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Intermittent Fasting: A Guide to taking Foods, Beverages, and Supplements During and After Fasting

Many people are embracing a lifestyle of fasting nowadays. It is not a new practice, though. Over the last centuries, people have practiced fasting for various reasons, such as health enhancement, spiritual experience, survival, and many more.

Basically, fasting is all about streamlining eating patterns, not selecting what to eat. Fasting refers to a period of complete or partial abstinence from food and drink. This period is also called “the fasting window.” After this time frame, the individual would have to “break the fast” by taking nutrients and water to replenish the body. However, there is a need to follow a systemic approach to breaking a fast. 

Some foods and supplements are excellent for breaking a fast, some do not give many benefits while a few are outrightly dangerous on an empty stomach. In this article, we shall discuss foods, beverages, and dietary supplements that help you derive the best value from your fast.

There are many fasting patterns. Some choose a fasting window ranging from 12-16 hours every day; others prefer a 24-48 hours fasting period once or twice every week. Intermittent fasting is not about restricting calorie intake alone. It also allows the body to take a break from performing digestive actions so that it focuses on self-repair and recovery

The body undergoes metabolic changes during the fasting period. If the fasting period continues for an extended period, the body assumes the state of Ketosis. At this stage, the body starts burning fat to provide energy after carbohydrates have been exhausted.

Another benefit of fasting is that it causes a decline in the level of glucose in the bloodstream. Fasting also initiates autophagy, a process through which the body eliminates harmful, impaired, and other unwanted body cells.

Research has also proved that fasting enhances weight loss, reduces inflammation, improves the immune system, and overall wellbeing.

NOTES

Fasting has been a prevalent art practiced by various civilizations for centuries. It is beneficial for healthy living, weight loss, many more.

Intermittent fasting refers to the art of periodic abstinence from food and drink. However, consuming some types of food and beverages does not annul the benefits of fasting.

Experts claim that individuals that consume below the 50gm of carbohydrates while fasting can attain and maintain Ketosis.

The Food and Beverages You Can Eat while Fasting

Here some food and beverages you can consume while fasting without “breaking your fast.”

  1. Water: Drinking pure water or carbonated keeps your body hydrated while fasting. They do not contain any calories at all.
  2. Tea and Coffee: You can drink tea and coffee during a fast provided you do not add milk, sugar, or cream. Some people prefer to add milk or fat to curb hunger pangs.
  3. Tempered Apple Cider Vinegar: When you drink a mixture of 1-2 teaspoonful of Apple Cider Vinegar in water, it keeps you hydrated and curbs hunger pangs.
  4. Healthy Fats: Drinking Coffee mixed with MCT Oil, Butter, Ghee, or Coconut Oil while fasting will break the fast, but keeps you in the Ketosis. This drink can also keep you going in-between meals.
  5. Bone Broth: This soup contains high levels of nutrients useful for replacing the electrolytes that were lost during protracted fasting.

Don’t forget that the consuming food and drinks that contain a substantial amount of calories such as healthy fats and bone broth will break your fast. But Low carbs and moderate protein diets will help you maintain Ketosis.

NOTES

Some people do consume a small amount of food during fasting; it’s a matter of choice. While some prefer low-carb beverages, others take bone broth or healthy fats.

The likelihood of suffering nutrient deficiency during a fast is low. However, factors such as the fasting duration and level of abstinence come to play.

Those that take diets low in vital nutrients such as minerals and vitamins can suffer nutrient deficiency after fasting for an extended period. That is why some people continue taking dietary supplements during a fast to prevent nutrient deficiency. 

Taking Supplements While Fasting

Do you take supplements while observing your fast? If you do, bear in mind that some types of supplements can break your fast. So, if you are on one of the supplements below, you may want to take it with meals after your fasting window is over.

Below is the list of supplements that can break your fast.

