Check out the ultimate list of intermittent fasting drinks (both allowed and forbidden ones plus a bonus list of conditionally-allowed liquids).
Even though eating rules for intermittent fasting are rather clear (you simply don’t eat anything within a certain time frame), there is still a lot of confusion about what you can actually DRINK while fasting. Liquids haven’t been created equal, after all.
Can you drink water while fasting? How about drinking coffee and doing intermittent fasting? Is tea allowed? Are energy drinks forbidden? Can you put some milk in your morning coffee? These are just a few example questions folks are forever asking in the context of what to drink (and not to drink) while doing intermittent fasting.
It’s high time to end this confusion and give you the ultimate list of allowed, forbidden and conditionally allowed (bonus) intermittent fasting drinks. Let me show you the list so that you can make your intermittent fasting routine almost perfect.
The drinks listed below are allowed, but you still cannot totally go overboard with them. Anything in excess can be harmful (including water). The golden rule is to drink only when you feel thirsty or to suppress hunger (if it’s getting out of control).
Here is the most comprehensive list of what you can drink during intermittent fasting.
Water is the number one liquid for fasting and that’s why it comes first on the list of ultimate intermittent fasting drinks.
Water has no calories, so it doesn’t cause any metabolic response. Sparkling (carbonated) water is also a great appetite suppressant. The best piece of advice is to drink water when you feel thirsty. This will keep you hydrated throughout your fast but you will also avoid overhydration.
You can add a little bit of good salt (e.g Himalayan salt) to water if you feel fatigued or have a headache. Salted water will provide you with all the necessary minerals and help you go through your fast more smoothly. Carbonated water, on the other hand, fills up your stomach quickly and makes you feel full quickly.
It’s totally OK to add lemon juice to water to give it some taste. Lemon juice has trace calories, so you are free to add some of it to water both during and after a fast.
Remember to add real lemon juice (it’s best to squeeze it yourself) to your beverages. Avoid ready-made juices which may have added sugar and so break your fast.
If you have fresh mint leaves, you can also add them to water (or to water with lemon). To prepare a really tasty and refreshing mojito-style drink, you can also add some ice and a bit of stevia or erythritol.
The best news is that you are free to consume as much of it as you want both during and after a fast. Water with mint leaves and a bit of stevia will not break a fast but they will make you feel less hungry.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has tons of great qualities and enhanced weight loss is only one of them. Just like lemon juice, it has trace calories, so you are free to add apple cider vinegar to your drinks, salads or just drink it on its own.
Not everyone likes its taste, but I personally love drinking water with ACV. For me it tastes just like apple juice. You can learn more about great qualities of apple cider vinegar in this article.
Any herbal tea is allowed on a keto diet as long as you don’t put sugar into it. I recommend drinking green tea, black tea, fruit tea, or yerba mate. I am a great fan of yerba mate and have trouble starting my day without a huge MUG of it.
Some types of tea (like yerba mate or black tea) contain caffeine so they may work like stimulants. Of course, you are still free to consume them because they may actually help speed up the recovery and fat-burning processes within your body.
However, don’t go totally overboard with stimulants and drink like 3 cups of black coffee, 3 mugs of yerba mate and three cups of black tea just to make it till your first meal at 1 o’clock.
Coffee, together with tea, is among the top intermittent fasting drinks that… aren’t water. If drunk in moderation, coffee can help you burn fat more effectively and will suppress hunger.
Black unsweetened coffee has no calories, so you are free to drink it almost any time during your fast. Flavored coffee is also OK as long as it has no added sugar. If you like the sweet taste, add some natural sweetener to your coffee. I recommend either stevia or erythritol which have almost no calories and don’t influence blood sugars at all.
Remember that coffee is a stimulant and you want your body to chill out during a fast, so make sure not to drink more than 1-2 cups.
Of course, it’s best to get used to drinking unsweetened coffee or tea. Not only does it make any beverage preparation easier, but it is also simply a cheaper option. However, it doesn’t mean you have to totally deprive yourself of the sweet taste. If you like it, you can still have your coffee or tea sweetened. Just make sure to use natural and keto-compliant sweeteners.
I highly recommend using stevia or erythritol which are calorie-free and have no effect on blood sugars.
Stevia is available as tabs, in the liquid form or as powder. It’s hundred times sweeter than sugar. Erythritol is in the form similar to table sugar but is less sweet (so you need to use more of it). You can use either one or the other. You can also mix them both. It’s hard to overconsume stevia but erythritol may have a laxative effect if you eat too much of it.
VERY IMPORTANT: Trash sugar if you still have it at your home. Stop reading this article and do it now (please).
The forbidden drinks usually have calories, cause a metabolic response and thus they break a fast. If you want to reap all of the benefits intermittent fasting offers, you cannot consume these drinks in your fasting window. Some theories say you can eat up to 50 calories without breaking a fast. If you were to listen to this advice, the list of your allowed intermittent fasting drinks would expand a bit.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if you allow any calories during a fast but I suggest allowing NONE. It’s just a couple of hours (most of your fasting occurs naturally during your sleep) and the benefits of making it till the end of a fast are really awesome. It’s best to totally avoid the forbidden drinks and consume them only if you really have trouble continuing a fast (you get extremely hungry, feel very faint or nauseous).
