13 Feb What Breaks Your Fast?
By FAR, “What breaks my fast” is the MOST common question that I am asked on a daily basis. So here in this article, I am going to outline what breaks your fast and dispel some of the myths and misconceptions that surround the question What Breaks You Fast?
I could make this article REAL quick and say, anything you consume that contains ANY calories and produces an insulin response will break your fast. If you just stick to things like water, black coffee/tea, green tea and some herbal teas, then you will be absolutely fine.
However, to bring you value and to clear up some of the confusion around certain products that are on the market that also have their founders and tribe of people sprouting that they do not break your fast, I thought I would list some of the most common products that I get asked about and detail why they either do or do not break your fast.
Bullet Proof Coffee
I mentioned above that having black coffee is perfectly fine and it is, however, despite what you may have heard, putting MCT oils and butter into your coffee and adding 400 plus calories to the start of your day, will ABSOLUTELY take you out of the fasted state. I won’t go into the discussion around the misleading claims this company makes around its products as well as its stance on carbohydrate consumption, as that can be a topic for another day. Just know that bullet proof coffee and ALL of its products will bring you out of the fasted state.
Gym Based Supplements
I have a number of worried gym goers contact me every day asking if fasting will hinder their ability to gain a benefit from their morning workout. They are worried that by NOT eating right away and within some magic “anabolic window” that all of their potential gains will be wasted by not having an array of protein shakes and supplements right after their workout. Again, this myth is an article for another day, however, what usually happens is a follow up question asking, will my protein shake, BCAA’s, fat burner, break my fast and can I take it during my fasting window. Yes, they ALL break your fast and NO, they cannot be consumed during your fasting window. If you are consuming adequate protein throughout your day, BCAA’s are a useless supplement, fat burners are garbage and are basically just a tonne of filler products and caffeine and protein shakes while useful to help get your daily protein, usually contain in excess of 200 calories per serve and so will ABSOLUTELY break you out of the fasted state.
Apple Cider Vinegar
This product is the right up there with bullet proof coffee with regards to the frequency in which I hear it being talked about and its supposed magical powers of health and healing. Most of its devotees also sprout the “fact” that it DOESN’T break your fast and that it should be added to a warm glass of water every morning to help burn fat, lower your risk of cancer, reverse type 2 diabetes and slow the ageing process. Let’s keep this on point and not veer off topic, NO this product will not help with fat burning, NO this product will not help reverse type 2 diabetes and ABSOLUTELY YES, it will break your fast.
If you want to watch what I think is the best and FUNNIEST video going around that details ACV, then CLIKC HERE to watch a video Jordan Syatt produced back in mid 2017.
Lemon in Your Water
There seems to be a lot of confusion around what breaks your fast due to this idea that I come across frequently, that as long as you consume under 30 calories’, you are not breaking your fast. I have never come across any evidence to suggest this is true or to back up this claim and so should you have something to show to the contrary, please let me know as I would love to see it. However, this brings me to my next product, Lemon in your water. A squeeze or two of lemon or a few slices of lemon in your water will have VERY little calories and so the idea is, that it won’t break your fast. Sorry to burst your weak tasting lemon water bubble, but YES, adding lemon to your water will break your fast, regardless of how little calories it may add to your water.
“Zero” Calorie Drinks
What about these supposed ZERO calorie drinks with artificial sweeteners in them, are they ok to drink during your fast? Well, the jury is still out, because the idea they are zero calories is actually false and the exact calories they contain is where this debate currently sits. Artificial sweeteners are THOUSADNS of times sweeter than regular table sugar and so they contain MUCH, MUCH, MUCH less calories, almost to the point of ZERO… but not quite. My opinion is that these drinks should be ideally consumed in a very small amount any way and if you are going to have them, to save them for when you have broken your fast. HOWEVER, I don’t believe they will break your fast and so should you wish to have a Pepsi Max of Zero Calorie Energy Drink, have at it.
What Does This Now Mean for You and Your Fasting Journey?
At the end of the day you are most likely doing fasting for one of two reasons. You are either looking to lose fat or you are looking to its many health benefits (or a combination of both).
If your soul reason is to use fasting as a tool to help with fat loss then calories are all that you need to be concerned about. You have heard me say it time and time again over on my Instagram page (@the_no_breakfast_guy), if you are looking to lose fat, the only factor you need to consider is the number of calories you consume over the course of your day. If you are consistently in a calorie deficit and can sustain this over a long period of time, you will lose fat, REGARDLESS of the time of day you ate those calories. For this reason, you absolutely can have a little lemon in your water, milk in your coffee or should you for some ungodly reason want to have a shot of ACV, know that doing so will NOT hinder your ability to achieve your fat loss goals.
However, if you are looking to fasting for its HEALTH benefits then that is another story all together. If you wish to benefit from the potential health upsides that fasting can have then you will need to become much stricter around the items you consume during your fast. Sticking to water, black coffee/tea and green tea will help this process, however, it is my FIRM belief that to be ABSOLUTELY certain that you are remaining in a fasted state, consume ONLY water and leave the other drinks until after you have broken your fast.
In summary, WHY you are fasting should be the first question you ask yourself. If you are looking to fasting to help you on your FAT LOSS journey, then sticking to a calorie deficit should be your primary goal and taking a little lemon in your water will be absolutely fine. If, however, you want the many health benefits that are associated with fasting, remember that ANY calories you consume will bring you out of your fasted state and could significantly reduce the benefits you could have gained from fasting and the no breakfast life.
I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions or concerns you had around what might be breaking your fast and it helps you stride into tomorrow feeling confident that you are remaining in a fasted state and gaining ALL the life changing benefits that fasting can have for you.