The Ultimate Guide to What You Can Drink While Fasting

5 Refreshing Beverages to Enjoy While Fasting – and 5 That Can Break Your Fast Instantly

5 Fasting-Friendly Drinks and 5 That Will Break Your Fast Instantly

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October 20, 2023

We all know that fasting is not just about the food you eat, but also about the beverages you drink. But what exactly can you drink while fasting without missing out on the benefits? Can you have more than just water? We asked fasting experts and did some research to bring you the lowdown on the best drinks to enjoy during your fasting periods. So grab a cup of coffee or tea, sit back, and let’s dive in!

The Need-to-Knows:

  • Food choices (and fasts) are largely personal: Fasting is a personal journey, and what you can drink largely depends on the type of fast you’re doing and how strictly you’re following it.
  • Strict fasters will say that anything other than water is off the table: Some fasting purists believe that anything with calories could interfere with the fat-burning and autophagy that happens during fasting. For them, it’s water only.
  • Drinking low-calorie drinks might make fasting easier to stick with: Low-calorie drinks like coffee, tea, and lemon water can help keep you fueled during fasting periods and shouldn’t derail your progress too much. They can be particularly helpful during longer fasting periods.

What to Drink While Fasting

While the type of fast you’re following may impact the drinks you choose, here are some fasting-friendly beverages that are low in calories:

Drink Calories Expert Verdict
Water (zero calorie) Zero Water is the best thing to drink while fasting. It offers numerous health benefits and makes up around 60% of the human anatomy.
Tea and black coffee (low in calories) Low Tea and black coffee can count towards your daily water intake. Just be mindful of your serving size and the potential effects of caffeine on your fast.
Coffee with MCT or coconut oil (medium calorie) Medium Adding MCT or coconut oil to your coffee may break your fast calorically, but it shouldn’t stop ketosis. These additions can keep you feeling full while providing some extra flavor.
Sparkling and seltzer waters (zero calories) Zero Enjoy sparkling or seltzer water as long as they don’t contain artificial sweeteners. Opt for unsweetened options to maintain gut health.
Water with lemon (low in calories) Low Squeezing lemon into your water may technically break your fast, but it offers some hydration and detoxification benefits. Stick with it if it’s already part of your routine.

What to Avoid While Fasting

No matter what type of fast you’re following, it’s best to avoid these drinks during your fasting window:

  1. Soda: Loaded with sugar and high in calories, soda is a big no-no during fasting.
    • What to sip instead: Reach for seltzer or sparkling waters to curb your carbonated cravings instead.
  2. Alcohol: High in calories and sugar, alcoholic beverages should be avoided on an empty stomach during fasting.
    • What to sip instead: Sip coffee for a quick pick-me-up, sans booze.
  3. Smoothies: Although packed with nutrients, smoothies will break your fast, especially if they’re commercially available options with excessive sugar and limited fiber.
    • What to sip instead: Add some lemon to your water for a fruity kick during your fasting window.
  4. Bone and vegetable broths: Despite their nutritional value, bone and vegetable broths are caloric beverages that can fire up your digestive system.
    • What to sip instead: Tea can provide warmth and comfort without the calories.
  5. Coffee with cream, milk, or butter: Butter and milk can spike insulin levels, so it’s better to take your coffee black or with MCT or coconut oil.
    • What to sip instead: Take your coffee black or add some MCT oil or coconut oil.

Does the Type of Fast Matter?

Definitely! The type of fast you’re following determines what drinks you can consume during your fasting window. Here are a few popular fasting types and how beverages fit into them:

  • 5:2 fasting: On fasting days, stick to zero-calorie drinks like water, tea, and black coffee. Save smoothies and other healthy options for your non-fasting days.
  • 16:8 fasting: With a longer feeding window, be stricter during your fasting period by sticking to zero-calorie beverages like water and sparkling water.
  • 18:6 fasting: Feel free to sip low- or medium-calorie drinks like teas to stay hydrated during this restricted fasting window.
  • 24-hour fasts or religious fasts: Stick to zero-calorie beverages to fully experience the benefits of these extended fasts. Consult a doctor before attempting.
  • Reverse fasting: Enjoy low- or medium-calorie drinks during your fasting period to stay hydrated and keep electrolyte function going.

Other Perspectives on What You Can Drink While Fasting

While some experts advocate for strictly consuming zero-calorie drinks, others believe that including low-calorie options can make fasting more sustainable:

  • “Clean” fasters: These purists believe that any beverage with calories breaks the fast and affects fasting processes.
  • “Dirty” fasters: By adding a splash of creamer or milk to their coffee or tea, they find it easier to stick with fasting without majorly impacting their progress.

Side Effects

Although fasting can have numerous benefits, it’s essential to be aware of potential side effects:

  • Headaches and constipation: Varady suggests that headaches and constipation may occur during fasting.
  • Hypoglycemia in Type 2 diabetes: People with Type 2 diabetes may experience hypoglycemia while fasting.

If you experience severe symptoms like lightheadedness, seizures, or severe gastrointestinal disturbances, seek medical assistance and break your fast immediately.


Q: What can I drink besides water while fasting? A: Stick to low-calorie beverages like plain teas, black coffee, and seltzer water.

Q: What can you drink while fasting for weight loss? A: Water, tea, and black coffee are your best options.

Q: What can you drink while fasting for blood work? A: Some doctors may require an eight- to twelve-hour fast with only water allowed. Check with your caregiver for specific instructions.

The Takeaway

The debate over what you can drink while fasting boils down to how strict you want to be. “Clean” fasters stick to zero-calorie drinks, while “dirty” fasters make exceptions for low-calorie additions. The most crucial aspect is breaking your fast mindfully. Remember to reintroduce food and beverages gradually to avoid any discomfort. Above all, fasting is not suitable for everyone, so it’s best to consult a doctor before starting your fasting journey.

That’s the scoop on what you can and can’t drink while fasting. Cheers to a hydrated and fashionable fasting experience!