Intermittent fasting is all the rage these days. And with its purported health benefits, it’s certainly one to try!
There’s definitely something appealing about a plan that only contains one essential “rule.” And that rule is: eat for these hours but don’t eat for the others.
For people who follow a keto diet, it’s not hard to overlap intermittent fasting with it. But when it comes time to actually do it, questions may pop up. And one of those questions is, what can I drink?
Windows for Eating and Windows for Fasting
The first thing you have to determine for intermittent fasting is when you are going to eat. This is called your…eating window. Likewise, the period of time you abstain from food is your…fasting window.
A popular split between the two is the 16/8 plan. You eat for 8 hours, you don’t eat for 16.
It seems simple enough, right?
The one caveat is that you only must abstain from food during the fasting window. In other words, drinks are allowed.
But exactly what kind of drinks are permitted can be tricky, because some are better than others.
Best Drinks While Fasting
When someone tells you that you cannot eat, what’s the first thing you want to do? Yep, you guessed it—cue the hunger pangs, right? That’s why it’s important to keep yourself hydrated during the fasting window.
Otherwise, when it’s time to eat, you’ll overeat. One way to stave off hunger is by tricking your starvation mentality with liquid consumption. And for this purpose, there are certain drinks that are superior to others.
With that said, here are 5 best drinks you can enjoy during your fasting windows:
- Water — This is one drink that you should be consuming in high volume anyways. So why not get more in during the fasting window? It’s even ok to flavor it with a few drops of citrus, cukes, or mint. Sparkling is fine too. Just watch the canned stuff for sneaky added sugar and artificial sweeteners.
- Coffee — Black coffee contains no calories, so it’s fine to drink while fasting. Feel free to spice it up (with actual spices), but sweeteners/creamers of any kind are a big N-O. And there’s a bonus for keto diet followers. The caffeine in a cup o’ joe aids ketone metabolism!
- Tea — Feel free to steep away, because all types of tea are fine to drink while fasting! Just as with coffee, feel free to add spices, just no sweeteners. If you’re unsure of which tea to go for, try green tea! It’s been shown to support weight loss by controlling hunger.
- Apple Cider Vinegar — Ok, so you’re not going to down this by the glass. But this type of vinegar has tons of health benefits that support keto diets. These include better blood sugar control and digestion. You can mix it with water while fasting to make it more palatable. Or try sprinkling it over salad or veggies when you can eat.
- Bone Broth — If you’re feeling like you need a little more sustenance while fasting, try bone (or veggie) broth. It’s better to make it yourself though. Canned and boxed varieties almost certainly contain calories and loads of preservatives, too.
The Gray Area
Here’s where drinking fasting-approved beverages gets tricky. And that’s because even though some claim to be sugar-free or diet they can lead your body away from a fasting state. Beware of diet sodas, almond milk, coconut water, and alcohol for this reason.
Diet sodas are just…well, icky in general. All those preservatives and fake sweeteners just have no place in the temple that is your body. If you have a dependency on diet soda, try to curb your intake every day until you’re off them altogether.
As far as almond milk and coconut water, it’s next to impossible to find these manufactured without carbs. And if they claim to be diet/sugar-free, you’ll run into the same issues as with diet soda. It’s best to avoid them altogether while fasting.
Finally, while some alcohols can be free from carbs, should you really be drinking on an empty stomach? I think you know the answer here…
A Few Beverage Tips and Drink Tricks
You might have experienced uncomfortable symptoms when becoming ketotic. Unfortunately, intermittent fasting can do the same. Here are a few fasting modifications-to-symptom matches to get you through the acclimation period.
- Hunger — Try sparkling mineral water, green tea, and cinnamon-infused hot beverages like coffee.
- Headaches — this almost always has to do with dehydration. Up your water intake and try adding in mineral water to replace salt.
- Constipation — During your eating window, up your fiber intake. You can do this with veggies, (keto-approved) fruit, and soaked chia seeds. Upping your total water consumption will help move things along too.
- Dizziness — Again, dehydration is probably to blame here. Up the amount of water, you’re drinking, or add in mineral water if you’re not already drinking that.
- Muscle cramping — Magnesium is your best friend to help with this. You can either take a mag supplement or soak in it via Epsom salt baths.
There you have it—your complete guide for drinking while intermittent fasting!
By Tina Alexandre | Source