Intermittent fasting is one of my favorite topics, and I’ve written many articles all about how intermittent fasting (IF) can help you lose weight, improve your health, etc.
So it’s not surprising that I get A LOT of questions about IF. If you’ve tried intermittent fasting, you have probably had some of these common questions. Like which liquids to drink while fasting, does stevia break a fast? Intermittent fasting coffee with cream – is that OK? Does medication break intermittent fasting? Get your questions answered with this Intermittent Fasting FAQ.
If you’re brand new to IF, check out my IF resource library full of more detailed information on intermittent fasting schedules, intermittent fasting for women, and more.
Quick Links to Information in this Post
- How Will I Survive Without Eating for 16+ hours?
- Will (insert your favorite food) Break My Fast?
- What are the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
- What are the Disadvantages of Intermittent Fasting?
- Can I Exercise during Intermittent Fasting?
- Will Intermittent Fasting Slow Down my Metabolism?
- Is Intermittent Fasting Safe for Women?
- Should I Cut Back on Calories for Extra Weight Loss?
- What Are Your Top Tips for Intermittent Fasting?
- How Do I Get Started Intermittent Fasting?
How Will I Survive Without E
ating for 16+ hours?
Going 16 or more hours without food may seem extreme at first. You may get a little hungry. You may get even get a little cranky, but you won’t die.
The longer you fast (in terms of how many times you’ve fasted, not how many hours), the easier it will get.
There’s actually a scientific reason for this: Ghrelin.
Ghrelin is a hormone that controls hunger. Ghrelin stimulates your appetite, increases your food intake and promotes fat storage. The amount of ghrelin your body produces is directly related to when you eat.
It’s sort of a vicious cycle – the more often you eat, the more ghrelin you produce, and the more often you want to eat…and so on and so on…
But with intermittent fasting, the less often you eat, the less hungry you’ll get because ghrelin secretion will begin to adapt to your new eating pattern.
Short answer: Intermittent fasting gets easier the longer you do it! So have discipline and stay busy to keep your mind off eating.
Will (insert your favorite food) Break My Fast?
The single most asked question! Fasting means you are not eating. You can drink some fluids though. These are the liquids to drink while fasting:
- Black Coffee
- Green Tea, black tea, other unsweetened tea
As long as you’re drinking one of these three things, you can drink as much as you want. Anything else will cause some sort of an insulin response (insulinogenic) . That said, there are some grey areas…
Coffee with a Littttttle bit of Something
I drink coffee when I’m intermittent fasting because I find that it blunts my hunger, especially mid morning.
Adding anything to your coffee can potentially break your fast. If you’re having a single cup of coffee each morning this most likely won’t be a problem. I always put a splash of half and
But….if you are drinking a whole pot of coffee and you’re putting a big glug of cream in each time that adds up. So stick with one cup with a tablespoon at most of
Don’t put sugar in your coffee or tea.
If you want to stick to the letter of the law, don’t add anything. If you can’t stand black coffee, save it for your first meal. Then you can add the cream without spiking your insulin.
Can I drink Diet Soda on an Intermittent Fast?
No can do! Even though diet soda has zero calories, diet soda is worse for your health than sugar-sweetened sodas. Don’t put that artificial, chemical stuff into your body.
A study has shown that diet soda may increase your insulin production and may cause an increased risk of excessive weight gain, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Have a glass of water instead, please.
Can I drink Lemon Water on a Fast?
Sure. A tablespoon of lemon juice or Apple Cider Vinegar won’t add enough calories to spike your insulin, so go for it! I often infuse my water with different kinds of fruit, I just don’t eat the fruit during my fast. Here are some great detox water recipes you can try to stay hydrated during a fast.
What are the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
Besides being the easiest way I’ve found to lose weight and body fat, there so many benefits besides fat loss! Check out the long list in this intermittent fasting benefits article.
What are the Disadvantages of Intermittent Fasting?
Most disadvantages are pretty minor and will go away after a couple of weeks. Here are a couple of things people report when they are first trying intermittent fasting:
- Headaches: Give it a couple of weeks, and these usually go away.
- Many bathroom trips: Only because you should be drinking a lot of water during your fasting periods.
- You might feel cold, especially your fingers: This is good news because your blood is traveling to your fat cells. The blood vessels in your extremities
vasoconstrictto compensate – leaving you with cold fingers and toes.
Can I Exercise during Intermittent Fasting?
Definitely! You can continue to exercise as you normally do when fasting. If you work out hard while fasting you may notice that your energy levels are a bit lower, but that’s OK.
That said, if you’re an elite athlete, talk to your coach or nutritionist about your specific situation.
I always walk, fasting or not. (One of the true joys of having a dog.) As far as other forms of activity: sometimes I weight train, sometimes I do cardio, sometimes I do Pilates, sometimes I take a day off when fasting.
Will Intermittent Fasting Slow Down my Metabolism?
For years, we’ve been told to eat every few hours. Three meals and a couple of snacks each day. But by eating this way, you never give your body a chance to burn anything other than the food you are eating.
Intermittent fasting decreases your insulin levels so you start burning fat. Insulin tells your body to store fat and stops your body from breaking fat down.
So if you want to lose fat, you want to decrease your insulin levels. That’s why intermittent fasting is so effective.
Is Intermittent Fasting Safe for Women?
Women are complicated creatures and our biology is no different.
We menstruate, ovulate, gestate, and lactate. We are a symphony of hormones all doing different things at different stages of life.
If you are not concerned about fertility, intermittent fasting is a great way to lose fat, lose weight and improve your health.
Unfortunately, there is not much research into the effects of intermittent fasting on women’s fertility.
You should talk to your medical professional before you start intermittent fasting if you are:
- Concerned about your fertility
- Are trying to conceive
- Are pregnant
- Are breastfeeding
If you don’t fall into those categories, here are some tips for intermittent fasting for women.
Should I Cut Back on Calories for Extra Weight Loss?
Definitely not! Drastically slashing your daily calories will slow down your metabolism over time. If you continue to eat in a calorie deficit for an extended period of time, your metabolism will slow down even if you are intermittent fasting.
Try this calorie calculator to see how much you should be eating each day.
What Are Your Top Tips for Intermittent Fasting?
- Drink water all day
- Stay busy
- Don’t binge during your eating period
- Drink coffee or tea
- Don’t quit: give intermittent fasting at least a month
- Eat healthy during your eating periods
- Try a low-carb diet to reduce hunger and make fasting easier
How Do I Get Started Intermittent Fasting?
I’m so glad you asked! Sign up below to download a free intermittent fasting guide and tracker to help you with
Once you try IF, I know you’ll be hooked on just how easy it is to lose weight, maintain your weight and start getting healthier without it seeming like such a big deal.