  • Protein Powder: The amount of calorie in a protein powder is high enough to trigger an insulin response, which tells the body to convert digested food into energy. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs): Research indicates that BCAAs can activate insulin response that halts autophagy. 
  • Gummy Multivitamins: This type of supplement combines small quantities of protein sugars and occasionally fats that could provide enough calories to break your fast.
  • Supplements with specific active ingredients: If your supplement contains components such as fruit juice concentrates, pectin, maltodextrin, or fruit sugar, the calories might be high enough to break your fast.

Supplements Less Likely to Break a Fast.

These supplements are less likely to break your fast.

Multivitamins: Taking multivitamins cannot break your fast provided they do not contain fillers or sugar content.

Fish Oil or Algae Oil: The calories in these supplements are low, and the carb content (if any) is not digestible.

Creatine: This compound does not carry calories and has no effect on insulin response.

Pure Collagen: This compound does not have a significant effect on Ketosis while fasting but seems to inhibit autophagy.

Micronutrients: Compounds such as potassium and vitamins cannot break your fast. However, Fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K absorb better when taken after a meal.

Probiotics and Prebiotics: These compounds neither contain calories nor digestible carbs.

NOTES

You can use supplements without disrupting your fasting. But some are more effective when taken after a meal.

The calories in some supplements are high enough to break a fast.

How to Break Your Fast

Since your gastro-intestinal track is more of less empty after your fast, you should take care not to upset your system when you finally want to eat. So, start breaking your fast with light food and abstain from overeating. 

Take food that can be digested easily. Food substances that contain high levels of fat, fiber, or sugars will not digest easily. These can upset your system, cause bloating and make you uncomfortable.

The other food substances that upset your digestive system include greasy foods, burgers, soda, or cake. Also, it is better to refrain from taking raw produce such as nuts and seeds. These can be difficult to digest due to the high fiber content.

The best approach to breaking your fast is to consume light food that is rich in nutrients and contains healthy fats. Such a menu will replenish your body after the fast without upsetting your system.

Consider any of the following food substances for breaking your fast.

  • Smoothie: The high nutrient content in fruit is excellent for breaking your fast. Better still, blend them into a smoothie to reduce the fiber content.
  • Dried Fruits: In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, dates are often eaten after fasting due to its high nutrient content. Raisin and Apricots are equally excellent alternatives.
  • Soups: Take light soup that contains a low amount of fiber and raw vegetables after a fast. Proteinous and carb-based soups made from lentils, pasta, or tofu are excellent options.
  • Vegetables: Succulent and starchy vegetables such as potato is an excellent option for breaking your fast.
  • Fermented Fruits: Consider taking kefir or plain yogurt as a light food option for breaking your fast.
  • Healthy Fats: Foods that contain healthy fats such as avocados or eggs are excellent options for breaking your fast.

The best way to break your fast is to eat nutritious foods that your digestive system can tolerate. The goal is to replenish body nutrients and electrolytes and gradually return to your regular diet. After breaking the fast with nutritious light food, you can add other healthy diets such as beans, whole grains, seed, poultry, dish, beef, and the likes. That is how to make the transition to your regular diet seamless.

It is crucial to avoid the pitfall of overeating. People can easily overeat once the fasting window is over and suppress the benefits of fasting. Consuming unhealthy diets after a fast can also erode the overall value derivable from fasting. Although there is no hard-fast rule governing the calories you should consume after the fasting window, it is beneficial to eat healthy diets with moderation. Eat whole foods that have not been processed extensively to maximize the rejuvenating benefits of fasting.

NOTES

Break your fast with light foods that your digestive system would tolerate. After fasting, avoid fatty, sugary, and high fiber diets. Most importantly, do not overeat.

You can consume fruits and supplements during or after your fasting window. However, some of these substances can “break your fast” if you eat them while fasting.

Choose low-calorie beverages and supplements if you must eat during your fast.

Eating a small amount of food during the fasting window can break your fast but keep you in the state of Ketosis.

Take light food that would not upset your system while breaking your fast. Foods that do not digest easily, such as fat, fiber, and complex carbs, are not suitable for breaking a fast. 

Light food helps you transit seamlessly to your regular diet.

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