Updated: Feb 10, 2021
Personally, I am a big proponent of both the new health movements, Intermittent Fasting (IF) & Gut Health. While I do fast and own a kombucha company, I’m often asked if kombucha is allowed during fasting. I’m going to lay it all out for you.
Yes, kombucha will break your fast if consumed during your fasting window. In the typical sense, any calories consumed during your fasting window will break your fast. The average kombucha has 15-20 calories (mainly from sugar) per 100ml, and hence will break your fast
While kombucha does break your fast, this question should not be on your mind because it’s pretty straightforward. Let’s go over the basics of what constitutes breaking your fast so that the next time you have a query, you’ll be sure of the answer without needing to hit up google or reddit!
What Constitutes Breaking A Fast?
In the most typical sense, a fast means complete abstinence from food for specific periods of time. So, technically, even 1 calorie consumed during your fasting period would break a fast.
However, when we looked at it more practically, having less than 20 calories from kombucha ‘might’ not reduce the health benefits you reap from intermittent fasting. Now I say might and put it in quotes because there is no strong science on whether 20 calories from kombucha or rather any other beverage, is going to kick you out of the state of fasting.
The point I’m trying to make is, we can’t be a hundred percent certain what is the calorie threshold above which we will break our fast and lose the benefits of fasting. While there in reality would be a calorie amount, it would vary for every single individual depending on a bunch of factors like weight, lifestyle, insulin sensitivity and also from which foods/drinks are those calories being consumed. So even if a large study was done to find this out, you can’t ever be sure that what you consumed didn’t break your fast, because any number would be arbitrary. So what’s the solution?
Only consume zero / <1 calorie beverages during your fasting period. There is no point in risking breaking your fast (unknowingly ofcourse) and continuing to control your hunger thinking it’s all good in the hood. Better be safe than sorry!
What Happens if You Break Your Fast?
I am assuming you understand the benefits of intermittent fasting rather than just doing it for and believing it will help with weight loss. (Sorry if I sound arrogant, but I genuinely think it’s sad that we don’t ponder more into questions like ‘What does intermittent fasting actually do to my body?’ and just blindly follow what other self-proclaimed experts say. And no the answer isn’t weight loss).
So let’s understand the most important thing that happens during fasting. It’s all to do with the hormones!
Growth Hormone (GH) Spike
As the word suggests growth hormone is responsible for our body’s growth. So from muscle building to cell and tissue repair, we need GH for all basic functions relating to our body’s growth. This is also why competitive bodybuilders inject additional growth hormones to get that extremely muscular physique.
To simply put it, when we fast our growth hormone is spiked. This spike then leads to more optimal muscle building and repair. More muscle leads to more weight loss. Why? Every gram of muscle (just having that muscle) burns calories and increases your basal metabolic rate (BMR) or in layman’s terms, the number of calories your body burns in a single day, doing absolutely nothing.
And yes this is backed by studies of course. Check out this study that cites the correlation between Growth Hormone and Fasting
2. Improved Insulin Sensitivity
Insulin is the hormone responsible for regulating our blood sugar levels. This means that a person with poor insulin sensitivity is more likely to get diabetes or at least suffer from the effects of high blood sugar (which is a long list, we don’t want to go there!)
Fasting has shown to improve our body’s ability to process sugar by efficiently secreting insulin from our pancreas when we consume carbohydrates; backed by this study.
Since you know now the prime benefits of intermittent fasting, I guess it’s clear what you’ll miss out on by breaking your fast by drinking kombucha!
What Can You Drink During Your Fasting Period?
So what is it actually that you can drink that shan’t break your fast. Shan’t seems like a weird word.
3. Plain Ol’ Black Coffee
This is what most people who fast will start their day with. It’s old, it’s traditional, you know all about it.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar in water with some lemon is a great drink to consume during you fast. Might not be that appetizing, but it’s super healthy and great for your gut!
5. Green Tea
All the non-coffee addicts’ vouch for this. One of the options I personally use, really helps me get through up to 18-hour fasts without losing my head.
6. Nimbu Pani (Indian Lemonade)
Underrated. Indians know how to make some refreshing nimbu pani. Check out this recipe. And of course, switch the sugar out and replace it with stevia drops. If you didn’t already know, stevia is a plant-based zero-calorie sweetener, great for diabetics and people who are fasting.
7. Iced Tea
Another option I’d personally recommend. Also, I’d like to believe this drink is my own invention. It’s super simple and tasty. Steps below:
Boil some black tea
Add some lemon juice
Add some stevia
It’s genuinely so tasty once you experiment and get the ratios that fit your liking.
8. Diet Coke
While the debate on whether diet coke is good or bad for you is never going to end, it is <1 calorie so you can enjoy it during your fast. You’ll come across many people who’ll give you their opinion on why diet coke is so bad and worse than normal coke. But in my eyes, the harm loads of sugar in coke does to your body is nothing compared to harm some artificial preservatives and sweeteners ‘might’ (not enough research proving then do the said harm) do to your body. That being said the first 4 options and the next option should be your regulars
Bet you didn’t think of water. Jokes. Though, in my experience, water is actually a great way to pull through a fast. Especially, when you are on the go, you really should make sure you have water to sip on.
Bonus Content: What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Incase you’re someone who is following intermittent fasting just because it’s on trend or doing it because your friend is, give this a read to know what you’re getting into
Intermittent fasting is more of a lifestyle than a diet. It is an eating pattern that involves taking extended breaks between two meals to reap the immense health benefits that come from fasting. And NO, intermittent fasting itself will not make you lose weight. You have got to be in a caloric deficit i.e. burn more calories than you’re consuming on a daily basis.
Types of Intermittent Fasting
This is the most common type, where your eating window is 8 hours and the fasting window is 6 hours. I personally follow this style of fasting, pushing the fasting period to up to 18 hours
Also known as The Warrior Diet; the eating window is 1 hr and the fasting period is 23 hours. No need to guess why it’s called The ‘Warrior’ DIet…
To date, I found this type of fasting to be relatively rare. It involves eating normally for 5 days of the week and doing a complete fast for the other 2. That does sound like a sad weekend tbh.
Main Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Increase In Growth Hormone
Improved Insulin Sensitivity
Yes, these indirectly do aid in weight loss and muscle growth and cell and tissue repair. But I’ll say it once again, you need to be in a caloric deficit to lose weight. Intermittent fasting is just an added tool that you can use to your advantage!