Here is the most comprehensive list of drinks forbidden during intermittent fasting.
Alcohol in any form causes an immediate metabolic response and kicks you out of any fat burning. If you want to remain in the fasted state, you cannot drink any alcohol. Period.
Milk has quite a lot of carbs and sugar (lactose) so this is also a NO if you want to stay in a fasted state. Sorry.
Coconut and almond milks are awesome low-carb replacements for regular milk, but they still have some calories and carbs. That’s why the best time to consume them is during your feeding window.
Coconut water is similar to coconut milk in terms of carb and calorie quantity. It’s not zero, so don’t consume it during a fast.
Generally, any other type of coffee except for black and green usually contains carbs and sugar. A latte (which has more than 20 g of carbs per serving) is just one of the “bad examples” of coffee. The same applies to cappuccino and other instant coffees (prepared from powder). That’s a NO.
Just stick to back or green unsweetened coffee with anything but water in it and you are going to be fine.
All the protein shakes, protein powders and protein bars have calories and immediately stop any fat burning. What’s more, many protein bars and shakes also have tons of added sugar.
Never consume them during a fast and make sure they are free of hidden sugars if you want to consume them in your eating window (unless you are on a high-carb diet).
Juice is probably one of the least keto-friendly drinks, so it’s forbidden. Juices usually have two or three times more carbs than whole vegetables or fruits they are made from because they don’t have any fiber.
The only exception is real lemon juice which you can add in small amounts to your tea or water without breaking a fast.
Most sports and isotonic drinks have just the same amount of sugar and carbs as Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite and any other sweet drinks. I recommend avoiding them both in your feeding and fasting window.
BCAAs do break a fast so you either have to consume them in your eating window or give them up entirely. If you consume a lot of meat, eggs and fish, you don’t need to supplement BCAAs.
If you are very active and your protein intake isn’t very high, you can consume BCAAs around our workouts (assuming you don’t work out in the middle of your fast but at its end or beginning).
Energy drinks are a NO as well. They are either full of sugar or full of artificial sweeteners. Both negatively affect your body and can break a fast. If you need more energy, just drink simple black coffee.
Zero, diet or calorie-free beverages have really lots of opponents and supporters. Unfortunately, they usually contain artificial sweeteners. There have been multiple studies proving that zero drinks may spike insulin and are very unhealthy.
That’s why do your best to stay away from any zero drinks… or at least minimize the damage and consume them only occasionally.
You can drink the conditionally-allowed drinks only if you really have trouble continuing the fast and don’t want to break it entirely. These drinks will also help you get through a longer fast.
They do have calories and cause a metabolic response but their impact on blood sugar (and insulin) is minimal so you can still consume them and reap most of the intermittent fasting benefits.
Here is the list of intermittent fasting drinks that you can consume conditionally.
Bone broth has really lots of great health properties and it’s highly recommended on a keto diet or when fasting. Many people manage to complete a prolonged fast only thanks to a few sips of bone broth here and there.
If extreme and fast weight loss isn’t your main goal, you will probably be OK drinking some bone broth during a fast.
Bulletproof coffee is usually full of fat and has quite a bit of calories. Depending on how you prepare it, it may have as much as 20-40 g of fat (or about 200-400 kcal per serving).
However, since it’s mostly pure fat, bulletproof coffee doesn’t influence blood sugar or insulin levels. Many people start their day from bulletproof coffee and still lose a ton of weight.
That’s why it’s best to experiment to check whether or not drinking bulletproof coffee in a fasted state will let you achieve all your weight loss and health goals.
In most cases adding a splash of milk to your coffee won’t do you any harm and won’t kick you out of fat burning. Just make sure it’s a splash, not a half of a bottle.
Alcohol immediately stops any fat burning because it’s always prioritized by the liver. However, if you don’t combine it with food and drink only keto-compliant types of alcohol (dry wine, vodka or whisky), the world will not end. Just make sure no to exceed one or two glasses.
Both whiskey and vodka have no carbs, which means they don’t affect blood sugars or spike insulin. They will throw you out of fat burning only for as long as they are being metabolized by the liver.
There are different types of fasting and intermittent fasting protocols. Each one has slightly different rules and recommendations. One product may be a must-have in one version and literally a poison in the other.
That’s why I recommend using common sense and trying to stick to the list of the allowed intermittent fasting drinks. However, remember that nothing will happen if you end your fast earlier or have your bulletproof coffee in the morning.
Make sure to do your best most of them time. Stick to the rules 80% of time (put the 80/20 rule into practice) and remember that making adjustments, being flexible and listening to your body are the recipe for success both with intermittent fasting and a keto diet.