The Right Way to Break A Fast – For Optimal Fat Burning

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One of the key reasons why people fast is because fasting regulates your insulin levels and when it does that you feel saturated throughout the day. But, this is very important, if you break your fast the wrong way this could actually have the opposite effect, and you can have serious food cravings.

Eating the wrong foods for breaking your fast can spike your insulin like crazy! Massive insulin spikes can lead to your body storing more fat and heavy food cravings.

In this post, I’m showing the best scientific ways to break a fast.

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What is Intermittent Fasting?

I’m pretty sure you know what intermittent fasting is if you clicked on this article, but I will explain briefly.

When practicing intermittent fasting you basically fast (don’t eat) for a certain amount of hours, the most common is the 16/8 method. You fast for 16 hours (sleep included), and after 16 hours you have an 8-hour feeding window. 

In those 8 hours, you consume all of your daily calories.

Intermittent fasting has some amazing benefits for the body, but it’s is most used for fat loss.

What Does Breaking a Fast Mean?

Breaking a fast literally means ending your 16 hour fast or however long you have been fasting for.
A fast ends when calories are consumed.

There is a debate on how many calories it takes to break a fast because for example black coffee does have a few calories but does not break a fast and is therefore allowed during your fast.

Technically anything that spikes your insulin breaks a fast. This means not only calories but also products with artificial sweeteners like sugar en low-calorie drinks. 

If you don’t like to sip on regular water, I suggest drinking carbonated water.

Personally, I stay away from anything that contains calories or some sort of artificial sweetening. I like to stick to my water and black coffee to help me during my daily fast.

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What Does NOT Break a Fast

Luckily there are things allowed during your fast, these items will actually help you during your fast. Not only with making it easier to follow, but also help you with burning fat sooner!

What is allowed during a fast:

If you’re using intermittent fasting for weight loss then apple cider vinegar is amazing. AVC does not break a fast and is amazing for fat loss. Drinking AVC during a fasted state helps you to get deeper and quicker into a fat-burning state. 

The same goes for coffee, coffee stops or breaks the barrier that stands in the way for your own body to utilize its fats stores to use as fuel.

Basically, having a cup or 2 of black coffee in the morning makes it so that you will start to burn fat more quickly.

The Best Way To Break a Fast

The most important thing when it comes to breaking a fast is to NOT combine carbohydrates with fats in your fast-breaking meal!

As we talked about earlier when we start consuming calories or sugars our insulin spikes. When we consume carbs we get a decent insulin spike. 

Now, when we also add fats to our meal with carbs the carbs and fats combine and the insulin spike gets even bigger. When this happens the chances of storing body fat are so much bigger!

It’s not that we don’t want to spike our insulin, but we don’t want it to get supermassive. You want to break your fast with a small meal and with a high glycemic index food ( fast-acting carbohydrate).

This way you’ll spike your insulin levels and you want to let it drop, once it’s dropped you can have your first big meal of the day. 

Because your insulin levels are now leveled you can eat whatever you want and you won’t experience the cravings of the insulin spikes.

If it doesn’t spike as much you don’t have the urge to eat ‘bad’ foods like highly processed, high sugar foods.

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Golden rule: Don't combine carbohydrates and fats when breaking a fast!

How To Break a Fast ( Non-Keto )

As mentioned earlier your fast breaking meal should be something small and either high glycemic or high protein.

High Glycemic Index (Rice cakes)

Rice cakes are perfect, they’re low in calories and high in quick carbs. Eat your rice cake when it’s time to break your fast, and after an hour you can eat your first big meal.

Remember don’t mix carbs and fats, so no peanut butter or avocado on you’re rice cake 🙂

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Lean Protein/shake

Try breaking your fast with lean meat, or a lean protein shake. If you can avoid whey protein shakes and go for a hemp or pea protein shake.

Consuming dairy after a fast can be very hard on your gut. therefore I recommend you stick with the recommended hemp, pea or other vegan/plant-based protein shakes.

Bone broth

There is no fat in bone broth so this is a very good option to break  your fast.

Bone broth is a natural source of nutrients like collagen, gelatin, several trace minerals, and anti-inflammatory amino acids, which support gut, skin, and joint health.

With all these powerful benefits, you can see how drinking bone broth on a regular basis may have a huge impact on the way you feel.

Drinking this after a fast can lead to better obsorption of nutrients.

Fructose

You don’t want to have a large amount of fructose, no, you want a little bit. 

By a little bit, I mean something like half an orange, half of a nectarine, or some berries. 

Be careful with the berries, because they contain a decent amount of fiber and we want quick digestion. 

Fructose and the high glycemic index carbs (HGIC) are going to combine and that is going to enhance absorption.

Regular carbohydrates have a different transport system than fructose carbohydrates, so you can actually increase the absorption of regular carbohydrates by having something like 10 or 20 grams of regular carbs and 10-20 grams of fructose carbs.

