It seems like everywhere you look, there is a different answer to this question, so before diving into the list of approved fasting beverages, so before we dive into what you can drink while intermittent fasting, let’s first go over the different types of fasts.
Type of fasts:
This type of fast is not recommended for beginners, as it does call for complete abstinence from both food and water for a set period of time. Those considering a dry fast should first experiment with a few of the less rigid forms of fasting, and those with underlying health conditions should avoid this type of fasting. Please consult with your doctor before beginning a dry fast or any extended fast, as those do require a slightly different approach.
A water fast, as the name suggests, is a water-only fast. For this type of fast, the only beverage you should be consuming is water. Those undergoing a water fast are NOT to drink coffee, tea, diet soda, or any other beverage that is not pure water.
Extended fasts are another form of fasting not recommended for individuals just getting started. Not only does this type of fast require you to abstain from all food and drink for over 24 hours, but as with the dry fast, extended fasting is a bit more complicated in terms of individual needs. These 24+ hour fasts should only be attempted by those comfortable with intermittent fasting first, and medical supervision is also recomended.
Intermittent fasting is one of the most popular – and versatile – fasting methods out there. For this type of fast, you must first determine what your eating and fasting schedule will be. If you decide to follow the 18:6 fast, for example, you will be fasting for 18 hours and feeding for the remaining 6.
So what can I drink while intermittent fasting?
Luckily, there are still quite a few drinks you can still enjoy that won’t break your fast. Keep reading to find out what exactly you can and cannot drink while intermittent fasting, along with some key pointers for beginners just starting out.
I will also share some of the best tips for coffee drinkers as well as some black coffee tricks that have helped countless fasters make the switch and ditch cream and sugar for good.
Drinks that Won’t Break A Fast:
For this article, we are only going to focus on intermittent fasting – specifically answering the question “what can I drink while intermittent fasting.”
Strict fasters believe that water is the only beverage that should be consumed during the fasting window. In contrast, slightly more lenient fasters may opt to consume a small amount of calories and artificial sweeteners.
While I am not as extreme as the “only water” bunch, I do agree that a successful fasting period should be completely free of calories and most artificial sweeteners (more on that later).
How much water should I drink intermittent fasting?
It should go without saying that water is undeniably the single most important thing you should be drinking while intermittent fasting. Most adults should be drinking at least 64 ounces of water per day – or at least 2.5 liters. Depending on gender, activity level, and where you live, this number can vary but aim to be drinking about 1/2 an ounce of water for every pound that you weigh. (Example: 150lbs should be consuming about 75 ounces of water per day.)
Do not underestimate the importance of water! Your water intake ALONE can make the difference between a successful day of fasting and a mediocre one – and for more reasons than you think.
1. Water intake naturally goes down while intermittent fasting.
Because a large portion of the water we consume is through the foods we eat, we lose a lot of the hydration coming in when we decrease our food intake through intermittent fasting – making it that much more critical to increase our water intake. We also need this extra water while fasting to help flush our systems out and keep our internal physiological processes operating at peak levels.
2. Dehydration can lead to mood issues, hunger, and decreased brain functions.
Next time you’re in an irritable mood, try this: step away, pour a large glass of water, drink it, and wait five minutes. You will be amazed by how much better you feel just doing this. We often mistake dehydration for hunger and exhaustion, when really all our bodies need is some old fashioned H2O.
3. Intermittent fasting changes the way our bodies operate on a cellular level.
From regulating your hormones to speeding up cell turnover and waste removal, intermittent fasting boosts your body’s ability to clean itself and rid itself of all that is no longer serving you. Drinking water helps facilitate these processes while keeping your mind and body functioning at an optimal level.
The main takeaway you should have gotten from this is to PRIORITIZE WATER.
Find a water bottle you love, carry it with you everywhere, and make it EASY on yourself to stay hydrated. This tip alone will make your entire fasting experience that much easier. Trust me.
Sparking water while fasting
After water, sparking water is arguably one of the favorite beverages in the fasting community. Because sparkling water does not contain any artificial sweeteners, you may consume them freely throughout your fast.
There are countless brands and flavors to choose from, but the store brand is often cheaper and just as tasty as some of the more expensive brands out there like La Croix.
Can I drink tea while fasting?
Yes, steeped tea and iced tea can be consumed while fasting, as long as they are unsweetened and do not contain milk or creamer. Herbal tea, black tea, and green tea may be consumed freely – but fermented teas like kombucha should be avoided while fasting – as they do contain a small amount of sugar and calories.
Author’s Note: Some people (myself included) are extremely sensitive to tannins (an ingredient found in tea). I feel deathly nauseous when I drink most iced teas on an empty stomach, so I am very careful to avoid black and green iced tea before I have eaten. In the past, I noticed that green tea sometimes made me feel super sick, but it wasn’t until I started fasting that I put two and two together.
