What to Drink During Intermittent Fasting

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Intermittent fasting is a diet plan that focuses on when rather than what you eat. This means that you abstain from consuming calories for a set amount of time each day or week and only eat within a specific time window. There are many approaches to intermittent fasting, but the most popular ones include 16:8 fasting (16 hours of fasting and an 8-hour window for eating), 5:2 fasting (completely fast or only eat one small meal 2 days a week), and alternate-day fasting (completely fast or only eat one small meal every other day). 

During fasting, the body starts burning fat once all the sugar stores have been depleted. This metabolic switch is why intermittent fasting can be a way to lose weight. In addition to weight loss, intermittent fasting has been shown to have other health benefits. This is because it allows the cells of your body to enter into a process called autophagy. Autophagy is important for the removal of damaged or dysfunctional cell parts and proteins that can cause harm to the cell and lead to diseases, such as lupus and some types of cancer.

If you decide to try intermittent fasting, it is pretty straightforward that you don’t eat anything within the fasting window. However, there is some ambiguity when it comes to what you are allowed to drink during this time. Read on to find out what you can drink while fasting to ensure that you receive the full benefits of this diet plan. 

What Can You Drink During Intermittent Fasting?

It is important to stay hydrated while fasting, but it is also important to abstain from consuming calories to ensure that your body makes the necessary metabolic switch. This means that any calorie-containing beverages should be avoided during fasting windows. Of course, water is the best option. However, if you find yourself needing something more to help you through your fast, there are some other zero-calorie beverages that won’t break your fast.  

Can You Drink Flavored Water While Fasting?

Some flavored waters, including carbonated or seltzer waters, are okay to have while fasting. However, it is important to read the nutritional labels to ensure that there are no added sweeteners or juices. It is also best to avoid drinks containing zero-calorie artificial sweeteners. Even though these sweeteners won’t technically break your fast, they can increase your insulin levels and cause sugar cravings. Plain seltzer water and naturally flavored waters are the best choices. You can even make your own infused water using fresh ingredients. Just simply slice up lemon and cucumber and add it to a pitcher of water. Fresh herbs, such as mint or rosemary, can also be added to liven up the concoction.   

Can You Drink Coffee While Fasting?

It is fine to drink coffee while fasting as long as it is black. Coffee is naturally calorie-free, but adding any sugar, creamer or milk adds calories and will break your fast. As mentioned above, it is also best to avoid zero-calorie artificial sweeteners because they can cause sugar cravings. If you really don’t like black coffee, you can try adding flavor by experimenting with calorie-free spices, such as cinnamon.   

Can You Drink Tea While Fasting?

Like coffee, simply brewed tea from tea bags or leaves does not contain any calories and is fine to drink while fasting. This goes for all types of tea (like green, black, white and jasmine). However, again, adding any caloric sweeteners, milk and honey should be avoided while fasting. Similar with flavored waters, it is important to check that any bottled teas are simply brewed and unsweetened.      

Can You Drink Diet Soda While Fasting?

Drinking diet soda during a fast technically will not break your fast. However, diet sodas contain artificial sweeteners, which can still spike your insulin levels and often lead to sugar cravings. Even though diet sodas do not contain calories, it is best to avoid them during fasting windows because they can make fasting more challenging.

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