How To Have A Successful Fast: Fasting Tea And More
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Intermittent fasting is an increasingly popular strategy to lose weight and improve your cardiovascular and overall health, and it’s one that’s backed up by a strong body of evidence.
By taking advantage of your body’s natural autophagy process (which happens during extended periods without food) it’s possible to burn more fat and cholesterol, and recycle degraded protein, all simply by adjusting when you choose to eat.
In this article, we’ll explore how certain types of tea can enhance the benefits of your intermittent fasts, and offer a few overall tips for how to get the most out of this health-boosting dietary strategy.
What is a Fasting Tea?
A fasting tea is a tea that fits two specific requirements:
- First, it is low enough in calories that it can be consumed throughout your fasting period without breaking the autophagy process. Closer to zero is better, but experts suggest that consuming less than 100 calories can keep you in the fasted state
- Second, it has health benefits that complement the inherent benefits of intermittent fasting
These requirements exclude products like high-calorie tea drinks and mixes, as well as teas with artificial sweeteners that may counteract the benefits of autophagy. On a broader scale, it also disqualifies beverages like diet sodas and diet energy drinks.
The Added Benefits of Drinking Tea While Intermittent Fasting
There are two key mechanisms of intermittent fasting: reducing oxidative stress through the recycling of old cells and proteins, and burning excess fat and nutrients
The results of intermittent fasting are incredibly powerful. In the long term, reducing oxidative stress can have a powerful anti-inflammatory effect, help your immune system function better, and slow signs of early aging.
In addition, burning excess fat and nutrients can not only help reduce insulin resistance (the condition that causes high blood glucose across all forms of diabetes) and lower your blood glucose levels (blood sugar levels), but also help you lose weight, and reduce the many risks associated with obesity.
Fasting teas consumed during your fasting window (and during your eating window if you’d like) contribute in a few ways. First, as we mentioned above, they don’t break autophagy, meaning you can get the full benefit of your intermittent fast and still drink something to feel satiated.
Second, due to their high levels of antioxidants, as well as the natural weight-loss effects some teas have, these teas actually reduce oxidative stress and help burn fat themselves, adding to the benefits of your fast.
The Science Behind Why to Drink Tea During a Fast
The science behind these two mechanisms for tea is actually very simple.
Green teas and herbal teas have key antioxidants like polyphenols, which help scavenge free radicals in your body and prevent oxidation. Combined with autophagy’s natural breaking down of amino acids, you have a recipe for significantly reduced oxidative stress.
Meanwhile, their weight-loss and fat burning properties result from both their natural caffeine and catechins, which have been documented to help increase your metabolic rate and burn fat.
Add in the other benefits of key nutrients like l-theanine, which improves mental function, and the documented blood pressure benefits of teas, and you have an ideal drink for your intermittent fast.
Best Teas To Promote Autophagy
The best teas to promote autophagy and the health benefits over your fast are calorie-free, and enhance the benefits of your fast, whether that’s through antioxidant content, weight-loss, or other health benefits.
Some of the best examples are:
- Green tea and its other varieties (black tea, white tea, oolong tea, and pique crystals)
- And herbal teas like hibiscus, peppermint, ginger, dandelion root, chamomile, and others
The way that you consume these teas also doesn’t matter much. Caffeine-free options may provide slightly less weight-loss benefits, and tea from tea bags may have slightly weaker effects than loose tea/tea from leaves, but in general you’ll be in an excellent spot!
Teas To Avoid
Meanwhile, the teas to avoid typically start when additional sweeteners and dairy products are added to your tea. It's not that these teas are necessarily the worst drinks to put in your body, but they certainly won't help with your goals.
These teas to avoid can include:
- Tea lattes
- Matcha (often has additional ingredients)
- Chai (often has additional ingredients)
- Bubble tea
- And any tea with added sweeteners or other products
Though these drinks can be a healthy alternative to some other beverages during your eating window, they usually have too many calories, which will break your state of autophagy.
Beyond Fasting Tea: Advice For A Successful Fast
If you’re looking to take additional steps to enhance the benefits of your fast, as well as your fasting experience, we’ve included a few additional tips below.
The Diet to Supercharge Your Fasting Strategy
There’s a lot of different diets recommended for weight loss, but there are very few that deliver long term results without some serious side effects.
Our favorite is the low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet that’s high in whole carbohydrates.
Like some popular high fat (for example, keto), this diet offers quick results to help you lose weight, but unlike keto and other high-fat diets, it doesn’t have the nasty side effect of causing insulin resistance.
That’s why we heavily recommend it if you’re looking to lose weight and improve your overall health in the long term, rather than looking for quick-fix solutions.
