Here’s a quick look at the key points to remember about what you should and shouldn’t have during the “fasting phase” of your regimen. Of course, you can drink whatever you want during the feeding phase.
Know Your Phases
The central concept behind a fast is that there’s a feeding phase of several hours, followed by a fasting phase. Many people fast for 16 hours and maintain an “eating window” of 8 hours. Whatever you do, the general rule is that you can only consume water and a couple of other liquids during the fasting phase.
Not All Liquids Are Created Equal
Water is always allowed, but people need to be careful of no-calorie beverages that nonetheless contain artificial sweeteners. These fake forms of sugar, like sucrose, mess with your insulin response and can wreak havoc with your results. So, it’s wise to avoid them. By the way, that’s why most experts say you should avoid diet soda during intermittent fasting.
Other liquids are a mixed bag. See the listing below.
Tea and Coffee
If you drink your coffee and tea without sugar or artificial sweeteners, these drinks are okay during a fast. Try to go easy on the coffee due to its high caffeine content. If you are a fan of high-fat, high-calorie “bulletproof coffee,” drink it during your feeding phase but stay away from it during the fasting phase due to its caloric content.
While engaged in intermittent fasting green tea is an excellent choice when you tire of water. You can consume green tea, or any tea, either hot or cold, don’t have to add any sweetener and can get some substantial nutritional value from it as well.
Infused Water and Fruit Juices
Fruit juices are very nutritious, but you shouldn’t drink them during the fasting phase of an intermittent program. They contain too many calories. Even so-called “infused water” contains a few calories and natural sugars. That’s why during intermittent fasting infused water is a no-no. Some people drink it every day and love the stuff. If you are among that crowd, add some infused water during the eating phase and have it with a meal or as an in-between meal beverage break, but don’t have it during the fasting phase.
Sports Drinks and Diet Soda
Sports drinks you buy at retail stores contain sugar or large amounts of sugar substitutes. Even though you’ll find a few with zero calories, steer clear of them because they trick your insulin response system and throw fasting goals out of whack.
The same goes for diet sodas. Technically, you feel safe because of the “zero calories” label, but they all contain forms of artificial sweetener like aspartame or sucrose. They defeat the purpose of intermittent fasting.
Be careful because there are many packaged, retail bone broths that contain a lot of calories. Even if you make it at home, it technically is a fast-breaker, so it’s best to save this highly nutritious liquid for your eating cycle.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Apple cider vinegar helps with digestion and is okay to drink during a fast, anytime you want it. Some people can’t deal with the harsh taste, but there’s a workaround: mix a couple of tablespoons of ACV with water and drink it hot. The added water kills the intense flavor, but it also combines with the ACV to make a delicious warm beverage.
What’s the Bottom Line on Beverages for Fasting?
The “big picture” of what you can drink during the fasting phase of an intermittent program is short and sweet, no pun intended. Plain water, seltzer water, tea, coffee, and apple cider vinegar are a-OK as long as they don’t contain any sugar or artificial sweeteners, and as long as you don’t add any sweeteners of any kind to them. If there are some “forbidden” beverages during the fasting phase that you can’t live without, like a daily soda or some bulletproof coffee, enjoy them during the eating phase of your program.