If you've been dabbling with Intermittent Fasting, you're probably aware of the huge importance of using electrolytes throughout the day. But this brings up an important question: do electrolytes break a fast?
Today, I'm breaking down the details of electrolytes and Intermittent Fasting.
Do Electrolytes Break a Fast?
Electrolytes are minerals that we need to get from our diet in order to maintain fluid balance, send signals from our brain and allow our muscles to contract. Major electrolytes include sodium, potassium, chloride and magnesium. Not getting enough of these electrolytes (especially sodium) can lead to muscle cramps, headaches and even a life threatening condition called hyponatremia.(1)
While using Intermittent Fasting, insulin (the storing hormone) levels tend to dip down.(2) This allows the body to shift back into fat burning (aka lipolysis), which is great for a weight loss goal. However, this lowered insulin level can also signal to the kidneys to release water and sodium via urine at higher levels. Due to this release, replacing lost water and electrolytes is crucial to prevent electrolyte imbalance symptoms.
Because minerals have no energy value, they do not break a fast. However, electrolyte supplements often do break a fast. This is because electrolyte supplements or sports drinks typically get packaged with a significant amount of sugar. Sugar causes insulin (the storing hormone) to spike and therefore break your fast.
Pssst - wondering what type of fasting is best for your goals? Click below for my free Intermittent Fasting Schedule quiz to find out!
How Do You Replenish Electrolytes When Fasting?
In order to replenish lost electrolytes while not breaking your fast, it's crucial to either opt for an electrolyte replacement that contains (at minimum) adequate amounts of sodium without any added sugar OR to use a high quality sea salt in your water and on your food. This will provide both the sodium and chloride that is typically lost. I personally love using Celtic Sea Salt (found on Amazon HERE) for a cost effective, whole food source of electrolytes. But you can also experiment with fasting specific supplements that contain sodium, potassium and magnesium, such as the unflavored LMNT, found on Amazon HERE. If you experience high blood pressure or you're salt sensitive, it's important to first check in with your doctor.
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Autumn Elle Nutrition