Can You Eat When You’re Fasting? 

Can You Eat When You’re Fasting?

Fasting is commonly thought of as no food/water, however, fasting can be done in a way that allows considerable portions of food to be consumed. 

Fasting has been practiced for centuries. Fasting is often utilized to bring about mental clarity, including its proposed benefits to create a sound mind for religious practices. Additionally, as made infamous by Mahatmas Gandhi, fasting has been used as a form of protest, such as hunger strikes. 

More recently, fasting has been utilized to aid in weight loss. One specific type of fasting, intermittent fasting, has created a buzz in the world of nutrition.

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Table Of Contents

Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss 

Intermittent fasting is distinct from other forms of fasting because it allows for food consumption. Although there are no definite limits to what you can eat during this type of fasting, there are designated time windows of when you can eat and when to abstain from eating.

How many hours is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is characterized by the number of hours spent eating in a specific window versus the amount of time spent fasting or abstaining from food. This time frame is often characterized as:

Fasting Time: Consumption Time 

The hours of intermittent fasting can vary depending on lifestyle and one’s preferred schedule. One popular window of intermittent fasting is the 16:8 method in which 16 hours are spent fasting while 8 hours are allotted for eating. Within the 16-hour period of fasting, one could sleep for 8 hours and replenish with liquids (water or coffee is recommended) to reduce cravings. 

So, How Exactly Does Intermittent Fasting Work

You may be wondering: Exactly what is the science behind intermittent fasting? The ultimate goal of fasting is ketosis. Ketosis is a process that occurs when carb intake becomes increasingly limited. This process starts when the body has burned through all its carbs and needs to begin burning fat for energy. Weight loss occurs as the body seeks a different type of fuel. Thus, following a high-fat, low-carb regimen can help you lose weight quickly. 

Can You Eat When You’re Fasting? 

What To Eat and Drink During Fasting for Weight Loss? 

Ketosis occurs because of insulin resistance. Non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, dark leafy greens, and peppers, as well as citrus fruits, are some of the foods that help create insulin resistance and facilitate weight loss. During intermittent fasting, it is recommended to limit foods with high carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice, or bleached flour to maximize weight loss benefits. Foods high in carbohydrates can disrupt the process of ketosis which can result in gaining back the weight lost. It is also best to be mindful of dairy intake and introduce plant-based options as well. Whole grains, such as brown rice or quinoa, are recommended to accompany a high intake of fruits and vegetables to help maximize the benefits of weight loss. Additionally, lean meats and protein, such as white turkey, fish eggs, and legumes can help promote a sense of fullness which helps with transitioning to an intermittent fasting lifestyle.

Some recommended snacks include: 

  • Celery with peanut butter 
  • Carrots and hummus 
  • Kosher pickles 

As far as beverages go during intermittent fasting, water is a fail-safe option. It is imperative to stay hydrated as your body adjusts to the differing influx of nutrients. Coffee is also recommended to help with appetite. 

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Things to Be Cautious of When Fasting 

It is always recommended to consult a doctor before beginning any diet regimen. During this time of altered food consumption, one should be wary of strenuous exercise which can result in potential dizziness and overexertion. Another aspect to be cautious of is foods and drinks that contain high levels of fructose corn syrup, including excessive sugary drinks that can impair the progress of intermittent fasting.

Also read: Intermittent Fasting and Alcohol: Can I Drink While I Fast?

Concluding A Fast: How to Eat After Fasting 

After fasting, the body may still be adjusting to larger portion sizes due to eating less frequently. It is recommended to ease back into heavier foods by consuming light, nutrient-dense portions. In doing this, it is essential to form a set routine for when to consume larger and smaller meals throughout the day.


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Keonna is experienced in creative writing, academic and professional research, and proofreading. Her work has been published in several academic journals and concerns educational leadership/pedagogy. Keonna's expertise is in the literature concerning lifestyle and personal development. She is flexible and open to exploring a variety of subjects and research topics.

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Kimberly Tytyk is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach (INHC) and a Certified International Health Coach (CIHC). Following decades of personal experience transforming her personal health and achieving remission of autoimmune thyroiditis and PCOS, Kimberly completed her formal coaching training in 2021 at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Her passions include deep nutrition, holistic and balanced living practices, regeneration, community-building, and finding bliss — usually in a cuddle with her husband and dog.