7 Beverages You Can Drink During Intermittent Fasting

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Medically reviewed by Kathy Shattler, MS, RDN

what can you drink during intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting involves switching between eating and fasting periods. It is a popular diet for weight loss, and it offers numerous health benefits. How long you spend fasting will depend on you. The various options for intermittent fasting include alternate day fasting, 16/8 method, 5:2 diet, eat stop eat, and warrior diet. During your eating phase, you can eat moderate amounts of healthy foods. On the flip side, during your fasting period, you cannot take foods or drinks that will spike your blood glucose levels and trigger an insulin response. Water and other zero-calorie beverages are generally fine during this period. Some people also combine the keto diet with intermittent fasting to burn fat faster.

If you are not used to going several hours without food, it may be challenging to stick to the intermittent fasting diet. For newbies, making it through the fasting phase may require some support, and specific beverages may help. The ideal beverage for intermittent fasting will not add calories that can break your fast. Nevertheless, they may help you feel full and reduce your appetite so that you can stick to your fast. Therefore, they can help make your intermittent fasting journey easier.

Read on to find out the seven beverages that you can drink while intermittent fasting and other drinks that you should avoid during your fast. 

7 Beverages You Can Drink During Intermittent Fasting

The best kind of drinks for your fasting hours are calorie-free. That way, they will not activate an insulin response or break your fast. Acceptable beverages for intermittent fasting include water, teas, coffee, and apple cider vinegar. These zero-calorie beverages are suitable for your fasting window. 

Water

Water is the best drink that you can take during intermittent fasting to keep you hydrated. It is completely calorie-free, so it will not break your fast. Some signs[1] that you are not getting enough water during your intermittent fast include headaches, muscle cramps, dizziness, and fatigue. 

Water serves as a source of some micronutrients such as magnesium. Sadly, during the purification process, some bottled water brands remove some of the minerals. This type of water known as demineralized water[2] will not be giving you those essential minerals that you need. Consider choosing water brands that do not remove the natural minerals present in water or brands that replace the minerals after purification. 

Mineral Water 

Mineral water is water that contains natural minerals such as calcium, sodium, magnesium, and potassium. It is another calorie-free drink that you can take while intermittent fasting. It does not give you calories that can break your fast. The minerals and salts present in your mineral water will help your body maintain electrolyte balance and stay hydrated. 

Drinking mineral water also offers other benefits[3] for your health such as improving bone, heart[4], and digestive health. 

Apple Cider Vinegar 

It may not be the best tasting beverage, but diluted apple cider vinegar (ACV) is an excellent drink during your fasting period. Simply add one or two tablespoons of ACV to your glass of water. ACV does not contain calories or fat that can break your fast. You can sip your ACV drink through a straw to keep it off your enamel and prevent tooth damage. 

ACV may help you make it through your fasting period too. Some users find that it helps suppress appetite[5] during this period, so you will not need to sneak a snack. Furthermore, some studies[6] show that ACV may help support weight loss. Hence, if your goal is to lose weight, diluted ACV can help support your intermittent fast for better results. 

Flavored Water 

If you are not a big water drinker, drinking lots of water while fasting can get tiring. Flavored water can help you break the rut. Flavored water should be fine while intermittent fasting as long as the flavors are all-natural. You can switch things up by alternating between regular water and flavored water through the fasting window. You should also check to see that the flavored water does not contain additional calories that can break your fast.

If you do not trust commercial brands of flavored water, you can make yours yourself. A lemon or lime slice in your glass of water will give you a refreshing citrus flavor burst. Lemon water will make staying hydrated fun. You can also use other fruits to create different flavors. 

Tea 

Tea offers numerous health benefits[7], and it is an excellent beverage for your fasting hours. A refreshing cup of tea can help you relax and feel better[8]. It does not matter the type of tea you are taking for intermittent fasting, so black, green, and herbal teas are all great. They are typically calorie-free, so they will not negatively affect your fast. However, do not add cream, sugar, or artificial sweeteners to your tea if you want them to remain zero-calorie.  

Green tea may help with hunger pangs. It offers other benefits[9] such as reduction in blood sugar levels, improved fat burning, cardioprotective properties, and improved metabolism. Herbal teas confer the benefits of the herb used in making them. You may also experience better gut health[10] by taking teas. 

