Breaking a Fast: What to Eat and What to Avoid
Ever since our clients first started using DoFasting, we’ve been flooded with tons of questions asking what can and can’t they eat during a fast. What’s allowed? What breaks a fast? What foods are safe and which foods are a no-go?
The goal of intermittent fasting is to get our bodies into ketosis. Ketosis boasts dozens of health benefits such as higher metabolism, increased calorie burning, lower inflammation, improved thinking and cognition, and autophagy, which is simply your body breaking down and getting rid of old cells.
On a basic level, when we fast, we give our bodies a break from digestion. When we stop digesting, our pancreas releases insulin and breaks down foods. This is why we want to avoid any foods that have calories or any carbs, proteins, and fats.
When you break a fast, your body becomes more insulin sensitive and your digestive function begins to diminish (depending on the length of your fast). It’s a good idea to take it slow at first.
If you’re wondering what to eat when breaking your fast, you don’t have to be super careful with your first meal of the day. Start with a meal that’s 500 calories or less. Your digestive function won’t start changing until you fast for at least 36 hours. It’s a good idea to favor whole foods that are nutritious and have some substance. Also, avoid combining fats and carbs in the same meal as it can cause a double insulin spike.
When you’re ready to break your fast, have a glass of water with a teaspoon of salt, bone broth, or tea with cinnamon in it. This will prepare your body to receive food, help you maintain steady insulin levels, and avoid a spike.
10 Foods You Can Enjoy Eating When Breaking Your Fast
While fasting, your body is in fat-burning mode. That’s why eating healthy fats, like those found in avocados, helps you stay in ketosis.
Coconut Oil & MCT Oil
These both contain caproic acids that bypass the liver and get quickly absorbed by your body. These also help prime you for further fat burning.
Combining lean proteins with some fresh greens is the perfect first meal. Just make sure you keep your portions small, somewhere around 500 calories, and take your time as you chew.
Nuts are hard to digest after a fast, but nut butter is super easy on the stomach. It’s also a great source of healthy fats. Another option is to make a nice healthy salad and use nut butter as the base for your salad dressing.
They provide your body with an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes without making your body work overtime digesting all that fiber.
Soups made with bone broth will provide you with all the benefits you already enjoy with bone broth. On top of that, you can add some nourishing foods like cruciferous vegetables (cabbages, broccoli, and such) or lean protein.
Eating fruit when breaking your fast is a great option for athletes who want to get back into muscle-building mode. Fruits, like melons, are high in electrolytes and water. With melons, you’re guaranteed a boost in overall nutrition and digestion!
Bananas help modulate your insulin response, which is pretty important since you’re ultra-sensitive when you first start eating after a fast.
Eating fermented foods as part of your first meal is super helpful in facilitating digestion.
A smoothie – especially one filled with superfoods – is nutritious and easy to digest. Furthermore, it’s ultra-convenient and painless to prepare.
Experiment with these different foods and see which one’s work best for you. Your body may not always react the same way to the same foods, so it’s important to stay flexible and listen to what your body is telling you.
The Bottom Line
The jury’s still out on many when it comes to breaking a fast with non-foods, supplements, and other odd ingredients. But think, at the end of the day, what is your goal? Body composition or improved overall, metabolic health? What you eat should always depend on what it is you’re trying to accomplish. And remember, basically everything that includes calories breaks the fast. Always keep that in mind!
All the best,