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What to drink while intermittent fasting, and 5 beverages to avoid

One of the most common questions that comes up with intermittent fasting is, “What can I drink while intermittent fasting?” Most people know they’re supposed to avoid food while they’re fasting, but things get a little murkier when drinks are involved.

Intermittent fasting involves fasting for a certain amount of hours each day. 16:8 is a common intermittent fasting schedule, where you fast for 16 hours and eat all your meals in the remaining eight hours of your day. This type of fasting does not require that you abstain from water, so you can drink it regardless of where you’re at in your intermittent fasting schedule.

Why staying hydrated during intermittent fasting is important

While some fasting methods involve abstaining from food and drinks for a certain amount of time, adequate hydration is actually an important part of intermittent fasting.

For starters, a lot of the water we consume comes from foods like fruits and vegetables. When you’re fasting, you’re not getting any hydration from foods, so you’re more likely to get dehydrated. Drinking water throughout your fast helps you maintain the right hydration levels so your body can continue working as it should and maximize the benefits you’re getting from intermittent fasting.

Furthermore, drinking water can help curb hunger. Often when we start to feel hungry a quick glass of water can stave off hunger until it’s time to eat the next meal.

4 beverages you can drink without breaking your fast

Drinking throughout the day is key to successful intermittent fasting. Just be sure you’re staying hydrated with the right drinks. A general rule of thumb is to stick to zero-calorie, zero-sugar drinks. However, some minimal-calorie drinks are okay, as long as you don’t exceed 25 calories over a three-hour period.

Water. Water does more than just quench your thirst, so it should be your go-to beverage when you’re fasting. But if you don’t love the idea of drinking water all day long, don’t worry—there are a few other drinks you can alternate with water that won’t break your fast.

Coffee. Black coffee doesn’t have any calories, so it’s fine to drink when you’re fasting. However, adding sugar, cream, or milk will take you out of your fasting state. If you can’t live without your coffee add-ons, wait until after you’ve ended your fast to enjoy a cup of joe.

Tea. Tea is also calorie free and okay to be drunk while you’re fasting, as long as it’s brewed tea that comes from tea bags or tea leaves. Bottled iced tea, or any tea with added sweeteners or creams, will break your fast, so stick to the natural stuff when you’re fasting.

Unimate. Yerba mate has been traditionally used for hundreds of years to support mental clarity, endurance, appetite control, focus, and an improved mood. Unimate contains a proprietary yerba mate extract that supercharges these beneficial effects—and contains no added sugars, so you can drink it any time, whether it’s time to fast or eat. Many people who practice intermittent fasting drink Unimate first thing in the morning to help them extend their fast until lunchtime, getting the satiety, hydration, and mood support they need to start their day on the right foot.

In short, stick to drinks with very low calories (25 or less) and no sugar while you’re fasting. Water is best, but any of the drinks mentioned above are acceptable when you need to switch things up.

5 beverages to avoid while fasting

Many drinks will, however, break your fast, so be sure to avoid these drinks during your fasting window.

Coconut water. You might think that coconut water is good to drink while fasting since it has electrolytes, but it also has simple carbs that will take you out of your fast. So it’s best to stick to plain old water while you’re fasting.

Soda. Yes, even diet sodas. Regular soda is usually loaded with sugar and calories, and diet sodas often rely on artificial sweeteners to make up for the lack of sugar. For this reason, it’s best to limit soda as much as possible during your eating window, too, especially since it provides no nutritional value.

Bone broth. While some fasting methods give bone broth the okay, if you’re doing intermittent fasting, you’ll need to save it for your eating window. Bone broth contains protein, which will have an effect on your insulin levels (although not as much as carbohydrates will). The goal of intermittent fasting is to keep your insulin levels lowered while you’re fasting, which can’t happen if you’re sipping on bone broth.

Fruit juice. Fruit juices contain a high amount of sugar and will affect your blood sugar even more than solid sweet foods, since liquids take less time to digest. Basically, nothing will break your fast faster than a glass of juice, so save it for meal times (and even then drink it sparingly).

Alcohol. This goes without saying, but alcohol should never be consumed on an empty stomach, as this can intensify its effects. Alcohol is also high in calories, can cause a spike in blood sugar levels, and can be dehydrating, so it’s a no-go while you’re fasting.

Stay hydrated, the right way

Intermittent fasting is not a “dry fasting” method, meaning you have to avoid food and drinks to get the benefits. Staying hydrated is an important part of a successful intermittent fasting schedule—as long as you’re drinking the right drinks and avoiding beverages with a lot of sugar and calories.

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