced tea tends to be full of unnecessary sugar and calories, so try to steer clear of those bottles.
Tip: Steep your own iced tea, adding as much water as you like. Try not to consume the berries, as they could bring you out of your fasted state.
Can I drink bedtime teas like valerian root or chamomile? Yep! ✓
Just like coffee, aim to cut back on tea at night time, as the caffeine in both green and black tea can disrupt your sleep. Stick to chamomile or valerian root to ease you into your bedtime. Valerian root has been used for generations to help people go to sleep and is often praised for its calming effect.
Can I drink soda or alcohol while fasting? Nope! ✗
So’da real culprit is right here. Soda, be it regular or diet, will affect your fasting phase. It’s usually packed with sugar and empty calories, without offering any nutritional value. And diet drinks that contain artificial sweeteners have been shown to produce the same insulin response as drinking the full sugary version. Your body simply won’t be able to differentiate between the two.
Tip: If you’re still craving your favorite fizzy drink, shake up your own infused soda water. Again, refrain from eating the fruit to remain in your fasted state.
Without trying to break anyone’s spirit, alcohol is also on the list of drinks to avoid when it comes to the fasting period. Not only does it contain a considerable amount of calories, it can also stimulate your appetite and worsen your cravings. Plus, when consumed on an empty stomach, the effects of alcohol are intensified – far from ideal during the fasting phase.
Tip: If you’re in the mood for a drink, enjoy a glass of dry red or white wine with your dinner.
Drink to your health
At the end of the day, the idea is to consume as close to zero calories as possible during the fasting phase. If you’re able to skip the add-ons in your hot beverages, as well as the sweetened drinks and booze, you’re on the right track. Be gentle on yourself if you swerve off now and again, you’re only human.
You can already pat yourself on the back for using Fastic and educating yourself on how to follow intermittent fasting. Not long until you become a pro at this!