What Can You Drink While Intermittent Fasting?

So, what can you drink while intermittent fasting? Good question.

It can be tricky to know what to drink when you first start out, but honestly it becomes easy once you get the hang of it.

So in this post we’re going to give the no-fluff answers to clarify this question once and for all.

And then you can go and get on with the serious stuff of intermittent fasting.

If you haven’t practised IF before, you may like to take a look at our complete guide to intermittent fasting for vegans before you get started.

It’s full of tips to help you succeed in your goals.

Feature image by Katherine Sousa on Unsplash

Table of Contents

Summary: What You Can Drink While Fasting

  • water
  • fizzy water
  • black coffee
  • black tea
  • herbal teas

How do You Know What You Can Drink When Intermittent Fasting?

When practising IF there are two windows in the day – the eating window and the fasting window.

So when decided what you can drink, it will depend on which window you are in.

Let’s start with the fasting window. . .

Which Drinks Won’t Break a Fast?

Basically, any drinks which don’t trigger any reaction within the body won’t break a fast.

That’s to say an insulin response or a blood sugar response.

Anything without sugar, sweeteners, milk (i.e. plant milk), protein, calories etc is fine.

The best drink is water.

Drink a lot of water, all day long.

You can also flavour your water with a squeeze of lemon juice without ruining your fasted state.

Fizzy water is also fine.

And your new best friend is herbal teas.

Even if you don’t like herbal teas right now, think again.

Be open minded to trying them while you’re fasting because they offer several advantages to help you succeed in your fasting adventure.

Why You Should Include Herbal Teas in Your Fast

  • Secondly, by having an array of flavours you give your brain the impression of having more choice rather than just plain old water. I normally have around 10 different flavours of herbal tea in my drawer (before fasting I never drank it), from liquorice to spicy chilli. Just be sure to check there aren’t any added ingredients which could break a fast. Some even have gluten in them so obviously you will want to avoid those.
  • Finally, by adopting herbal tea you give yourself something to do when you’re fasting. Feeling hungry? Make a cuppa tea!

Does Hibiscus Tea Break a Fast?

Hibiscus tea is fine to drink during a fast as long as you’re aware of its potent qualities. Choose the natural leaves which you steep in water to create your cup of tea.

If you’re buying hibiscus tea bags, read the ingredients and know that it won’t have the same powerful effects of natural hibiscus tea for our health.

Among other things, hibiscus tea can help to lower blood pressure.

Normally that’s a great thing, but if you’re fasting, be careful not to drink too much hibiscus tea or you may find your blood pressure dropping too low which can cause dizziness and/orweakness.

Can You Drink Coffee During Intermittent Fasting?

Black coffee’s fine and it won’t disrupt your fasting state at all.

Avoid adding any milk to the coffee, which would trigger the digestive system. You may choose to drink caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee as long as you drink it black and without sweeteners of any kind.

As with anything, drink coffee in moderation.

Can You Add a Dash of Milk to Your Coffee or Tea while Fasting?

Avoid adding any kind of milk to the tea as this would break your fast.

Can you Drink Lemon Water While Intermittent Fasting?

Some sources will say, no, you shouldn’t drink lemon water if you’re strict about fasting.

The reason is that lemon juice does contain a few calories and for a pure water fast it would be considered a breaking of the fast.

However, in reality the effect is so small that in reality it’s unlikely to cause a spike in your sugar levels or insulin, or break your fast.

Not only that, but lemon water’s a healthy option to include in your day and brings with it a boost of vitamin C.

So unless you want to be a super purist, go ahead and add that squeeze of lemon to your water.

Drinks to Avoid While Fasting

Sodas, energy drinks, fruit juices, cordials, sweetened teas, any sweetened drinks, coffee or tea with milk added etc.

