You’ll often hear the question, can you drink water while fasting? The quick answer to that is absolutely!
You can and should drink water while intermittent fasting. The only time you won’t is when you do dry fasting.
When you are on intermittent fasting, water is one of the essential things to have. Drinking water is also required to help detoxify your body and to keep your organs’ functions running smoothly.
If you are new to the concept of intermittent fasting and it is something that you want to try, it is essential that you first check with your doctor or healthcare professional before starting a fast.
How Intermittent Fasting Works?
Intermittent fasting is not consuming any calories or severely limiting calories for a specific amount of time.
When you’re fasting, the level of the glucose in your blood goes down, pushing the insulin produced down as well. This process will make your body burn the energy stored in the form of carbs.
When your body runs out of stored carbs to burn it will start burning fat. This will generally happen after about 12 hours of fasting.
Why Drink Water While Intermittent Fasting?
As stated, fasting is refraining from eating but not drinking water for a predetermined time. Because intermittent fasting is associated with dieting and is intended to promote more effective fat and calorie burning, it differs from other forms of fasting.
Since intermittent fasting entails eating only at predetermined hours each day, this can mean eating only one meal daily, every two days, or eating only during fixed hours each day and fasting the rest of the day. By doing this, you can restrict how many calories you ingest each day and have plenty of time to burn them off.
Water is necessary for controlling body temperature, lubricating joints, avoiding infections, and transporting nutrients to cells.
Staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water will benefit your physical health, mood, and sleep.
For this reason, experts advise men to consume 13 cups of water daily, while women should aim for 9 cups daily1.
If you are on intermittent fasting, you should consume more than the recommended daily water intake of two liters. Given a portion of your daily water intake comes from food, it is essential to stay hydrated during intermittent fasting, when your food intake is reduced.
While eating is restricted to specific times during intermittent fasting, water consumption is allowed because it has no calories, sweets, or fat. Simply keeping yourself hydrated throughout a fast can help maintain your energy levels.
Importance of Water
Water helps you in a number of ways such as:
- produce bodily fluids like saliva, mucus, sweat, etc.
- detoxify your body
- cell transportation in your body
- regulating your body temperature
- lubricating your tissues, spinal cord, and joints
- helping your digestive system work and prevents constipation
- improve your mood and the cognitive functions of your brain
Fasting For Blood Tests
Another question you might have in mind is: If you’re fasting for a blood test, is water okay to drink? Since water doesn’t contain sugars, it is acceptable to consume water if you are fasting for general blood tests and blood sugar level marker tests. As a result, it does not affect insulin and blood glucose levels.
Water is therefore allowed during all types of fasting. Fasting before surgery or other medical treatments would be the only exception. In some medical procedures, all liquids, including water, may not be consumed for two hours before the scheduled surgery.
While not every blood test requires fasting, it is vitally crucial to adhere to this rule. You risk getting false findings if you eat before a fasted test.
Too Many Calories Will Break Your Intermittent Fast
As a general intermittent fasting rule, as long as your drinks contain less than 50 calories your body will remain in its fasted state. And as long as your carbohydrates also remain low, you won’t be thrown out of ketosis.
Ketosis happens when your carbohydrate intake is low thus burning stored fat instead of glucose for fuel. Intermittent fasting can help you reach a ketosis state. If one of your primary reasons for fasting includes weight loss, fat reduction, managing type 2 diabetes, and heart health, ketosis can help you with these.
Therefore, avoid any drinks that contain more than 50 calories so you won’t break your fast.
What Kinds Of Water Am I Allowed To Drink When Intermittent Fasting?
Water isn’t just for drinking; it plays an integral role in maintaining optimum health. There are other kinds of water to consume than just plain water and make your fasting a little more “tastier”.
Just remember in intermittent fasting, you have to consume fewer calories than you burn. It only works if you create a caloric deficit.
Here is a quick list of beverages you can drink when fasting:
1. Lemon Water
You might think if you drink lemon water, it will break your fast. However, it does not if the lemon water is made at home and only contains water and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
This will help you stay hydrated and lemon has certain minerals like vitamin C and trace levels of potassium, iron, and B vitamins.
In a 2008 study, 24 overweight and obese older individuals were evaluated to see how water affected their calorie intake. According to the study, consuming 16.9 ounces (0.5 liters) of water before breakfast reduced the meal’s caloric content by 13%2.
In a different study, drinking water before a meal reduced appetite and enhanced satiety3.
Drinking lemon water on an empty stomach can be an excellent strategy to aid in weight loss quickly because it has few calories and can produce satiety like plain water.
2. Flavored Water
Stevia, a natural, carb-free substitute to sugar that does not raise insulin levels, is used to sweeten products. Popular flavored seltzer water can be consumed while fasting.
However, be mindful that if your flavored water contains added sugars, it’s a poor choice to drink while intermittent fasting.
3. Sparkling Water and Mineral Water
Sparkling water or carbonated water is a fantastic alternative to ordinary water while fasting. Carbon dioxide is added to artificial sparkling water (seltzer water) or occurs naturally in mineral springs. Essential minerals, including magnesium, calcium, and potassium, are found in sparkling water.
Where the water is supplied has a significant impact on the mineral content. In addition to being safer than tap water, bottled water is typically sourced from isolated areas like mountains where there is little pollution or potential for contamination.
Other Beverages That You Can Consume While Intermittent Fasting
Drinking enough fluids is essential in fasting. While water is foremost the ideal, some intermittent fasting safe drinks are:
Unsweetened tea (and caffeinated coffee) can help you keep your fast by suppressing your hunger. You can enjoy your tea unsweetened or stevia-sweetened.
You can drink green tea, black tea, or any other type of tea.
Coffee that is plain, sweetened with stevia, or spiced with cinnamon or cardamom is safe.
While fasting, you should stay away from beverages containing sugar or artificial sweeteners, maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, milk, and other dairy products.
If you are on “fat” fasting, you can drink the “Bulletproof coffee,” which has additional fats like MCT oil or coconut oil. Fast fasting can be a useful tool to get started with fasting or when you want to get back on track.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Like other types of vinegar, apple cider is acidic and shouldn’t be consumed straight from the bottle. If it is, it can irritate your stomach and potentially destroy your tooth enamel.
Add one tablespoon of vinegar to a large glass of water to make it suitable for intermittent fasting and safer to drink.
Drinks To Avoid While Intermittent Fasting
Coconut water, juices, hot chocolate, and alcoholic drinks like beer and wine should all be avoided when fasting because they will all break your fast. These drinks all include either carbohydrates or proteins.
If you’re playing by an intermittent fasting rule, here are other drinks to avoid during your fasting window:
- Coffee or tea with milk, sugar or cream added to them
- Soft drinks that contain sugar or other sweeteners with calories
- Lattes, cappuccinos, and other coffee drinks
Recap: Can You Drink Water While Fasting
You should only consume water when on a strict fast. You will have the option to drink still water, sparkling water, or zero-carb water with electrolytes.
Try to drink at least two liters of water each day. Forgo all drinks that are calorie rich or those that will make your body have an insulin response.
1 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2005. Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/10925.
2 Davy BM, Dennis EA, Dengo AL, Wilson KL, Davy KP. Water consumption reduces energy intake at a breakfast meal in obese older adults. J Am Diet Assoc. 2008 Jul;108(7):1236-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2008.04.013. PMID: 18589036; PMCID: PMC2743119.
3 Lappalainen R, Mennen L, van Weert L, Mykkänen H. Drinking water with a meal: a simple method of coping with feelings of hunger, satiety, and desire to eat. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1993 Nov;47(11):815-9. PMID: 8287852.