If you're just getting started with intermittent fasting, know this: You don't need to survive off air and water during your fasting window. In fact, there are several beverages, supplements and vitamins that you can safely consume without breaking your fast.
Which raises the question: Does bone broth break a fast?
Bone broth is a nutrient-dense food made by simmering animal bones and connective tissues in water for an extended period of time. Eventually, you're left with a healing elixir filled with amino acids, vitamins and collagen, which has been shown to improve the health of your gut, joints and bones.
Below, we'll examine whether or not bone broth breaks a fast, and how to combine intermittent fasting and drinking bone broth into a healthy lifestyle.
Does Bone Broth Break a Fast?
Unfortunately, eating or drinking anything with calories will break your fast if you are fasting for autophagy. Therefore, because bone broth can contain between 40-50 calories per cup, it will break your fast .
During your fasting window, you can only consume foods, supplements and beverages with zero calories. This includes black coffee, apple cider vinegar, tea, water and most multivitamins. You can also consume some supplements, such as electrolytes, probiotics and water-soluble vitamins during your fast.
There are some supplements — including collagen, bone broth and MCT oil — that contain incredible health benefits but will break a fast due to their caloric content. These supplements support healthy insulin levels, decrease inflammation and can boost weight loss (fat loss), which are the same benefits you get from intermittent fasting. Therefore, you should consume these supplements during your eating window for maximum benefits. It’s also important to consider why you're fasting. For example, if it's weight loss, then consuming MCT oil in your coffee might actually be beneficial. Check out our article on fasting and collagen, MCT and coffee specifically for more details.
3 Common Health Benefits of Fasting and Drinking Bone Broth
Just because bone broth breaks your fast, doesn't mean it isn't a nutrient-dense food. In fact, bone broth offers many of the same benefits you might get from intermittent fasting.
1. Broth and Fasting Can Help You Enter Ketosis
Drinking bone broth and practising intermittent fasting can help you enter the metabolic state known as ketosis.
Bone broth does not contain any added refined sugar and contains less than 1 gram of carbs per serving, making it suitable for any low-carb diet, like the keto diet . And since bone broth is filled with plenty of protein and healthy fats, it won't kick you out of ketosis.
If you are experimenting with intermittent fasting in order to enter a fat-burning state, drinking bone broth is highly unlikely to kick you out of ketosis. With intermittent fasting, you are not getting energy (i.e., calories) from any external source, such as food or water. This forces your body to convert its own fat stores into ketones for energy. Since bone broth only supplies your body with protein and fat — not glucose — it is highly unlikely to negatively impact your ketone levels. (Note: Some bone broth recipes may contain vegetables, which do have some traces of carbohydrates.)
2. Broth and Fasting Can Support Healthy Healthy Insulin Levels
Drinking bone broth can help lower your blood sugar levels — the same benefit you'll get from an intermittent fast.
Bone broth is filled with all nine essential amino acids (those amino acids that must be consumed through food). In particular, it contains the amino acid glycine, which has been scientifically shown to support healthy insulin levels. In studies, people with chronically high blood sugar levels, high obesity rates or those diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes have been shown to have low levels of glycine . Fortunately, consuming glycine has been shown to boost healthy insulin responses and decrease blood sugar levels.
Likewise, practising intermittent fasting has been shown to help decrease body weight, glycogen (stored glucose) levels and insulin resistance . In fact, in some studies patients diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes were able to decrease their reliance on prescription drugs (like insulin) after introducing intermittent fasting periods.
3. Broth and Fasting Can Boost Your Immune System
Both bone broth and intermittent fasting provide anti-inflammatory benefits, helping to support your immune system.
There's a reason you crave soups and stews when you're sick — drinking chicken bone broth (or any bone broth) can help boost your immune system. Digesting bone broth causes an anti-inflammatory response, and has been shown to help repair your cells and gut lining .
Practising intermittent fasting has been shown to pose similar benefits. Research shows that being in a fasted state activates autophagy, or your body's way of cleaning out damaged cells to make way for newer, healthier cells. Autophagy, in turn, can boost your body's immunity .
Bone Broth Fasting: How to Drink Bone Broth in a Fasted State
If you want the dual benefits of drinking bone broth and practising intermittent fasting, there's a gray area you should know about: the bone broth fast.
A bone broth fast (also called the bone broth diet) is an intermittent fasting approach where you partake in longer fasts, but you can consume bone broth and collagen during your fasting window. That way, you get the same benefits of a strict fast, but you can consume some calories.
The bone broth fast is a good 'gateway' fast if you are new to intermittent fasting. Even so, you should always start small, then gradually work your way up to longer fasting periods over time. Here are several ways you can approach a bone broth fast (written in order from beginner to advanced):
- Meal skipping: If you've never experimented with intermittent fasting, start here. Simply replace a meal with one cup of bone broth, and resume eating regularly at the following meal.
- The 16/8 method: Drink bone broth with added collagen for 16 hours per day. During your eight-hour feeding window, eat plenty of fermented foods and other probiotics to support your gut health.
- 24-hour bone broth fast: For a full 24 hours, consume only bone broth and collagen. You should not practise this fast more than once per week.
- Fasting twice per week: This method calls for two 24-hour fasting windows implemented within a one-week timeframe. For this advanced approach, you may want to consume fermented veg, gelatin, collagen and different types of bone broth during your fasting days.
Disclaimer: Many times the bone broth fast is implemented as a type of elimination diet (like the GAPS diet), where you discover which foods negatively impact your digestive system. Always work with an ancestrally inspired nutritionist when conducting an elimination diet.
Bone Broth Will Break Your Fast, But Still Comes With Beneficial Nutrients
Eating or drinking anything with calories will break a fast for autophagy. With that being said, there are some foods — like bone broth — that will break your fast, yet still come with similar benefits as intermittent fasting.
Drinking bone broth and sticking to an intermittent fasting schedule can help boost your immune system, decrease insulin resistance and help you get into ketosis. Because they share similar health benefits, bone broth falls under a seemingly grey area for intermittent fasting.
Rather than avoiding bone broth altogether, you can try a bone broth fast instead. With a bone broth fast, you will consume collagen and bone broth during your fasting window, and eat your typical diet during your feeding window. To learn more about intermittent fasting and the benefits of bone broth, be sure to check out the resources section on this website.
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It is not intended to treat or diagnose symptoms and is definitely not intended to be misconstrued for medical advice. We always advise you seek the advice of a trained professional when implementing any changes to your lifestyle and dietary habits.
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