Updated: Feb 3, 2021
As you guys may have noticed with my popular articles such as "does stevia break a fast?" and "does lemon water break a fast?" - the topic of Intermittent Fasting can get a little bit more confusing than it may appear at first glance.
Today, I'm breaking down the vital question of weather or not WATER breaks your fast.
What's Your Goal With IF?
First things first, it's important to understand that when asking if something breaks your fast, you have to determine what your goal with Intermittent Fasting is. Are you fasting for religious purposes? Is this a doctor advised therapeutic fast? Or are you looking for overall weight loss, de-bloating and health benefits of Intermittent Fasting? For example, if you're fasting for religious purposes, such as with Ramadan, ANYTHING will break a fast, including water. There are also some therapeutic "dry" fasts that your doctor may have you perform under his/her supervision.
However, if your goal is weight loss, de-bloating and general health benefits, then water DOES NOT break your fast. In fact, it's CRUCIAL to have during your fasted and non-fasted state. And yes, this can include sparkling and still water. I don't recommend using "flavored" waters as these have the potential to break a fast with the added ingredients.
Water Loss While Fasting
Something really interesting happens when you start utilizing Intermittent Fasting - as you eat less often, the frequency of insulin (the storing hormone) being secreted decreases. Plus, you may be experiencing even further decreases in insulin as you balance your blood glucose levels with the Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle protocols and recipes.
If weight loss is your goal, then this is great! When insulin is low, this allows your fat cells to "unlock" so that you can actually USE your fat cells as a fuel source and start working toward your weight loss goal.
Another interesting thing happens as insulin goes down - your body starts to release excess water and sodium. This translates to decreased water retention. When insulin levels are chronically high, this causes the kidneys to hold on to water (and sodium as a result). This can result in issues such as high blood pressure or the "puffy" sensation.*
As your insulin levels decrease while using IF protocols, so does the body's signal to hold on to water. In the short term as your body adapts, this can lead to dehydration. This is why it's crucial to be taking in water during your fast and your eating window in order to replenish the water that has been lost.
As water is released via the kidneys while you fast, sodium can also be lost, too. Sodium is an essential mineral to electrolyte balance and nerve function. An electrolyte imbalance can lead to headaches that are often associated with the beginning stages of Intermittent Fasting. This is why in the Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle protocols I recommend using Celtic Sea Salt paired with your morning water to incorporate an electrolyte balance.
*For a deeper dive into insulin's role in blood pressure and water retention, check out THIS article.
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Autumn Elle Nutrition