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- Eating or drinking anything that contains calories will break a fast. Calories should be consumed during your eating window.
- You can (and should!) definitely drink water during intermittent fasting. If you prefer lemon water, you can also add a slice of lemon to your water.
- You should avoid drinking diet sodas during your fasting windows because study results are mixed on how artificial sweeteners would impact insulin levels.
Intermittent fasting holds the potential for a myriad of health benefits, all without counting calories or hours of preparation. No wonder so many people have been trying (and raving about) it!
Despite what it might sound like, intermittent fasting is NOT about starving yourself. It’s more about when you eat, than how much you eat.
So what exactly can you consume while following an intermittent fasting plan? And are there drinks that can make it easier or more effective?
We wanted to get to the bottom of that question, and here’s what we discovered: there are entirely different guidelines for what you can eat and drink to get the most out of intermittent fasting. And it all depends on whether you’re in your eating window or your fasting window.
Eating Windows vs. Fasting Windows
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that breaks your day into two parts:
- Eating (or feeding) windows, and
- Fasting windows (not eating)
There are actually a variety of intermittent fasting schedules you can follow to determine what hours of the day these windows actually include.
The most common schedule is the 16/8 plan, which means you eat for an 8-hour window and fast for 16 hours. You can also choose to do shorter or longer eating windows, or even opt for alternate-day fasting.
If you’re new to this way of eating and need help getting started, definitely check out our Beginner’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting.
During your fasting period, you want to refrain from consuming any food or beverages that contain calories. So….. no food. But you have several beverage options, and these are important because it is critical to keep yourself hydrated while fasting.
What Can You Drink During Intermittent Fasting?
Beverages can be a life-saver when it comes to fighting off hunger pangs and cravings during your fasting windows. There are even certain drinks that can help enhance the benefits of your intermittent fasting plan. Sweet!
5 Drinks That Won’t Break A Fast
- Bone Broth
- Apple Cider Vinegar
You can (and should!) definitely drink water during your fasting windows. Water is always a great choice, all day long, every day. It can be still or sparkling, whatever you enjoy. If you prefer lemon water, you can also add a squeeze of lemon (or lime) to your water. For other fun flavor variations, try infusing a pitcher of water with cucumber or orange slices.
But make sure you stay away from any artificially-sweetened water enhancers (like Crystal Light). It is unclear how sweetener could interfere with your fast!
Black coffee is a calorie-free beverage that doesn’t affect insulin levels. You can drink regular coffee (caffeinated) or decaf coffee during fasting windows, just don’t add any sweetener or milk. Spices like cinnamon are totally fine!
Many coffee-drinkers enjoy a cup of joe, or even espresso, during fasting windows with no adverse effects. But some people experience a racing heart or upset stomach if they drink coffee during fasting windows, so monitor your own experience.
Bonus: black coffee might actually enhance some of the benefits of intermittent fasting, and it’s quite popular with people who also follow a keto diet. This study demonstrated that taking in caffeine seems to support ketone production. Coffee has also been shown to support healthy blood sugar levels over the long term. (1)
3. Bone Broth
Bone broth (or vegetable broth) is recommended for any time you decide to fast for 24 hours or more. While it has calories, it does not contain any carbohydrate, so it helps you stay in ketosis.
A good homemade broth, or one made by a trusted source, is the way to go.
Help increase your satiety naturally with tea! It just might be the secret weapon that, not only makes your fasting plan easier but also more successful. Read our primer on how to use tea to enhance your intermittent fasting plan.
All types of tea are great to drink during a fast, including green, black, oolong and herbal teas. Tea boosts the effectiveness of intermittent fasting by supporting gut health, probiotic balance, and cellular health. (2)
Green tea, in particular, has been proven to help increase satiety and support healthy weight management.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV seems to help to support healthy blood sugar and digestion. It may even enhance the effects of your intermittent fasting plan!
If you aren’t a fan of the apple cider vinegar drink, try it as salad dressing during eating windows. It’s good for you any time of the day!
Are There Drinks You Should Avoid During Intermittent Fasting?
4 Drinks That Break A Fast
- Diet Soda
- Almond Milk
- Coconut Water
Can You Drink Diet Soda While Intermittent Fasting?
Even though diet soda is technically free of calories, it’s unclear how artificial sweeteners may impact fasting.
Can You Almond Milk While Intermittent Fasting? What about Coconut Water?
Almond milk and coconut water both tend to be very high in sugar. Sugar equals carbs, so as soon as you consume these, you are no longer considered to be fasting. You want to avoid drinking these during fasting windows.
Can You Drink Alcohol While Intermittent Fasting?
On intermittent fasting days, it’s best to limit alcohol consumption to your eating windows. Most alcoholic beverages are high in sugar and calories, so drinking alcohol can easily break your fast. Plus, alcohol affects us more on an empty stomach, so even one glass of wine during a fasting window might feel awful the next day!
Recap: What’s Allowed During Intermittent Fasting
Generally speaking, consuming any form of calories will break a fast. Therefore, no food is allowed during your fasting window. However, there are many non-caloric beverages that you can enjoy while intermittent fasting like black coffee, tea, water, and lemon water.
So many diets fail because they’re complicated or too difficult to follow. The popularity and success of intermittent fasting are attributable to the fact that it is incredibly simple. Follow these basic guidelines of what to drink to best support your fasting schedule, and you should be well on your way to reaping the amazing benefits of fasting. Good luck!
Jessica Ederer, JD, CPT, FNS, RYT
Pique’s Head of Content & Wellness Education, is a Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, RYT, and holds a JD from UC Berkeley. After 10 years as a practicing trial lawyer, she shifted gears and has spent the past 9 years as a health coach, educator and writer. It’s her passion to help people learn sustainable, effective ways to unlock their full wellness potential. When she’s not teaching or writing, you can find her hiking, mountain biking, cycling, backcountry skiing, camping and drinking anywhere from 5-7 cups of tea per day.
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