How Many Calories Break A Fast: The One Thing You Should Avoid

How Many Calories Break A Fast

How many calories break a fast? This is one of the most common and frequently asked questions about intermittent fasting. Some people usually eat on their eating days and more than 500 calories on their last meal on fasting days. This does not help anyway, and this question confuses most people. Let’s get into the concept of fasting and how a fast breaks!

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Photo by Tim Wildsmith on Unsplash

Break A Fast

For example, if any fuel comes into your body in calories, it will break your fast. There can be two types of definition, dirty fasting, and clean fasting. However, none of them have a clear purpose since it varies from person to person.

Generally, fasting is a practice during which people do not consume anything for a certain period. This is also a general rule.

However, dirty fasting is an all-new practice, which is being used by some people who engage in intermittent fasting. It usually means consuming some calories during the fasting windows. In comparison, clean fasting means restricting calorie intake from food and beverages.

During dirty fasting, people can consume up to 100 calories during their fasting windows. The consumed calories can be from milk, the artificial sweeteners in coffee and tea, or a cup of bone broth.

However, since there is no definition of dirty fasting, some people tend to have more than 100 calories during their fasting.

Even the fasting advocates say that consuming a few calories technically doesn’t break a fast. It also makes it a lot easier to maintain a fasting regimen.

If you are fasting, you should ask yourself why you are fasting? And what are the benefits of fasting?

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Photo by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash

There are multiple benefits of intermittent fasting. Health benefits include blood sugar control, inflammation reduction, muscle gain, insulin resistance, ketones production to increase longevity. Out of these benefits, the most common uses of fasting are:

  • Gut Rest
  • Weight Loss
  • Longevity

Even trying to lose weight, resting your gut, and getting more powerful longevity will not give the same answer. There are a lot of distinctions depending upon the situation. Eventually, you will break your fast if the food, drink, and calorie intake belies the fasting benefits.

What Should You Eat When You Are On Intermittent Fasting

There are plenty of benefits in the territory between a strict water-only fast and eating a full-brown meal.

Advocates of fasting agree with the fact that it is acceptable to consume certain caloric foods in small quantities. Moreover, it will help you stick to the intermittent fasting plan since some of the foods maintain many fasting benefits while keeping you sane.

If you are on dirty fasting, then you can try for only water fast. Generally, most people can stay up to 13-14 hours with only water. Then you can start your dirty fast with tea made with almond milk.

If you are trying to improve your gut health, then you should not take more than 50 grams of carbohydrate on a fasting day. The impacts of fasting and a low-carb diet in the gut microbiome depend on the type of fast.


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Photo by Bluebird Provisions from Pexels

Whether you are on a water-only fast or a very low-calorie diet with a small amount of food consumed, the benefits will vary for both cases. The benefits will be the same if the ingested food is of standard food amount.

There are some of the food items with which you can eat to break a fast. They have calories and technically break the fasting, but they still deliver many of intermittent fasting’s perks.

Coffee And Tea

Coffee and tea both have fewer calories that cannot reduce the benefits of fasting. However, these drinks can slightly reduce autophagy.

It is well known that both of these drinks can help one to stick with their fast. Caffeine also has some benefits for the fasting window, such as appetite control, which can be the needle mover for some people towards their fasting window.

But, if you are not getting any help from the consumption of caffeine, then you must stop doing it or reduce the amount of caffeine. Then see if it helps.

Healthy Fats

It is widespread among people who like to have coffee blended with MCT oil in between their fasting periods. The MCT oil can be grass-fed butter, ghee, or coconut oil, which technically breaks your fast and reduces some autophagy. Moreover, this can curb cravings while maintaining successful immediate benefits.

If losing weight is not your main agenda from fasting, you can consume a healthy form of fat during your fasting period.

Burning fat for people looking for moderate body composition changes or maintenance by fasting, then a fat fast is best for them. A body with a low-fat level can drive imbalances in hormones.

However, a pure water-only fast or zero-calories is best for people who want to lose fat from fasting.

Fat fast also helps people who have high blood sugar levels. Consuming some amount of fat during the fast can elevate insulin levels and cortisol levels. This may trigger hunger or cravings and even prompt you to eat. Moreover, a little fat in the morning helps you keep the bowels regular.

Bone Broth

This is a liquid that is frequently touted as “acceptable” in a fast. It can be a smart addition to your fast, depending upon your goals. But, to be clear, this can break your fast.

Bone broth can be used to reduce hunger pangs and improve fasting compliance when delivering necessary minerals and electrolytes.

If you are fasting for more than 16 hours with only water, then it can lower the electrolyte levels in your body.

This can lead to low blood pressure, confusion, nausea, muscle spasms, and fatigue.

But if you do not want to add bone broth to your fast, then you can add a teaspoon or two mineral-rich sea salt to your water.

