Tea and Intermittent Fasting: A Powerful Pair
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Can You Drink Tea During Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a powerful dietary strategy that can help lower your blood glucose (blood sugar) and blood pressure, improve your immunity, and significantly accelerate fat burning to help you reach a healthy weight, without any of the negative effects of diets like the keto diet.
The biological key to an intermittent fasting plan is autophagy, a process that your body activates during a period of time without food in which it oxidizes excess lipid, and recycles proteins and damaged cells.
However, no matter what your fasting schedule (a 16:8 plan, 24 hour fasting plan, alternate-day fasting, or something else), one of the main keys to your fasting experience is that your fasting habit is sustainable.
In this article, we’ll talk about how, almost always, a cup of tea is an excellent addition to an intermittent fast that won’t break your fast and may actually help magnify the benefits of your fast.
Table of Contents
Does Tea Break Intermittent Fasting?
As we mentioned above, the science behind the benefits of intermittent fasting relies on a process called autophagy, which begins when you are in a fasted state. During this fasted window, the science suggests remaining as close to calorie-free as possible.
However, many intermittent fasting experts and dietitians believe that you can have 50-75, and even as many as 100 calories during this fasting window. This has not been conclusively proven and is likely different for each person, but a good rule of thumb is that a few calories will not break your fast.
This is where many teas come in. Traditional teas and most herbal teas have close to or functionally zero calories (as long as there’s no sugar, milk, or high calorie sweeteners added), which means that you can drink them as much as you want during your intermittent fast to stay full and satisfied without breaking your fast.
Health Benefits of Drinking Tea During Intermittent Fasting
In fact, the research shows that there are actually additional benefits of drinking tea during an intermittent fast, especially teas like Amla Green, which can add the benefits of green tea and the benefits of amla to your intermittent fast.
Manages Hunger Pangs
Teas have been shown to both improve your digestion and help reduce hunger during your fasting period. Combined with the hydrating, refreshing, filling, and calming effect of tea on an empty stomach, teas can help significantly reduce any potential negative side effects of fasting.
Supports Weight Loss
Many teas, especially green tea and its fermented variants (black tea, oolong tea, dark tea) can help boost the rate at which your body metabolizes stored fat. Combined with lowering the amount of calories you choose to consume in your eating window, drinking tea can significantly increase the weight loss benefits that you gain when intermittent fasting.
We especially recommend this combination if you’re currently living with insulin resistance.
Helps Reduce Stress
Though stress can be hard to quantify, the evidence is clear that teas have stress-reducing properties. One of the key compounds here (outside of the calming habit) is the amino acid L-theanine, which has been shown to help reduce stress responses.
Supports the Immune System
Most teas have polyphenols, a crucial antioxidant-rich nutrient that helps support your immune system by scavenging free radicals. Less free radicals means less oxidative stress, which in turn allows your white blood cells to focus on defending the body from various viruses and bacteria.
Then, when you add the additional preventative action of green tea, which has been shown to fight many forms of infection and sickness, or the various medicinal properties of amla, you have a zero calorie, hunger-quenching drink that can also protect your body.
The Best Tea for Intermittent Fasting
Below, we’ll go into some of the specific teas that you can enjoy happily during an intermittent fast. Remember, whatever your fasting and eating pattern, it’s crucial to keep the number of calories you consume as low as possible, so avoid additives like milk, cream, and sugar.
As we’ve mentioned a few times, green tea is one of the best drinks during an intermittent fast.
Its high density of key antioxidants like polyphenols and catechins help boost your immune function, reduce blood pressure, and lower blood glucose within hours of drinking a single glass.
You can explore our article on green tea and fasting to learn more.
Black tea, which occurs when you ferment green tea, is especially potent in helping promote gut health and digestion. Prolonged fermentation of green tea leaves creates black tea, and this is partly what enhances the digestive benefits.
Much like black tea, white tea is a variant of tea leaves. Whereas the more heavily fermented black tea has a heavier density of gut-boosting properties, white tea is almost exactly the opposite.
White tea is actually much less processed than even green tea, which means that it retains a density of polyphenols and catechins that leave it packed with antioxidants.
Herbal teas are a blanket term for teas made from a wide variety of different herbs like chamomile, peppermint, turmeric, rooibos, and many others.
Though the nutrient densities of these teas can vary significantly based on the type of herb, many herbal teas are calorie-free, caffeine-free, and contain valuable medicinal nutrients. If you have a favorite herbal tea, you’re likely in luck!
Whether you’re intermittently fasting to lose weight, reduce your insulin resistance, or improve your overall health, Amla Green is one of the most powerful options for a zero-calorie tea to drink.
The 20x concentrated formula made from amla (Indian gooseberries) is packed with the versatile medicinal benefits of both amla and green tea that can help you improve your health and maintain your positive changes.
What Else Can You Drink While Intermittent Fasting?
Our First Suggestion: Drink Water!
Our first suggestion and our simplest. Drinking water is the easiest way to stay hydrated, and also reduces your hunger and feelings of craving by making you feel full, helping with weight loss. You can also add a splash of lemon or lime juice without adding many calories.
An Alternative: Carbonated Water
Similar to still water, carbonated water keeps you hydrated, curbs your appetite, and makes you feel full. It also has the added benefit of that crisp sensation many enjoy with a soda (with none of the negative side effects).
In the Morning: Black Coffee
Scientific research has also demonstrated that drinking coffee is effective at reducing blood pressure in subjects with normal blood pressure.
And when taken black (even if it’s decaf or cold brew) your cup of coffee will not interrupt your intermittent fast.
If You’re Hungry: Green Juices
Green juices are juices made from leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables like cucumber, celery, lettuce, and tomato. Green juices are filling, nutrient-dense additions to your diet, and don’t have enough calories to interrupt your fast.
A Homestyle Remedy: Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar’s natural nutrients help control your blood glucose, and reduce feelings of hunger. It doesn’t take much — usually one or two tablespoons — to have an effect, which makes it an excellent quick fix during your fast.
The Bottom Line
Intermittent fasting is a powerful technique to improve and maintain your health, and when combined with low or zero-calorie teas, this process becomes easier and more effective. It’s a win-win that can have tremendous long-term benefits for your health, and we highly recommend it.
As for our favorite? Well, we’d have to go with Amla Green, because we’ve been able to tailor it exactly to capture the widest range of health benefits condensed into a tasty, satisfying, and enjoyable drink.
We work with top producers in India and southeast Asia to source organic, wild-grown berries and bring them straight to your door, and we’re so excited to share Amla Green that we offer our first batch entirely risk-free. If you don’t like it, just tell us, and we’ll refund you order.
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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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