What breaks a fast?

While fasting, what can you and cannot you eat and drink

A person may be able to consume some food and drink during fasting depending on their fasting method. So, What breaks a fast?

It is a dietary practice in which people refrain from eating or drinking anything containing calories for a certain period of time.

Fasting may take place for a few hours per day for some people, or it may last for 24–48 hours or more for others.

Fasting can take many forms, while certain foods and drinks may have less impact on breaking a fast than others, depending on how the person practices fasting.

Among the topics discussed in this article are what fasting is and what its benefits, how it is performed, and what types of food and beverages people may choose to include or avoid when fasting.

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Fasting: what is it, and how does it work?

The fasting diet consists of voluntarily abstaining from consuming calories-containing food and drink for a set amount of time.

Various fasting methods have been used for hundreds of years by people around the world. A wide variety of religious fasts are available to people, as are many different fasting methods.

In a systematic review published in 2015, there was evidence to suggest that this practice may contribute to better health.

Rodent studies suggest that fasting improves metabolism and reduces the risk of:

  • Diabetes

  • Cancer

  • obesity

  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Fasting has also been shown to reduce obesity in humans, with a number of studies demonstrating weight loss in participants who used fasting.

A person’s daily caloric intake is restricted through fasting, but there is limited evidence that fasting promotes weight loss.

Various types of fasting

People can choose whichever form of fasting suits their needs, since there are many forms of fasting. The following are some examples of how to fast.

Follow an alternate day fasting schedule

Fasting days are alternated with eating days in this form of fasting.

Foods and drinks that contain energy or calories should not be consumed during fasting days.

It is permissible for them to consume as much calorie-containing food and beverages as they like on eating days.

A modified fasting regimen

Fasting alternates with eating on alternate days in this form of fasting.

In general, fasting days are marked by people eating only 20–25% of their daily calorie requirements. Eating days are marked by people consuming all of their daily calorie requirements.

Fasting at this time of day is called the 5:2 diet, and it is popular in many parts of the world.

Two consecutive nonconsecutive days are fasted by people following this diet.

Eating on a time-restricted basis

When a person does intermittent fasting, they are limited to eating only a few hours each day.

It is possible that some people might have an eating window between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. During these hours they might fast and eat at other times.

Fasting during Ramadan

Muslims celebrate Ramadan during this holy month. The hours between sunrise and sunset are considered fasting hours during Ramadan.

When fasting during Ramadan, it is common to eat a large meal after sunset, followed by a smaller meal before dawn.

Fasts observed by other religions

The fasts of other religions are different from those of other religions.

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for example, consuming food and drink for an extended period may not be permitted.

In some Seventh-day Adventist churches, the last meal is taken in the afternoon, followed by a fast until the morning of the next day.

What can be consumed during a fast?

It is usually recommended for people to consume minimal or no calories during fasts, except during modified fasts such as the 5:2 diet.


During fasting periods, a person can drink as much water as they like since it contains no calories.

It is not possible to consume calories from drinking water, including sparkling water. Despite the fact that flavored water may not contain any calories, consumers should check the beverage’s nutrition label before purchasing it.

Tea and black coffee

There are very few calories in a cup of black coffee.

Researchers have found that caffeine can suppress appetite, so people may be able to stick to a fast easier with caffeine.

There are certain kinds of tea, like green tea, that can make you feel full and make you want to eat less.

A list of supplements and foods that may break a fast

There are certain foods and supplements that can increase a person’s chances of breaking a fast, including the ones listed below.

Branched-chain amino acids

Branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) supplements may be taken while fasting by some people. Many of these products are labeled and marketed as calorie-free or very low-calorie by their manufacturers.

The average BCAA supplement contains four calories per gram, however.

Due to a labeling loophole in supplement industry regulations, BCAA supplements may show zero calories or very low calories.

The FDA guidelines state, “Protein shall not be declared on labels of products that contain only individual amino acids, except when they are added solely for technological reasons.”

The manufacturers do not list the calories in BCAAs on their packaging even though they contain calories.

Furthermore, researchers have found that leucine, a type of BCAA, signals the brain when the body is not fasting.

Calorie-containing foods and beverages

The fast will end immediately if you consume any calories.

It is imperative to avoid consuming food and drinks that contain calories if you are following a strict fasting schedule.

The modified fasting diet often allows people to consume approximately 25% of their daily calorie requirements while fasting.

In light of this, it is imperative for a person to understand how many calories they need while avoiding food and drinks that exceed their daily intake.

People can calculate how many calories they need per day using the free body weight planner provided by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

A list of supplements and foods that may break a fast

A few supplements and foods are generally permissible during several fasting methods, including the ones listed below.


Multivitamins without calories are available in some brands.

It might be a worthwhile idea to look at any nutritional labels or review the manufacturer’s website prior to purchasing an item.

Among some individuals, consuming high micronutrient concentrations may signal to their bodies that they are not fasting.

As a result, multivitamins and other supplements may be more effective when consumed during mealtimes.

Low-calorie drinks and food

On fasting days, people can eat a limited amount of calories according to some fasting diets, such as the modified fasting plan. Up to 25% of their daily caloric intake is consumed in this way.

Following this method, an individual requiring 2,000 calories per day could consume up to 500 calories per day.

A few examples of low-calorie food and drinks include:
  • Legumes

  • Unsweetened black coffee

  • Potatoes

  • Unsweetened tea that has no milk in it

  • Lean meat

  • Eggs

  • Codfish

A list of the kinds of foods and drinks to eat to break a fast

The dates

A high-carbohydrate main meal is eaten before fasting during Ramadan, which is often broken with sweet foods. During Ramadan, this usually includes dates.

Drink and food with a low glycemic load

When people consume low-glycemic load foods, they may feel full for longer and may have a gentle break from fasting.

There are a number of foods and drinks that are low in glycemic load, such as:

  • Milk

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Most fruits

  • Zero starch vegetables

  • Rolled or steel-cut oats

High-protein drinks and food

In high-protein foods and beverages, someone can feel full without overeating, preventing their digestive system from being shocked after being without food for a while.

Foods high in protein include:

  • Products made from dairy, such as cheese and yogurt

  • All types of nut butter, including peanut, almond, and cashew butter

  • Fish, including salmon and cod

  • Nuts, such as almonds

  • Shakes and protein powders

  • Lean meats

  • Poultry, including chicken and turkey


A fast may benefit your health in a variety of ways, including reducing body weight and decreasing your chances of developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, diabetes, and cancer.

The type of fast people choose depends on their individual needs. People can choose many different types of fasting.

There are fasts that require people to consume no calories during fasting periods, and others that allow them to consume a certain percentage of their daily caloric needs during fasting periods.

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