If you happen to be a tea lover but hate that it turns your stomach, just remember to pair it with a bit of food and your nausea should go away. Of course, this will break a fast, so wait until your feeding window to drink tea if this is a concern for you. I’ve also found that Starbucks Passion Tea (no sweetener!) doesn’t have this nauseating affect on me, so if you want to drink iced tea on your fast but are nervous about feeling queasy, you may want to give that one a try too.
Will coffee break my fast?
If you are a coffee drinker, then hopefully, you enjoy it black because that’s the only way you should be drinking it while fasting. Since black coffee doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners (which some suggest may cause a spike in blood sugar), it also happens to be one of the more universally accepted beverages compatible with nearly all intermittent fasting programs.
💡 PRO TIP: Blend your black coffee with ice! Not only does this take a bit of the bitter edge off, but the result is a frothy and slightly “creamy” drink that almost tastes like a treat!
Can I put creamer in my coffee while fasting?
No. If you are intermittent fasting, avoid using creamer in your coffee, as it does contain fat, calories, and often extra sugar that may disrupt the fasting process.
A lot of new fasters find this rule to be one of the daunting when starting a fast, so I urge you to take a different approach if you find yourself avoiding intermittent fasting altogether because you “hate drinking black coffee.”
Important Note: If this reason alone is why you are AVOIDING intermittent fasting altogether, take a step back and adopt a more holistic approach. Give your tastebuds a chance to adapt to unsweetened creamer first, then slowly cut back and reassess the “black coffee” situation in a couple of weeks. You will be surprised by how quickly your tastes change, and on a scale of BIG DEAL to minor issue, creamer is at the bottom of the list.
There is so much to be gained from intermittent fasting. I.F. isn’t a crash diet, it’s a way of life. As you begin fasting, many aspects of your life will change. Not only will your relationship with food transform, but you will start feeling much more in tune with your body – in turn leading to more positive behavioral changes that will simplify and facilitate every aspect of your life.
So does milk in coffee break a fast? Yes, but for now, don’t get hung up on this detail. There will be plenty of time to adjust your fast later, but for now – you’d be wise to focus on the BIG stuff rather than obsess over a single splash of milk (if that is what’s holding you back from giving intermittent fasting a try.)
How to Make Black Coffee “Drinkable”
- A Pinch of Salt
Just like a bit of salt brings baked goods like cookies to life, a sprinkle of Himalayan salt can improve your black coffee and make it more “drinkable”.
- Cinnamon Swap
Add a dash of cinnamon to black coffee. Not only does this add a flavor boost, but the cinnamon actually helps offset the coffee’s bitterness, mellowing out the harsher flavors without adding sweetness or calories.
- Give it a Whirl
Throw your coffee in a blender with a handful of ice, and voila! This tip is truly fantastic. Not only does this improve the smoothness of black coffee without creamer or sugar, but this hack transforms your average cup of joe into a cool and creamy treat you can enjoy guilt (and calorie!) free.
Will artificial sweeteners break my fast?
The topic of artificial sweeteners is a bit divisive in the fasting community and often just comes down to personal choice based on what works for you.
I am not too strict about artificial sweeteners and occasionally indulge in a diet soda here and there when the craving strikes. However, I do find them to be a bit too distracting during a fast. Sparkling flavored water seems to do a better job of keeping my cravings squelched, and the carbonation seems to also help with curbing minor hunger pangs until it’s time to eat again.
Again, there is no diet to cheat and nothing to be gained from finding loopholes – the goal is to figure out what works for YOU. The internet is full of great tips and tricks, but it boils down to is YOU and what strategies help YOU succeed at your fast.
If you find that your sugar cravings spike on days when you treat yourself to artificial sweeteners, make a note of it and tweak your program accordingly. Your goal as you begin fasting is to collect information about what works for you. When you find something that doesn’t work, you’ll be one step closer to designing the perfect lifestyle and eating plan that fits your unique needs.
Can I drink alcohol while intermittent fasting?
All alcoholic beverages should be avoided while fasting, but it is up to you whether you chose to include alcohol in your feasting period or not. Alcohol tends to slow down weight loss in many individuals, so for those looking to lose weight quicker, limiting or eliminating alcohol altogether may produce faster results.
The Bottom Line:
Zero-calorie beverages (including artificial sweeteners) are acceptable to drink while intermittent fasting. Water, black coffee, tea, sparkling water, and diet soda will not break your fast.
However, creamers, juices, bone broth, alcoholic drinks, and ANY other liquids that contain calories are not to be consumed during your fasting period.
Remember, the point of the first couple weeks of intermittent fasting is simply to get into the swing of things – to discover what works (and what doesn’t work) as you begin tailoring your plan and schedule to fit your unique needs.
Intermittent fasting is a great weight loss tool. And thanks to the many other health benefits associated with fasting, many people find that they not only look better but feel significantly healthier pretty early on after adopting this new way of life.
Here are some of my favorite intermittent fasting tips for beginners that helped me shed over 70 pounds of fat and keep it off.