July 13, 2022
Tired of drinking water? You’ve got options, lot’s of them!
In this post, I’ll answer the popular question: what can you drink while intermittent fasting? And give you suggestions to make each sip more exciting.
First, you should consult a licensed medical physician before jumping into intermittent fasting. IF isn’t for everyone; therefore, it’s something to discuss with a licensed professional.
The purpose of this post is to give you some options of things to drink while you practice intermittent fasting; it is not to provide any professional/medical advice.
We’ve got a lot to cover in this article, so if you want to skip ahead to a specific question, click on the section you need in the table of contents below.
Table of contents
- Best Drinks for Intermittent Fasting
- Zero Calorie Drinks for Intermittent Fasting
- Drinks to Avoid When Intermittent Fasting
- Staying Hydrated While Intermittent Fasting
Best Drinks for Intermittent Fasting
The best drinks for intermittent fasting keep your body hydrated and are zero-calorie drinks. The more natural the drink, the better.
While this post will focus on what you can drink during your fasting window, I should mention that during your eating window, your intake of food and drink should be supportive of your health goals.
If you’re trying to lose weight, a 1,000-calorie frappuccino might not be supportive of what you’re trying so hard to work towards.
I’ve already written an extensive post answering: Can you drink water while intermittent fasting? Where I explained that water is an essential nutrient for our bodies.
And since water can get repetitive over time, this post explores some options to drink during your fasting window that will keep drinking exciting. I’m not talking about alcoholic drinks here.
During Your Eating Window
During your eating window, you can enjoy the same drinks you would normally consume -yes, even while you’re practicing intermittent fasting.
Everything you consume that is not zero-calorie will add to your total caloric intake for the day (just like that frappuccino) and your macros (if you’re tracking).
During your Fasting Window
For some reason, most of us over-complicate what we can drink during our fasting windows. The simplest way to determine if you can/should drink something is by looking at it from a calorie perspective.
If it’s unsweetened, contains zero calories, and does not change your macros (fat, carbohydrates, proteins), you can drink it. Although black coffee has 5 calories, you can also drink this.
Love coffee? Read the full post on drinking coffee during intermittent fasting.
Zero Calorie Drinks for Intermittent Fasting
With so many zero-calorie drinks available for purchase and all promising “benefits” on the bottle, it can be confusing to know whether or not you can drink them during your fasting window.
While many of these drinks contain 0 to 10 calories, most are due to the infusion of flavoring processes such as with coffee and most teas, ultimately, it’s important to look at the nutrition label and keep it as short and natural as possible.
In the beginning, most people find that flavored seltzer water is a great option because it satisfies their craving for something flavored and bubbly at the same time.
With time, as you get more comfortable practicing intermittent fasting, you’ll begin to re-consider if a flavored, 0-calorie drink containing many chemical additives is worth drinking. Also, there’s research showing that artificial sweeteners create an insulin spike and theoretically can break your fast.
Below I break down the pros and cons of each of the top drinks recommended to drink during your fasting window.
Black coffee by itself only contains 5 calories and will not break your fast. Enjoyed warm, it can be the pick-me-up you need in the morning to get you started and hold you off until you break your fast.
If you’ve been drinking coffee with cream and sugar for years, it can take time to adjust to drinking it black, so just know that if that’s what it takes to get you going, it will break your fast.
For many, black tea is the drink of choice that supports their wake-me-up-and-get-going habit since it also contains caffeine. By itself, it’s safe to drink during your fasting window.
Herbal & Flavored Teas
Green and herbal teas, even flavored teas, can also be enjoyed during your fasting window both hot or cold. Most only have 5 calories or less and have beneficial antioxidant properties.
Sparkling water is a great option to enjoy during your fasting window when you crave soda. For many, adding a tiny squeeze of lemon or lime can flavor it enough to replace their soda or alcoholic drink completely.
Lemon Water (Water + Lemon)
Adding a slice or two of lemon (or limes) to your still or sparkling water to add a little flavor is ok to enjoy during your fasting window.
First, you’re not consuming the fruit nor are you adding its fruit juice to the water to significantly alter the nutritional information of your drink. A slice or two is great, lemonade is not.
