As somebody who has struggled with weight loss in the past, the idea of intermittent fasting was intriguing. No diets, no off-limit foods, just a particular window in which you can eat, and the pounds will melt off. However, staying in a fasting state is more complicated than it looks – especially if you enjoy sweet beverages. So, does adding honey to your tea or coffee break a fast?
Consuming honey while fasting will break your fast. A tablespoon of honey contains 70 calories, enough to break a fast. Honey also contains carbohydrates, preventing your body from reaching ketosis while fasting. As honey is a sweetener, it could spike your insulin levels and ruin your fast.
While this sounds like bad news for those who can’t stomach fasting without their morning tea or coffee, there are always a few alternative methods you can try. If you keep your honey intake below 50 calories during your fasting window, your body might stay in its fasting state. There are also added benefits to incorporating honey into your eating window, which will help you during your fast.
Why Does Honey Break A Fast?
Everyone has heard of the hype surrounding fasting and health, but what does fasting do, and why will honey ruin your fast?
Fasting helps with weight loss but also cleanses the body from toxins. When you cut down on your food intake for a certain period, the cells in your body do not have access to a constant supply of energy like they usually would, forcing them to behave differently.
Cutting your main energy supply (calories), which come from food and most drinks, ensures that the cells in your body will need to find their fuel source elsewhere. The energy that keeps you going during a more prolonged fast comes directly from your fat stores. At this point, your body will reach the ketosis stage, which is why fasting is so efficient for weight loss.
You may have seen some influencers adding a drop of honey into their green tea while fasting or posting recipes of flavored coffee that are fasting safe and wondered whether this was true. While technically, some studies suggest you can stay in a fasting state as long as you consume less than 50 calories, there are other reasons why incorporating honey into your drink may break your fast.
The Reasons Honey Will Break Your Fast
There are a few reasons why adding honey to your tea or coffee would break your fast, and they are pretty simple.
Honey Contains Calories Which Will Break Your Fast
Unfortunately, adding honey to your tea or coffee during a fast will take your body out of its fasting state and into your eating window. This is because a single tablespoon of honey contains 70 calories, and your body needs below 50 calories during your fasting window to stay in a fasting state.
It’s always possible to add less than 50 calories of honey to your drink, but the benefits of this don’t outweigh the negatives. Most people need more than one teaspoon of honey to make a noticeable difference in the flavor of their beverage. Due to human error, you could subconsciously add more honey than you realize or heaping the teaspoon.
Fasting is a relatively simple and efficient way to lose weight or reap massive health benefits. Your body reaches a fasting state when there is no extra energy supply to fuel your cells. The 50-calorie rule for fasting extends throughout the entire fasting period, not just per beverage. So you will only be able to have one cup of tea with less than a tablespoon of honey in it for your entire fasting window.
As it is easy to under-estimate calories or overindulge in multiple cups of sweetened tea during your fasting window, avoiding adding honey to your drinks is far safer.
Honey Can Spike Your Insulin During A Fast
Many people have a sugar addiction without knowing it. Naturally, tea and coffee can be somewhat bitter and unappealing. Adding honey to your beverage during a fasting window will spike your insulin, which will break your fast.
The pancreas will trigger your insulin response once you taste the sweetness of honey, and your body will no longer turn to its fat stores for energy.
Honey Contains Carbs Which Will Break Your Fast
Unfortunately, when it comes to fasting, honey is one of the worst things you can consume, as it is loaded with carbs – 82% of 3.53oz of honey is carbohydrates (2.89oz). You will need to cut out any carbs or calories during your fasting period to remain in a fasting state.
Eliminating any carb intake during your fasting window is crucial to ensure your body reaches a state of ketosis. Consuming carb-heavy honey defeats the primary purpose of fasting: to send the body into a state of ketosis, to burn your fat stores instead of the energy you have consumed.
So, in general, even if it is a quarter of a tablespoon of honey, your insulin levels may spike, you are still consuming calories, and the carb levels in the honey may take your body out of ketosis while you are fasting. It is safer just to avoid any honey while fasting. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in honey during your eating window.
How To Use Honey To Improve Your Fast?
While sadly, you can’t consume any honey while fasting, you can use as much as you want during your eating window. Consuming honey after or before a fast has proven to have many benefits.
As raw honey contains minerals, vitamins, antiseptics, and antibiotics, there are numerous health benefits you can receive by consuming honey during your eating window. Honey contains glucose, fructose, and water, which can help you sustain energy during a fast or replenish your energy and water levels after a fast.
Adding raw honey to warm water and drinking it as a beverage before or after a fast can boost rehydration and energy levels in your body. As honey contains natural sugars, phytonutrients, and enzymes, you can replenish some crucial nutrients by drinking honey and water after a long fast.