Add Plant Based Proteins
And while you’re working on switching to a low-fat, high-carb diet that’s rich in plants and natural energy, we also recommend adding plant-based proteins, especially those from legumes, nuts and seeds, and whole grains.
You can eat these foods at a high volume without exceeding your caloric requirements, which is a big plus for avoiding hunger pangs throughout your fast. Also, the protein (as well as the dense fibers in these foods that take a long time to digest), help you stay full for longer.
Write Down Your Goals
Before starting a weight loss plan or dietary change, it’s worth not just laying out your goals, but also the ‘why’ behind your change.
Losing weight is something that many people seek, but what are the specific reasons you’ve got?
- Do you want to be more active?
- Reduce your risk for chronic diseases?
- Have more energy?
- Overcome a lifelong challenge, or reach your goals for personal pride?
Making these goals clear and defined can definitely help during the tricky parts of the transition.
Though this advice applies to anyone, intermittent fasting or not, proper hydration can be an excellent way to make it through fasting periods or fasting days.
Water is one of the simplest ways to curb your appetite, and it also helps keep your energy and mental health up, all without adding a single calorie. For weight loss, and improving your overall health, there’s no downside.
Take it to the Next Level with Amla Green Tea
We’ve spoken at length about the benefits of green tea and fasting, and the evidence is clear: they’re a powerful pair.
That’s why we decided to combine green tea with one of the most powerful superfoods on the planet — amla — for a drink that can really take your fast to the next level.
Amla isn’t a new discovery (in fact, it’s existed in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries), but only in recent years have researchers started to put amla to the test. And the results have been astounding.
In addition to being the most powerful antioxidant on the planet (and the second most powerful source of vitamin C), amla has weight-loss, anti-inflammatory, and even hair growth benefits that are still being discovered.
Amla has been slow to take off because it can be hard to source and takes very bitter on its own, which is why we created a 20X concentrated formula mixed with green tea and herbal tea sourced entirely from organic, fair trade farms.
The result? A drink that combines the benefits fasting, green tea, and amla for an impressive combination of weight loss and health improvement.
And we’d love to help you try it for yourself, risk free. If you don’t like your first shipment of Amla Green, just let us know, and we’ll give you your money back.
But we think you’ll like the results.
Amla Green has strict guidelines for scientific references in our articles, and we rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, governmental organizations, and reputable medical organizations. We do our best to avoid using non evidence-based references in all articles. The references in this article are listed below.
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“Haniadka, Raghavendra, Elroy Saldanha, Venkatesh Sunita, Princy L. Palatty, Raja Fayad, and Manjeshwar Shrinath Baliga. “A Review of the Gastroprotective Effects of Ginger (Zingiber Officinale Roscoe).” Food & Function 4, no. 6 (June 2013): 845–55. ” ”https://doi.org/10.1039/c3fo30337c"
“Jurgens, Tannis M., Anne Marie Whelan, Lara Killian, Steve Doucette, Sara Kirk, and Elizabeth Foy. “Green Tea for Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance in Overweight or Obese Adults.” The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 12 (December 12, 2012): CD008650.” ”https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD008650.pub2"
“McKay, Diane L., and Jeffrey B. Blumberg. “A Review of the Bioactivity and Potential Health Benefits of Peppermint Tea (Mentha Piperita L.).” Phytotherapy Research: PTR 20, no. 8 (August 2006): 619–33.” ”https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.1936"
“Nobre, Anna C., Anling Rao, and Gail N. Owen. “L-Theanine, a Natural Constituent in Tea, and Its Effect on Mental State.” Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition 17 Suppl 1 (2008): 167–68. Pi-Sunyer, Xavier. “The Medical Risks of Obesity.” Postgraduate Medicine 121, no. 6 (November 2009): 21–33. ” ”https://doi.org/10.3810/pgm.2009.11.2074"
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by
Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Cyrus Khambatta, PhD, is a cofounder of Mastering Diabetes and Amla Green is an internationally recognized nutrition and fitness coach who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002. Using an evidence-based approach to nutrition and fitness, he first reduced his own insulin usage by more than 40%, and has educated thousands of people with all forms of diabetes how to reverse insulin resistance using food as medicine. Cyrus earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003, then earned a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012. He is the co-host of the annual Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, a featured speaker at the Plant-Based Nutrition and Healthcare Conference (PBNHC), the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) Conference, Plant Stock, and has been featured on Forks Over Knives, NPR, PBS, KQED, Fast Company, and is the author of the upcoming book Mastering Diabetes.
- Cyrus Khambatta