Are you considering going on a fast? If so then you should know details about the fast itself. That includes how many hours the fast lasts and how many calories will break a fast. For example, some fasts allow zero-calorie drinks like tea or coffee. There’s also an extreme “dry fast” that doesn’t allow you to consume any food or water during the fasting period. In recent years something called intermittent fasting (IF) has been trending, which requires you to fast 16 to 20 hours daily then eating during the feeding window The process of breaking your fast is important as part of the diet’s “rules.”
One of the main issues related to breaking your fast is about what you’re allowed to eat when you’re on it. For example, let’s say you can drink 0-calorie beverages like black coffee and green tea when you’re fasting. If that’s true then you won’t be breaking the fast by drinking such beverages. In fact, some versions like alternate-day fasts actually allow 500 calories on fasting days. This can still help you lose lots of weight even though you won’t be in a state of ketosis during those days. The number of calories that break the fast is a key issue.
What Can You Eat or Drink While Fasting?
This is a loaded question because depends on the type of fast you consume. The most extreme type of dieting in this area is called a “dry fast.” It goes beyond skipping food during the fast since you also can’t consume any liquids including water. There’s even a type of dry fast that doesn’t let you contact any water from taking a bath or brushing teeth.
However, not being able to drink water during a fast is quite rare. In most cases, you can drink water. You also might be able to drink “0-calorie” beverages like coffee and tea (no milk or sugar). These are basically zero calories so you won’t wreck your diet by drinking some coffee or tea.
There are also fasts that actually allow you to consume beverages with calories. For example, there are juice fasts that let you drink fruit/vegetable juice. You can also drink water when on these fasts. One of the most popular ones is “green juice” that ‘s made from green leafy vegetables.
Other fasts allow liquids like bone broth. This is still a liquid fast but the main difference is you’re consuming broth made from animal bones whether it’s beef, pork, or chicken. This type of fast provides lots of nutrients like collagen that are tough to get from other foods.
Sometimes you can even consume a small amount of solid food while fasting. For example, if you’re on an alternate-day fast you must fast for 24-hours then you can eat during the next 24 hours.
It can be tough to go a full day without eating. So sometimes you’re allowed to consume a low number of calories. This could be 500 calories or so. It’s one-quarter of a standard 2,000 calories but will provide you with energy for the day and light workouts.
How Many Calories Will Break a Fast?
Let’s get to the nitty-gritty of this question. It’s a complicated issue since there are so many ways you could break a fast in theory. Do beverages count? What foods would end the fast? How about 0-calorie sugar substitutes? These are tricky issues that can be tough to sort out.
For example, you might have heard of something known as the “50 calorie rule.” This involves taking branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) while fasting to get extra protein for workouts. This would cause you to get kicked out of ketosis but probably wouldn’t affect you reaching your fitness goals.
Another option is to do alternate-day fasting that lets you consume 500 calories during fasting days. This makes it easier to get through the 24 hours without any solid food. It’s possible but quite tough if you have to spend all day working or studying.
One possible way to break a fast is tea or coffee. Technically speaking if you ingest any food or drink besides water while fasting, you’re breaking the fast. Fun Fact: Water is the only natural zero-calorie food. While coffee is called “zero-calorie” black coffee actually has 5 calories. It ends fat-burning for around 8 minutes.
This actually brings up a related issue. When you break a fast you should ease into it. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to consume some coffee or tea. Then you go move onto some light food like yogurt or soup. You should definitely try to avoid breaking the fast with an epic “cheat meal.”
Other possible ways to break fasts include diet sodas and artificial sweeteners. They both can have 0 calories. One of the problems with these foods is they send signals to your brain that it will be getting sugar. You arguably shouldn’t be consuming these foods anyway. However, it’s worse when your brain gets false signals.
Top Foods to Break Fasts
1. Bone Broth or Vegetable Soup
Both of these foods provide the benefits of hot broth/soup. Bone broth takes up to 24 hours to make so more nutrients like nutrients are released from beef bones and others. This is a popular food on diets like Paleo
Vegetable soup provides many of the same benefits. However, the main nutrients are from the veggies, which can include ones like potatoes, carrots, peas, and cabbage. This is a light yet hearty meal for breaking a fast.
2. Raw Fruits
This is easily one of the healthiest whole foods you can pick when breaking a fast. They’re loaded with nutrients like vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants. Fun Fact: One serving of guava fruit provides 380% daily value of Vitamin C. If you’re on a low-carb diet the best options are berries and half an avocado.
3. Leafy Greens
Leafy green veggies are chock-full of nutrients like Vitamin Bs, iron, and calcium. They’re also light foods so they’re a good option when you’re ending your fast. You can enjoy them in various ways like smoothies, salads, and stir-fry. Try raw vegetable options like green juice and spinach salad.
4. Fermented Foods
- Kefir (fermented dairy)
- Miso soup
Studies show these foods are healthy because of the “good” bacteria. They can provide several benefits including improved gut health.
5. Fruit or Vegetable Juice
Make sure you go with homemade versions instead of store-bought versions like V8 juice. These can be healthy but they also tend to contain lots of additives like salt and sugar. These additives can offset the health benefits you’re getting from the juice. Go with fresh ingredients like beets, carrots, green leafy veggies, chia/flax seeds, berries, and yogurt after learning how many calories will break a fast.