It is very important to ensure that you spend some time figuring out what you can eat or drink during a fast. It can be quite difficult and a lot of people find it difficult to figure out whether it is okay to drink water.
In most types of fasts, water is completely fine to drink, however, this will depend on the reason for your fasting.
Whether you’re fasting in the leadup to a medical appointment or you’re performing intermittent fasting for dietary reasons, let’s dive into whether or not you can drink water during the fast.
Fasting Before A Medical Procedure
Sometimes, you are instructed to fast for between 8 and 12 hours in the lead up to a medical procedure.
The reason for this is that it is ideal for you to have an empty stomach when you are undergoing surgery because it will reduce the risk of certain complications. These complications include vomiting, aspiration and regurgitation.
While you are not supposed to drink water for 2 hours before these procedures, some medical professionals will let you drink water for the other 6-10 hours that you will be fasting for.
Some advice, however, is to stay away from water during this time too.
Sometimes, you will be permitted to drink juice up to 2 hours before the procedure, but, again, this will depend on the procedure and you should ensure that you are following your doctor’s guidance.
Make sure that if you are undergoing a procedure, you have spoken to your healthcare provider and have all the details on the nature of your fast beforehand.
Fasting Before Blood Tests
You will sometimes be instructed to fast prior to a blood test. This is because some of the substances that are in certain foods impact the results of blood tests.
Often, you will need to fast before you undergo a blood test for your glucose levels. You will also need to fast prior to a cholesterol test.
If you don’t fast in the leadup to these tests, then you may get some inaccurate results. Ensure that you speak to your doctor so that you are sure about when and for how long you should be fasting before your blood test as it will often vary.
Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating where you have some periods of fasting and some periods of eating. This fasting pattern doesn’t go into any detail about what foods to eat, but it lets you know when you should eat them.
There are lots of different methods for intermittent fasting and they all split the day or week up into different eating periods and different fasting periods.
For example, sometimes you will abstain from food for 12 hours every day, or you can fast for 24 hours once or twice a week.
Risks Of Intermittent Fasting
Fasting causes low blood sugar levels and low insulin levels. Solid foods increase these blood sugar levels and they stimulate the release of insulin.
This is the hormone that carries sugar to your cells and balances your blood sugar levels.
Can You Drink Water During Intermittent Fasting?
Water is completely fine to drink while you are intermittently fasting as it doesn’t affect your blood sugar levels or your levels of insulin secretion.
It is recommended that you drink water during the fasting because it will help you to stay hydrated.
When you eat solid foods, your fast will be broken because your body will begin to digest your food, encouraging your body to enter into the digestion phase. This lasts for several hours as your body breaks down the food.
Dry fasting is a type of fasting that does not allow you to drink any liquids. It means that you can’t drink tea, water, broth or any other fluids during the fasting period.
Most fasts do encourage water intake, so this is quite different.
During a dry fast, all liquids as well as foods, are restricted for a certain amount of time. Some people do this during an intermittent fast for a certain period.
Risks Of Dry Fasting
Dry fasting carries many risks. These include but are not limited to dehydration. If you are considering dry fasting, then you should make sure to discuss this with your healthcare provider before you try it.
What Can I Drink?
During a fast where it is okay to drink water, it is also okay to drink some other drinks that are calorie-free. This will help you to stay hydrated during the fasting period, as well as keeping you distracted from your hunger.
Some of these calorie-free drinks include:
- Black coffee
- Sparkling water
- Lemon water
- Flavored water
However, it is very important that you don’t add any sugar or sweeteners to your tea or coffee, as this will start containing calories.
If you are embarking on a long fast, sometimes you are permitted to drink bone broth. This does contain some fat, however sometimes the vitamins and minerals that it provides outweigh this.
What Drinks Will Break Your Fast?
There are certain drinks that will break your fast. If you are carrying out intermittent fasting, then you should avoid any drinks that contain sugar and calories.
These same drinks will also increase your risk during a medical procedure if you have been instructed to fast.
You should avoid drinks like sodas, sports drinks, coffee or tea with milk, cream or sugar, smoothies or alcohol.
Depending on the type of fasting that you are undergoing, drinking water is sometimes permitted. During an intermittent fast, water is usually allowed to avoid dehydration.
When it comes to fasting due to medical procedures, often you are allowed to drink water for up to 2 hours prior, however this will depend on the procedure so you should consult your doctor on this.
It is important to make sure that you are being safe when you are fasting as it can be dangerous if you don’t have enough energy to safely guide you through the fasting.