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Omega-3s

Adding a few omega-3 tabs is going to help a lot with protein synthesis. 

Omega-3 helps with the potential absorption of the lean protein shake or meat.

How To Break a Fast On Keto

If you’re on keto it’s best if you break a fast with the following ways.

Lean protein/shake

Even on keto, you should go with a lean piece of meat or lean protein shake such as:

  • Lean chicken
  • Whitefish

Don’t use low-fat red meats as your fast-breaking meat source as red meat is tough on the digestive system, try sticking with the lean chicken or white fish.

Again you can go with a lean protein shake such as.

Stay away from whey protein shakes as again they could be tough for your digestive system!

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Omega-3

Omega-3 is the only fat source that you should break your fast with. 

Adding a few omega-3 tabs is going to help a lot with protein synthesis. 

Omega-3 helps with the potential absorption of the lean protein shake or meat.

Low fat

This one might seem odd because if you’re on keto aren’t you supposed to do high-fat…But no, not when breaking a fast.

When breaking a fast on keto try keeping the fat content low and stick to lean meats or protein shakes!

Bone broth

Again, bone broth is a natural source of nutrients like collagen, gelatin, several trace minerals, and anti-inflammatory amino acids, which support gut, skin, and joint health.

With all these powerful benefits, you can see how drinking bone broth on a regular basis may have a huge impact on the way you feel.

Drinking this after a fast can lead to better obsorption of nutrients.

How Woman Should Break a Fast

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Seaweed

Seaweed contains a lot of iodine. When we fast we lose iodine quickly.

On many occasions when our metabolism slows down, it has to do with our thyroids slowing down.

You can get seaweed very easily through some seaweed snacks.

These snacks are great because they are gluten-free, vegan, high in iodine, and packed with omega-3s. 

These are essential for breaking a fast for women as we will discuss later on. 

No gluten

It’s extremely important for females to NOT break a fast with gluten!

Gluten can be very cross-contaminating when it comes to the immunoglobulin effect within your body.

It triggers the release of a protein called zonulin. Zonulin triggers what’s called a TPO antibody to release which can attack your thyroid gland.

This basically means you’re thyroids could not be working at their best!

No dairy

No gluten and no dairy. Dairy can be inflammatory and difficult for woman especially for the hormone effect.

We are super sensitive when break a fast. 

So there is no need to risk causing some issues to our digestive system.

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Shell-fish

This an interesting one but also a very good one, because shellfish contain a lot of nutrients.

Some good shellfish to break your fast with would be:

  • Shrimp
  • Scallops

Why? Because they contain a lot of protein, but you’re also getting the iodine that you would normally get from the seaweed. But you’re also getting zinc and copper.

 Benefits of shellfish:

  • Lots of protein
  • Packed with iodine
  • Zinc
  • Copper

Lean protein/shake

Lean protein/shake is perfect for every situation so also for women.

Again, stick with lean meats and also go for the plant-based protein powders.

  • Hemp protein
  • Pea protein

Especially for women the whey protein shakes which are obviously made from dairy are a NO GO!

Regarding the hormone effect.

Cortisol Reduction

Cortisol is elevated when we fast, this is not a bad thing, because cortisol helps us burn fat!

The only time ‘it’s bad’ is when cortisol is when it’s combined with insulin, and insulin is present when we’re eating. 

So we need to reduce our cortisol levels prior to eating, because if we are eating and our cortisol levels are still high a lot of what we eat is going to get stored. 

Try or consume these things before breaking your fast to control your cortisol levels, a few tips:

  •  Cinnamon
  • Salt
  • Magnesium
cortisol reduction
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Cinnamon

Cinnamon actually does something amazing to our body, it mimics insulin.

When it mimicks insulin it triggers your blood sugar to drop a little bit, and it also has a cortisol modulating effect.

So consuming cinnamon about a half-hour before breaking a fast goes a long way!

Salt

Add some salt to your water you can add a pretty good amount a couple of teaspoons.

I know it doesn’t sound all that great, but it could have some serious effect on our cortisol levels.

What salt does is ‘it backs off aldosterone’, what aldosterone does is when it’s spiked up you’re going to have a cross-reaction to when you have cortisol spiked up.

So salt could potentially lessen cortisol!

Magnesium

Taking a few tabs of magnesium a couple of hours before you break a fast because magnesium has shown to be able to control cortisol levels.

A study from the journal of neuropharmacology showed that magnesium deficiency increased brain cortisol.

Multiple studies have also shown that fasting depletes magnesium levels at a serious level. That’s why it’s a good idea to supplement with magnesium.

 

Concluded: Magnesium calms your nervous system and prevents excessive cortisol by restricting its release and acting as a filter to prevent it from entering the brain

Vincent Sorel

Vincent Sorel

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