Updated: Jan 20, 2022
If you're an athlete and you're using Intermittent Fasting to help improve energy levels and body composition, you're probably wondering if a creatine supplement will break your fast. The answer... depends. Today, we're diving into Intermittent Fasting and creatine supplements.
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is the main energy source used in fast, very high intensity exercises for the first few seconds of the exercise. It's sort of like the initial spark to get the energy systems going. We naturally get creatine from consuming animal products, such as beef, pork, salmon and herring. There are small amounts in milk and cranberries, but not nearly in the quantities of animal meats.
Creatine is one of the most studied athletic supplements to date, with around 500+ studies performed. It has been found to be quite useful in muscle recovery and increased creatine availability in high intensity sports, such as short distance track, football and weight lifting. But one additional, well known, side effect of using creatine is weight gain - usually from water retention.(1)
Creatine can be a useful supplement if you are a well-trained athlete, especially if you aren't currently consuming animal products rich in creatine. However, if you are a casual athlete or not using truly high intensity training, then creatine supplements might not provide much benefit and may even lead to some weight gain.
Now the question we're here for... if you're using Intermittent Fasting, does creatine break a fast?
Does Creatine Break A Fast?
Technically, creatine can be classified as a non-protein nitrogen. Some studies have found that creatine can have an impact on insulin, although these studies were performed on rats.(2) A small human study found that creatine supplementation did not appear to increase fasting insulin levels.(3) It appears there might even be an individual, case-by-case response to creatine regarding insulin levels to consider.
This is assuming the creatine supplement only contains creatine and no added sugar. If the supplement contains added sugar, then it will certainly spike insulin and will therefore break a fast.
Considering that very high intensity exercise usually is performed best when glycogen stores are topped off, it may be a good idea to keep these types of exercises during the eating window while using Intermittent Fasting. That way, muscle glycogen can be topped off from your previous meal and creatine supplements won't need to be considered, as it's during the eating window regardless.
Pssst - wondering what type of fasting is best for your goals? Click below for my free Intermittent Fasting Schedule quiz to find out!
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