It is generally best to make your cup of tea yourself because it lets you determine what exactly goes into the cup. If you must buy tea from coffee chains, confirm that you are getting unsweetened tea. 

Coffee 

Intermittent fasting will not keep you away from your daily coffee dose. Once again, your coffee cup should not contain cream, sugar, or artificial sweeteners. 

Black coffee[11] contains few calories and no sugar, so it will hardly affect your fast. It also helps you stay energized during your fasting hours. Studies show that coffee drinking may reduce your risk of cancer and improve your cardiovascular health[12].  It may also work with a healthy diet to promote weight loss[13]. However, taking too much coffee[14] can affect your metabolism, increase anxiety, and cause poor sleep. 

One cup of black coffee is okay during your fasting windows, but consider other beverage options if you get thirsty again. It is probably best to brew your coffee at home. If you must drink coffee from coffee shops, remember to explicitly tell them not to add anything extra if you do not want to break your fast.

Seltzer 

Seltzer is one of the non-caloric drinks that you can take during your intermittent fast. Most brands contain natural flavors and will not raise insulin levels. 

Carbonated water or seltzer can help curb hunger[15] and manage an upset stomach. If you choose a brand that contains minerals and salts, it will help maintain your electrolyte balance too. 

Drinks You Should Not Take While Intermittent Fasting 

Now that you know the drinks that you can take during your fasting hours, here are a few others that you will need to stay away from until your fasting hours are over.

Diet Soda 

Just because the label says zero sugar does not make diet soda suitable while intermittent fasting. Diet soda often contains loads of artificial sweeteners to preserve the taste. These artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and acesulfame-K can cause a spike in your insulin levels[16].

Diet sodas[17] may also contribute to insulin resistance, obesity, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, and stroke. Therefore, if you drink diet sodas, they will negatively affect your fast and metabolic health. Since diet sodas may encourage weight gain, you may want to cut them out completely if you are looking to lose weight.

Milk 

Milk[18] and dairy products contain calories that may break your fast, but there is a little debate about it being suitable for intermittent fasting. If you only take a small quantity of milk, you may remain in your fasted state. Adding only a dash of milk to your beverage may not add enough calories to affect your fast. On the other hand, taking up to 1/4 cup of milk can break your fast. It is probably best to leave milk in your eating window.

Bone Broth 

Bone broth is nutrition-rich, so it is not a perfect fit for your fasting period. It contains a significant amount of proteins[19]. However, that means that drinking bone broth may increase your insulin levels and break your fast. It might be best to reserve your warm mug of homemade bone broth for your feeding hours.

Coconut Water 

Despite all its wonderful benefits such as[20] antioxidant functions, rehydration, and cholera management, coconut water does not fit into the category of drinks acceptable while intermittent fasting. The natural sugars in coconut water will break your fast. You can still enjoy the benefits of coconut water by taking it during your eating window instead.

Fruit Juice 

Juices made from natural fruits are an excellent source of vitamins and fluids to keep you hydrated. They are generally great during your eating hours. However, they are not suitable for your fasting hours. Juices usually contain significant amounts of free sugars[21] that can generate an insulin response. 

Alcohol 

Taking alcohol on an empty stomach is not a great idea. Alcohol absorption[22] in this state is quicker, and the effects occur faster. Furthermore, alcoholic beverages contain some carbohydrates[23], so they will break your fast. If you must drink alcohol, it is best to wait till your fast is over before doing so. 

Conclusion 

Intermittent fasting offers multiple benefits when done right. Making it through the required fasting hours is not always so easy, especially for beginners. Some naturally calorie-free drinks and beverages can help keep you full, provide optimal hydration, and reduce your appetite without breaking your fast. 

Beverages that you can drink while intermittent fasting includes water, mineral water, seltzer, tea, coffee, apple cider vinegar, and flavored water. Drinks that you should avoid while fasting include alcohol, diet sodas, coconut water, and milk. It is best to leave coconut water, fruit juices, and milk in your eating window.

Medically reviewed by:

Jennifer Anyabuine holds a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry from the University of Nigeria Nsukka and currently a medical student. She is a freelance medical writer specializing in creating content to improve public awareness of health topics. When she's not writing or studying, you can find her with her dogs, Chelsea and Ginger.

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