Bone broth is rich in gelatin and other amino acids like amino acid glutamine. This can exceptionally be beneficial if you are looking for your gut health.

Glutamine, along with some high protein foods, fuels a process called mTOR, and this process prevents autophagy. So it’s better not to overdo and continuously sip on bone broth or coffee spiked with collagen powder ahead of your feeding period.

It needs more glutamine to negate all the benefits together. So, if you are using bone broth in your fasting routines, it should be like all or nothing approach.

How Many Calories Break A Fast

Intermittent fasting is a prevalent concept in this generation. People often tend to follow this rule to lose weight. Intermittent fasting is also known as alternate day fasting.

In this type of fasting, people typically eat on the other days and can eat about 50 calories on the fasting day. This helps in weight loss and also keeps the system healthy.

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Photo by Guillaume de Germain on Unsplash

However, some people choose to eat within a 6 or 8-hour feeding window and then remain too fast for the rest of 16-18 hours. If you want to check that you are in the fasting state, then take in zero calories during your fasting window.

How many calories break a fast? This is the most common question. There is no single answer to how many calories can break your fasting, and not all foods are of the same calorie.

Moreover, the type of food and eating disorder that impacts your hormonal and biological process negates the fasting benefits.

The 50-Calorie Rule

The 50-calorie rule is something we get to see everywhere. People who are familiar with the term intermittent fasting are also familiar with this term. It generally means intaking 50 calories on the fasting day without breaking the fast. Intaking 50 calories through food or drink is considered to be okay in this process. However, there is no evidence of it being effective to date.

This practice is considered good because one can get away with some calories without even breaking the fast. It is also straightforward and convenient. Eating one meal a day does not break a fast unless it is more than 50 calories.

There remains a flaw in this rule that states that not all calories are made equal. The right amount of calories is not always mentioned in the food or drink that we take, and hence one can even more than 50 calories on the fasting day.

The food we eat is not just about calories, and it is also about the measure of energy. The meal that we intake regularly is considered to be information for our body. This information triggers a lot of biological processes within our bodies.

It is also essential to notice the response of our hormones to these calories. Especially during a fast, it is essential to see the reaction of the hormones to the calories to negate the benefits of fasting.

Even if you are fasting for fat loss and eat 50 calories of cream in your coffee, your fat-burning process will stop for the next thirty minutes. On consumption of every 36 calories of cream, your fat-burning mode will be delayed by one hour.

One-Calorie Rule

For some people, water-only intermittent fasting is an excellent idea, whereas, for others, it’s not. This is where the one-calorie rule comes in.

Staying on just water the entire day can be stressful for some people. Some feel weak and dizzy, and this doesn’t serve the purpose of fasting rather makes a person more ill. In that case, it is better to opt for some calorie intake.

This way, it doesn’t even break a fast and also provides the benefits of fasting.

However, technically any amount of calories break a fast. A small number of calories can even stop the fasting’s perks—ketosis, which is the main reason behind the fasting benefit’s increased fat burn. With the intake of certain macronutrients, this remains active.

But, if you are thinking about a cup of tea or coffee that hardly contains two or three calories, breaks your fast, then it is not so. Unless you drink coffee that has cream, milk, or sweetener, it will not harm your fast.

However, there has been much debate over “coffee break a fast.” Unless your coffee has more calories, you do not need to worry about it.

Avoid Zero-Calories During Fasting

You should always avoid zero-calorie sugar during your fasting period. It would help if you avoided it even in your complete meal, be it any time.

Does zero-calorie break a fast? Zero-calories artificial sugar does not break a fast, and it can disrupt your gut balance and cause a lot of problems.

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Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Insulin harms fasting and sometimes may drive blood sugar drops. The sweet taste of the zero-calorie sugar impacts the GLP-1 receptors on the tongue. This enhances insulin

release. Most people lose weight their insulin levels fluctuate.

The causes can be more miserable and hangry by this. So it would be best if you avoided this zero-calorie meal.

The Bottom Line

Maintaining an eating window, drinking enough water, exercising, and taking proper rest is essential to follow on a day-to-day basis to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Practicing intermittent fasting is also helpful in maintaining good health, and it helps control body weight and cuts on calories for a day.

It is unnecessary to always look at the calories for breaking a fast, and it is more about consistency. The more consistent you are, the better will be the results. The concept of breaking a fast varies from person to person. A glass of black coffee, diet soda, or even bone broth effectively sees the fasting window through the finish.

The more flexible one gets, the more consistent one becomes. Keeping a fast for days after days or even weeks after weeks increases the confidence, which in turn increases the consistency.

Some increase the time of their fasting window, some switch to black coffee and diet soda, some only consume calories necessary for the proper functioning of the body, some also switch to herbal teas, and some eat very carefully. People are often seen opting for water-only fasting as well.

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