Fasting: What Breaks the Cycle?

a plate that is also a clock

Fasting is an amazingly versatile way to add variety to dieting, and it works well for many folks. Granted, this strategy is not for everyone – just a few hours of fasting might not have you feeling the greatest, while others can go for much longer stretches of time with no issues.


So, what actually counts as breaking a fast? Technically, anything that you have consumed that has calories (whether it be through food or drink) would break a fast. There are many different ways this can happen, and several ways of breaking a fast coincides with certain weight loss programs, so finding the one that is right for you and your goals is key. Knowing the reason and decision behind why you are fasting is important, and this will correlate with if you are actually breaking your fast or not with what you’re consuming. Many folks are fasting for weight loss as well as overall health benefits, although there are also many other reasons like religion to decide to fast.


Determining what breaks a fast is important, as well as when. Depending on whether you are intermittently fasting, or doing a 16 hour fast (like if you were to eat breakfast and lunch, but skip dinner), how your body will react to the break in the fast is variable for each person. Fatigue and increase in blood sugar are just some of the reactions that you might experience.  


Our bodies go through somewhat of a fasted state on a daily basis, especially while we’re sleeping for longer periods at night. For your body to be in a fasting state, it cannot be in the process of breaking down any food in your digestive system. That being said, anything that is consumed that has calories would break a fast – this would include creamer in your morning coffee, protein powders, and different types of broths, to name a few.


Now that we know just some of the items that break a fast – what can you have during your fasting time that won’t break the cycle? Water is always a good go-to, including sparkling water. Black coffee is another safe drink, as is green tea. So long as there are no added sugars in your drinks (or anything else that could contribute calories), you’ll be good to go!


Be aware of drinks that claim to have zero calories – some of them have a lot of artificial ingredients that aren’t great for your health; likewise, watch out for supplements (like BCAA’s and protein) that you can add to water…these are also going to mess with the benefits of fasting.


In a nutshell, any drinks that contains calories will break a fast…so, if you stick to the calorie-free liquids listed above, you should be just fine in maintaining your fast without any issues.


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