Benefits Of Honey While Fasting
Numerous benefits go hand in hand with consuming honey before or after a fast; as fasting can take a massive toll on your body and mind, it is essential to establish a balance in lifestyle.
Honey Can Help With Regulating Blood Sugar Levels
Honey contains glycogen, a vital part of regulating your blood sugar levels. Consuming raw honey the night or day before you start a prolonged fast can help improve your energy levels during the fast.
Your liver may be depleted of essential nutrients after many hours of not eating, so restoring your glycogen levels is crucial to keeping your body healthy and balanced in-between fasts. Drinking raw honey in water is the fastest way to spread glucose and fructose to the rest of your body.
Honey Can Aid The Digestive System While Fasting
Unfortunately, fasting can have an impact on your digestive system. Many reports show that people experience a change in bowel movements, an increase in bloating, or suffer from constipation while intermittent fasting.
As honey contains anti-inflammatory properties, a spoon of raw honey in warm water can help soothe the digestive system and helps with regulating bowel movements.
Honey Can Improve Your Sleep While Fasting
Studies have shown that some people may experience increased insomnia while intermittent fasting, and others report they couldn’t get a good night’s rest due to vivid dreams. Fasting can take its toll on the body in unique ways, so combatting any side effects and restoring balance before and after a fast is crucial.
Before you go to sleep at night, drinking a glass of warm water with honey has been shown to improve sleep quality. The honey also aids in the repair and recovery of cells in your body while you are sleeping, ensuring your body is healthy and happy.
Alternative Drinks While Fasting
While it may not be the best idea to add honey to your drinks while fasting, even in small amounts, there are a couple of drinks that are fasting-safe that you can use to supplement your honey-flavored beverages.
Water While Fasting
Water is an essential liquid that you should drink while fasting. Although it is widely known that water is an amazingly healthy liquid, consuming a minimum of 8 cups of water while fasting has massive benefits.
Keeping yourself hydrated during your fast is crucial to reducing hunger pains, nausea, and headaches that people often experience during extended periods without eating. Water is also proven to assist with weight loss and prevent over-eating.
Using mineral water during a fast ensures you get the added benefits of essential minerals and vitamins in your drink. If you do not like the taste of water, you can always add a few drops of lemon, which will increase your vitamin C levels.
Tea During A Fast
Tea is another favorite drink of people who regularly intermittent fast. It is hard to go wrong with a cup of tea when there are so many different types, all with added benefits. As a bonus, green tea, yellow tea, and white tea have proven to stimulate weight loss and help during fasting because of their antioxidant properties.
You can mix different flavors to add excitement to your beverages while fasting, such as Mint, Chamomile, Senna, or Blue Ternate tea. It is crucial to remember to drink your tea black; that is, no added sugar, milk, or creams. Anything you add to your tea may contain enough calories and sugar to break your fast.
Coffee While Fasting
Although black coffee is certainly not everybody’s idea of a good beverage, there are numerous benefits you can receive from drinking black coffee while fasting. The caffeine in coffee can help with your energy levels while you are on a fast, as many people complain about feeling tired and lethargic without any food.
Caffeine is also an excellent way to boost your metabolism, which can aid significantly if your end goal is weight loss.
Stevia As A Replacement For Honey While Fasting
While experts will tell you to avoid many sweeteners while fasting, as some can contain calories and carbs, there is a solution for those who simply cannot drink plain beverages and need that sweet taste to keep them going during the day.
Stevia is a natural substance that does not contain calories or sugars while giving you the added benefit of a sweetened drink. It is labeled as a non-nutritive sweetener, so it is safe to consume while you are in the middle of a fast and will not break your fast.
Due to this, Stevia is the perfect alternative to honey to add to your tea, coffee, or even water if you desperately desire a sweetened beverage to help you push through your fasting period.
Many people choose diet sodas containing Stevia while fasting as their drink. However, if you plan on drinking a soda, you need to ensure there are no calories, carbs, or sugars in your drink. Read the labels carefully, or you may unknowingly ruin your fast.
Numerous studies show diet sodas are incredibly unhealthy, so if you are fasting for the health benefits, you may want to steer clear of diet sodas or sweeteners and stick to healthy green teas or plain water.
If you add honey to your tea or coffee during a fast, you may risk pulling your body out of ketosis and into your eating period, essentially ruining the fast. Honey contains calories and carbs, which should be avoided while fasting. Even a tiny amount of honey could cause your insulin levels to spike and break your fast.
While you may not be able to drink honey while fasting, there are many alternatives you can try. Water with lemon, different flavored teas, and diet sodas that contain absolutely no sugars, carbs, or calories can all be consumed while fasting.