Green Tea and Fasting: A Guide to Benefits and Drawbacks
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Green Tea and Fasting
Whether you’re already intermittent fasting, or just looking to get started, one of the main concerns you will face is what to drink during your intermittent fasts.
After all, deciding to integrate an intermittent fast into your diet plan is a conscious decision to better your health.
Fine-tuning your fasts ensures that you get the health benefits of intermittent fasting while keeping the process comfortable, enjoyable, and effective.
In this article, we’ll take a look at why green tea is an excellent option to drink during your intermittent fast.
We’ll touch on how and why green tea doesn’t “break” your fast.
We’ll also talk about the benefits of drinking green tea, and how they align with an intermittent fast.
And finally, we’ll talk about some comparable alternatives to green tea.
Table of Contents
Does Tea Break Your Fast?
No. Drinking green tea does not break a fast.
Because green tea is a zero-calorie beverage, drinking tea does not interrupt your fasting period, and will not break your fast.
One of the challenges you may face during these fasting windows are hunger pangs, especially when you first start intermittent fasting.
Fortunately, drinking green tea and some other zero-calorie beverages can help curb your appetite as you adjust to this process.
What Are The Benefits Of Green Tea While Fasting?
Green Tea Benefits
Some of the main health benefits from green tea (and most teas in general) come from a high density of flavonoids, plant-based phytochemicals that are extremely beneficial to your health.
Flavonoids help improve your cells’ metabolism and signaling, which can help your body in many ways.
For example, some of the evidence-based benefits you may see from green tea include:
- Improved brain function and memory
- Fat burning and improved athletic performance
- Reduced risk for breast cancer
- Lower risk for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
- Reduced inflammation
- Reduced risk of obesity and related disorders
- Reduced heart disease risk
- Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
All of these benefits align with the objective of an intermittent fast, which is to improve how you feel and reduce your risks for chronic diseases in the future.
Let’s take a deeper look at two areas where green tea really complements intermittent fasting: green tea for weight loss (and athletic performance), and green tea as a detoxifier.
Benefits of Green Tea for Weight Loss (and Athletic Performance)
Intermittent fasting is a powerful weight-loss strategy, and adding green tea to your diet only enhances those benefits.
First, green tea is a zero-calorie beverage that has been shown to suppress appetite and reduce energy intake at the next meal.
This means that green tea can help curb your hunger (and especially food cravings) while fasting, making an intermittent fast more comfortable, and easier to adhere to.
The research also shows that taking a green tea extract before exercise increases fat oxidation rates, insulin sensitivity, and glucose tolerance in young men.
Another study found that drinking green tea catechins increased the total amount of fat oxidation in healthy male subjects both at rest and during exercise.
Researchers have attributed many of the appetite suppression and fat oxidation effects to catechins – compounds found in tea, cocoa, and berries that with an extremely high antioxidant activity.
Finally, green tea is a natural source of caffeine, which also helps increase metabolic rate and significantly increase the rate of fat oxidation.
Given this evidence, green tea is a great addition to an intermittent fast to help suppress appetite, increase the rate of fat oxidation, and increase metabolic rate.
Green Tea for Detoxifying Your Body
One of the major benefits of performing an intermittent fast is a process known as autophagy – a “housekeeping” or “recycling” process that degrades old cellular material.
During autophagy, your body recycles dysfunctional proteins and cells, which promotes the growth of new cells.
These combined effects — protecting your body from oxidative stress while also recycling damaged and dysfunctional cellular material — can drastically dramatically reduce your risk of both infectious and chronic diseases.
This increase in overall health is a big reason why green tea (and other teas) are often touted as having anti-aging effects.
As you age, it becomes more challenging for tissues to promote cell growth and regeneration, and to neutralize oxidative stress.
For these reasons, combining intermittent fasting with green tea is not only a good idea, it’s a great idea.
Green Tea And Fasting: What Are The Drawbacks?
Allergic reactions to green tea are relatively uncommon, but in some people, green tea can cause upset stomach and constipation.
In rare cases, green tea extracts have been reported to cause liver and kidney problems, though the reasons for these reactions were unclear.
However, one of the main concerns when integrating green tea into your diet is excessive consumption.
Some of the positives of green tea (particularly its weight loss effects and caffeine) can be unhealthy in large quantities.
Some research has shown that green tea can interfere with iron absorption and cause anemia when consumed in excess.
Green tea’s natural caffeine levels can be another cause of unwanted side effects. For example, some studies have shown that drinking eight cups or more of green tea per day can cause headaches, dizziness, and nausea.
Other side effects from excessive caffeine consumption through green tea can include nervousness, sleep problems, vomiting, diarrhea, irritability, irregular heartbeat, tremor, heartburn, dizziness, ringing in the ears, convulsions, and confusion.
A good rule of thumb: if you have any negative reactions to caffeine, are currently nursing or pregnant, or have any anxiety, heart, or bleeding disorders, it’s worth being aware of your green tea consumption.
A Guide To Teas And Fasting
Green tea is one of many, many forms of teas available on the market right now, and many are marketed for their restorative and health benefits.
However, for the sake of this article, we’ll be breaking these teas down into two categories: traditional teas (green tea analogs), and other teas.
There are four types of traditional teas, each taken from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant:
- White tea
- Green tea (or matcha)
- Oolong tea
- Black tea
The main difference between each of these teas is how long the leaves are fermented, which changes the densities of their antioxidants, flavonoids, and caffeine. As a result, these forms of tea can be considered to have similar benefits to green tea in a broad sense, but their individual effects can have varying strengths.
Other teas, like herbal teas and fruit teas, come from other plants and herbs. Examples of other teas include:
- Herbal tea
- Peppermint tea
- Hibiscus tea
- Chamomile tea
- Rooibos tea
- Ginger tea
While many of these teas have excellent health benefits thanks to catechins and other antioxidant compounds, they’re not nearly as similar to the four traditional teas derived from Camellia sinensis.
Beverages to Drink While Intermittent Fasting
Most traditional and herbal teas are excellent drinks while intermittent fasting, and we’ve also included some other options that can keep you full and refreshed, curb your appetite, taste great, and may even accelerate weight loss.
So which are the best drinks while intermittent fasting?
- Carbonated water
- Herbal teas
- Green tea
- Green juices (made from leafy green and non-starchy vegetables)
- Apple cider vinegar
The Final Word On Green Tea Fasting
As we’ve touched on above, intermittent fasting has a wide range of benefits both for your weight loss and overall health.
And green tea has similar effects, which makes it the perfect drink to curb your hunger during your fasting windows.
We also discussed how other traditional teas can have similar effects. Herbal teas and fruit teas are also excellent options, though their effects can vary beyond what we explore in this article.
Amla Green takes all of the benefits of green teas and adds the benefits of amla (which is arguably the most powerful medicinal plant on the planet), without breaking your fast.
To learn more about one of the most potent natural drinks for intermittent fasting, and try your first batch risk-free, click below.
To learn more about one of the most potent natural drinks for intermittent fasting, and try your first batch risk-free, click below.
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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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