Water Flavoring Powder Packets
Like flavored drinks, water flavoring powders sold in individual packets can vary in both nutritional content and ingredients. Some include artificial sweeteners and even sugar that can break your hard work of fasting.
Powdered packets are often sweetened with stevia, monk fruit, allulose, or aspartame. And while they are all 0-calories and technically not supposed to break a fast, the best way to know is to test this and see how your body reacts. More on this below.
Bone Broth (and Stocks)
Consuming a cup of bone broth or stock during your fasting window is often a great thing to add to your intermittent fasting routine.
While bone broth is achieved through boiling water and animal bones and stocks is the result of boiling some bones and aromatics (vegetables), most are in the less than 30 calorie range and are not considered to break your fast. Remember this applies to a single, 8-ounce cup.
The beneficial properties of bone broth include collagen, important vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Because of this, it can be enjoyed at any time during the day, and many people drink it before bed to help curve middle-of-the-night hunger.
If you’re purchasing store-bought bone broth or stock, check the nutrition labels to keep each serving in the 30-calorie range. Below, I’m including my homemade recipe for you to try.
Zero-Calorie Artificialy Swetened Drinks
The growing popularity of these drinks, such as Zevia, that contain both artificial flavors and sweeteners keeps them on the supermarket shelves. While in theory, they do not contain any calories, many argue that the additives defeat the purpose of living a healthier lifestyle.
Furthermore, many experts in the dietary fields believe that artificial sweeteners mimic sugar and therefore, your body creates insulin and breaks your fast.
Whether you believe this theory or not, the best way to know how your body reacts to these types of drinks, as well as zero-calorie sodas, is by testing this.
There is no way of testing glucose at home. What you can do, however, is take a glucose test an hour or so after consuming your diet soda with a glucometer.
If you’re practicing a ketogenic diet and measuring your ketones, you can take a ketone test after the consumption of such drinks and see how they affect your body.
Drinks to Avoid When Intermittent Fasting
During your fasting window, when you refrain from eating, any drink that adds calories to your intake should be avoided. This includes juices, sweetened drinks, sodas, alcohol, etc.
Many “waters” that include benefits like vitamins contain sugars and juice so just because something is called water, does not mean is zero-calorie and can be consumed during your fasting window.
While smoothies are great option to break your fast, they can’t be enjoyed during the fasting window.
Are you at the beginning of your intermittent fasting journey and still confused about all the do’s and don’ts? Check out this eBook below!
Intermittent Fasting 101
Recipes, a meal plan, plus everything you need to jumpstart your intermittent fasting journey!
Staying Hydrated While Intermittent Fasting
One of the reasons experts recommend staying hydrated while intermittent fasting is because the human body often gets 20-30% of its water intake from food.
Hopefully, you’re providing your body with the nutrition it needs to thrive during your eating window in calories, macronutrients, and micronutrients and with water-rich foods.
The problem for many is that depending on your intermittent fasting schedule, your eating window can be as small as 4 hours and even an entire day. It’s because of this that it’s important to remember to drink water and good-for-you drinks throughout the day to stay hydrated.
Hydration isn’t just for athletes. All humans need it and require it. It’s essential to keep your body cells functioning and it helps boost the benefits of intermittent fasting.
Some of the symptoms of dehydration are thirst, dry mouth, headaches, and bloating -none of which are fun to experience while you’re trying to get through your fasting period.
I’ve found that filling up a water bottle in the morning and starting my day with plenty of water helps prevent some of these nasty symptoms –yes, I’m that person that takes my cup of ice water everywhere I go.
Easy Bone Broth for Intermittent Fasting
- 2 ½ lbs skin-on bone-in chicken pieces, (legs quarters, breasts, wings)
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, quartered
- 1 large yellow onion, quartered
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 8 to 10 peppercorns
- 12 cups cold water
- Place all the ingredients in a large soup pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer for 3 to 4 hours, occasionally skimming off any foam that comes to the surface.
- Remove the chicken pieces to use for another recipe and vegetables.
- Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer. Transfer the broth into jars and refrigerate for 1 week or store in heavy-duty zip bags and freeze for 2 to 3 months.