Tea Intermittent Fasting
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Tea & Intermittent Fasting
Well, we reached into the mailbag just a few minutes ago to see how we could help someone else improve their life.
And we got a really great question:
“I am new to intermittent fasting and I don’t know where to start! I know I can eat whatever I want during my feeding window, but what’s best to have during the fasting window? I don’t want to get dehydrated, but I want to make sure that I am doing everything I can to help my fast. Help!”
I got to say, this is a great question and one that we get often.
Does Tea Fit Into My Fast?
There is a lot of controversy about what drinks can fit into an intermittent fasting plan. Does fruit juice work? How about adding lemon to water?
Although some of these things may work on a modified plan, if you’re doing a true intermittent fast, it simply won’t.
The reason is very simple:
If you consume anything 50 calories or more, either food or drink, then it prematurely ends your fast.
So what happens is this:
When you eat food, your pancreas produces insulin to match the amount of blood sugar being released.
And when this happens, the sugar is either used for energy or stored for later use—typically as fat.
Tea In The Fasting State
When you’re in the fasting state, your insulin levels decline, therefore forcing your liver, muscles, and other organs to burn stored energy to keep you going.
If you consume anything above 50 calories in the fasted state, your liver shuts down burning the stored energy, and eventually a cascade effect happens, and you pancreas starts to produce insulin.
Therefore, instead of burning stored energy like you should be, you’re not storing even more sugar in your liver, muscles, organs, and as fat.
You see, if you’re following a true intermittent fast intermittent fast, you want to consume as few calories as you can (less than 50), to allow your liver, muscles, and fat cells to burn all that stored energy.
So what can you have while fasting?
Well, the simplest answer would be to stick with water. Not lemon water … or flavored water … just plain old water.
Not only will this keep you hydrated, and should be incorporated into your daily diet plan anyways, but it helps your liver to work smoothly.
The only problem with water is: Some people can’t handle plain water.
So what is the next best option?
How about a little tea!
There are all kinds of tea that could keep you in the fasted state, while also keeping you hydrated. And besides, tea has so many great benefits you may want to incorporate it into your diet anyways - whether you intermittent fast or not.
But tea has another special quality:
It’s packed full of antioxidants, polyphenols, tannins, and catechins that could add tremendous improvements to your health.
I am talking about lower cholesterol and blood pressure … a reduced risk for age-related brain diseases … better overall weight and body fat loss … improved mental clarity and concentration …
The list goes on and on!
The only problem you need to worry about is which tea, or teas to choose. Depending on the processing, the chemical structure of the antioxidants changes, providing different benefits for your body.
For example, when tea leaves are oxidized (like what you get with black tea leaves), the antioxidants are typically tannins, which may provide different benefits for your health.
And some may choose herbal teas to give them a sweeter flavor without adding calories or shifting your body from the fasting to the fed zone.
So choosing the right type of tea/teas for you is vitally important to the success of your fast.
Regardless of what type of tea you drink, they may all enhance your fast, therefore giving you additional benefits.
Studies show that drinking tea may reduce hunger (great for when intermittent fasting) and cravings associated with any type of weight loss plan.
You see, there is a very powerful hormone, called ghrelin that has only one job—to make sure that you don’t lose too much energy (body fat, stored energy, etc.)
When it senses that your body has lost too much, it sends a signal to your brain alerting it that you’re in panic mode.
Your brain, seeing that you need more energy, sends signals to induce hunger.
That’s where hunger pangs and cravings come from. But tea has been shown to reduce ghrelin levels, therefore putting a stop to those hunger pangs and cravings (again, great for when in a fasting state)
And this means you’re one step closer to the ultimate goal of your intermittent fasting plan:
To lose weight.
The Intermittent Fasting Approach
Since the intermittent fasting approach balances blood sugar, it may lead to additional weight loss.
It boosts your weight loss because you’re essentially skipping one meal, which cuts down on your total caloric intake for the day.
But I know you would like to see more, right?
Well, drinking tea may accelerate your weight loss! Studies have shown the caffeine found in tea—combined with the powerful antioxidants—may boost your metabolism by as much as 4 percent.
I know that doesn’t sound like a lot … but increasing your metabolism by 4 percent each day will only add to your overall weight loss numbers.
But the benefits of tea doesn’t end there … not even close.
More Benefits of Tea:
As we said before many teas have great benefits when incorporated into your daily diet. Tea may also slow the aging process, therefore making you feel like you’re a teenager again. Not only do the compounds found in tea lower inflammation (which speeds up aging and disease risk), it also speeds up the internal process of healing and removing damaged or dead cells. Have we at least convinced you to incorporate tea into your diet yet?
This process, called autophagy, promotes anti-aging, so you can age gracefully.
Now that you understand all the benefits of drinking tea during your intermittent fast, the next question is what kind is right for you?
Some may choose black or herbal teas … while others may choose green tea due to the lack of processing of the tea leaves, which could increase the number of antioxidants found in the tea.
But for me personally, I choose Amla Green Tea every time.
You see, this tea, which is a complex blend of Amla (Indian gooseberry) and Oolong dark green tea tea leaves, packs a full days’ worth of vitamin C per serving.
Why is this important?
Unlike other tea, or teas where the antioxidants start to degrade when exposed to high heat or oxygen, the ones found in Amla Green Tea may be protected due to the high vitamin C content.
This simply means that when you drink Amla Green Tea you get more antioxidants--to lower cholesterol, inflammation, and protect against free radical damage—in each serving.
And since Amla has been used as a medicine for thousands of years, you may protect your health and reduce your associated health risk with every cup you enjoy.
As you can see, tea and intermittent fasting go hand in hand, especially if it’s Amla Green Tea.
Enhance Your Fast And Rush Powerful Antioxidants To Your Body With Your Supply Of Amla Green Tea
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.
- Kevin DiDonato