Alcohol has been around for many many years. Researchers have even discovered beer recipes engraved on clay tablets that date back to 3000BC. So let’s just say people have been enjoying alcohol for quite some time! However, in recent years popularity has emerged with different alcoholic beverages like IPA’s, spiked waters, and unique cocktails. There is such a wide variety of different alcoholic beverages.
A common question I get asked is if these alcoholic drinks are acceptable while fasting. I covered acceptable beverages while fasting in another article, but people keep asking if just one shot of vodka or tequila will break their fast. In this article I am going to be discussing all about alcohol while intermittent fasting, and if it will break your fast.
Does Alcohol Break My Fast?
Yes, alcohol will break your fast. This is due to alcohol containing calories which in most cases is in the form of carbohydrates. The carbohydrates within alcohol will cause an insulin response in the body thus breaking your fast. All types of alcohol will break your fast this includes vodka, tequila, rum, beer, wine, spiked water, etc.
Look at this image of various alcoholic beverages. You can see that even a shot of straight tequila contains around 69 calories and 13 grams of carbohydrates. A shot of straight vodka contains 65 calories with 3 grams of carbohydrates. This is still enough to break your fast. So, although these are healthier options compared to beer and wine in terms of calories, they still will cause an insulin response within the body thus breaking your fast.
What About Spiked Seltzer Water?
Sparkling water is a very popular beverage consumed while fasting, and is acceptable as long as it is plain sparkling water. Sparkling water is acceptable, but it must contains 0 calories and no artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols. It actually makes a good choice while fasting due to the hydration it provides. Also, the carbonation helps blunt hunger cravings as well. Check out my complete guide on sparkling water and fasting here. However, spiked sparkling water is not acceptable while fasting. The calories within the hard seltzer will break your fast, and cause digestive enzymes to become activated within the body. This means the gut rest benefits and longevity benefits of fasting would no longer be activated.
Let’s look at the nutrition label of the popular spiked seltzer White Claw. White Claw is a great hard seltzer, but it will break your fast. This is due to White Claw containing 100 calories per 12 oz can with 2 grams of carbohydrates. It also contains 2 grams of sugar with 2 grams of added sugars. So, although this is a small amount of sugar it would still cause an insulin response within the body, thus breaking your fast. The ingredient list in a White Claw contains (Purified carbonated water, alcohol, natural flavors, cane sugar, citric acid, natural cherry juice concentrate, sodium citrate). The main issue would be the alcohol, cane sugar, and cherry juice concentrate. These ingredients all contain calories, and would break your fast.
Can I Break My Fast With Alcohol?
Although breaking your fast with alcohol is fine and acceptable, I recommend breaking your fast with a good quality food source. When breaking your fast it is best to stick with a high quality whole food, especially protein. The protein will help prevent muscle breakdown and switch your body from a catabolic to an anabolic state. Your body has just went without food for anywhere between 14-24 hours depending on the intermittent fasting schedule you use. So, it is best to give your body proper nutrients such as lean meat or vegetables. Check out my article on the best foods to break your fast.
Some other reasons it is best to break your fast with food is because you want to preserve muscle mass. While fasting your body is primarily burning fat for fuel, however it can tap into muscle stores for fuel. It is best to break your fast with protein to prevent this from happening. Protein immediately after fasting will quickly switch your body to an anabolic state which helps build muscle. Also, research shows breaking your fast with a high protein low carb meal can actually continue the fat burning effects of intermittent fasting.
However, if you want to break your fast here and there with alcohol, then it is totally fine. It will not ruin the progress you made while fasting. Just remember you have not consumed food in quite some time, so the effects of alcohol will be increased. You will definitely feel the effects of the alcohol more on an empty stomach, so be careful with the amount you consume.
I recommend sticking with water, sparkling water, and black coffee while fasting. These drinks are all acceptable to consume while fasting, and will help provide hydration during your fasting window. Alcohol will break your fast, and is not a wise choice while fasting anyways due to the dehydrating effects of alcohol. It is best to stay extremely hydrated while fasting since you are going periods without food or nutrients.
However, feel free to enjoy an alcoholic beverage during your feeding window! I recommend breaking your fast with quality whole food, but if you need to break your fast with alcohol it will not hurt you. Just remember the effects of alcohol will be heightened since you are on an empty stomach, so take it slow. Try to consume food as soon as you can after fasting to prevent these issues, and to preserve lean muscle mass.