Ingredients to avoid

  • Sugars: fruit juices, glucose etc.
  • Artificial Sweeteners: including saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame potassium (acesulfame-K, or Ace-K), sucralose, neotame, and advantame, Xylitol etc.
  • Natural Sweeteners: any form of natural sweetener like dates, cane sugars, concentrated juice, rice syrup, corn syrup, malt syrup, date syrup etc.
  • Added ingredients: preservatives, synthetic colouring, seaweed extract, thickening agents, or any other added ingredients.

Can I Drink Commercial Zero Drinks While Fasting?


To be honest, these drinks are totally not healthy anyway, so if you’re interested in living your healthiest life they’re definitely not something to include.

But if you’re only worrying about breaking the fast, then it’s the same answer.

Being labeled zero calories doesn’t mean you can drink it!

Because although they don’t contain calories, the artificial sweeteners and other ingredients can trigger an insulin response and interfere with your fasted state.

Plus, these kind of sweet drinks can also trigger appetite, further sabotaging your success.

They can also have a negative psychological impact on you, setting up for cravings.

Plus they just aren’t good for you.

What Can I Drink During the Eating Window of Intermittent Fasting?

There are no rules about what you can drink during the eating window. But it’s wise to make your own rules and for the right reasons.

For example if you want to lose weight but you also want to be healthy, these two goals should influence your decisions of what to drink.

Any kind of sugar in your diet beyond the natural sugars which are found in your whole foods will set up a situation of cravings and withdrawals during the fasting window, which makes the whole experience much harder to do, much harder to be successful at, and much more difficult to enjoy.

That’s why eating a wfpb diet facilitates fasting so beautifully.

Can I Drink Alcohol During the Eating Window of Intermittent Fasting?

When it comes to intermittent fasting, there aren’t any set rules written in stone. But there are ways to make fasting more – or less – successful – and alcohol definitely hinders the fasting process.

Alcohol makes fasting harder in many ways. 1. Because of the sugar it contains – which can sabotage your fasting results and 2. because alcohol itself sets up its own form of cravings, making the fasting period much harder.

If you just occasionally have a glass of wine for special occasions then it won’t be so much of an issue, but if you like to have a drink every day, and if you feel that it will be difficult to avoid alcohol, then maybe you could think about changing your relationship with alcohol before starting fasting.

Having said that, if you don’t want to give up alcohol, that shouldn’t stop you from embarking on the intermittent fasting plan.

The 16:8 (16 hours fasting : eight hours eating) is especially friendly to fit into your normal life routine and it shouldn’t be difficult to implement even if you do still drink alcohol and eat what you like.

Can I Drink Anything I Like During the Eating Window of Intermittent Fasting?

This is similar to saying, can I eat whatever I want while intermittent fasting? and the answer is that it depends on your motivation and your goals for fasting in the first place.

If you’re motivation is for the health benefits that come with IF and not just to lose weight, then the question of what you can drink will depend on whether it’s something you want to drink regardless of the IF.

It’s important to remember that by cutting out sugar you make fasting much easier. Sugar leads to cravings which can lead to over-eating or struggling with hunger during your fasting window.

For these reasons, for best results you should try to minimise the drinks you have with sugar in them (juice, lemonade, coca cola, alcohol etc) and favour water, black coffee and herbal teas even during the eating window of IF.

Final Thoughts on What You Can Drink During Intermittent Fasting

It may seem daunting at the beginning, to only drink water or black coffee and herbal teas but I promise you it’s worth the effort.

Don’t beat yourself up or get negative if you break out from your goals or fail in your targets. Change happens gradually, step by tiny step, so don’t set the bar too high for yourself.

Think of where you’re at right now and aim to take one small step in the right direction.

That might just mean waiting until 2 p.m. before you have a sugary drink or it might mean cutting out sugar completely.

Keep in mind your ultimate goal and let that spur you to take the next small step when you’re ready.

Intermittent fasting is a wonderful way to feel fit and healthy and give yourself the best health boost possible, especially when combined with a wfpb diet.

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