Before you find the answer to the question – will drinking electrolytes break a fast? It’s crucial to properly understand what electrolytes are and get more clarity on fasting.
Electrolytes are basically minerals that produce electrically charged ions. These ions are necessary for many essential functions in the body, including the maintenance of our heartbeat. Sodium, magnesium, and potassium are some examples.
Now whether you are on a full-day fast or you practice intermittent fasting (like 16:8 fasting), you don’t want to break your fast by mistake. And that’s what brings us to the main question.
So, will drinking electrolytes break a fast?
The answer is no. Electrolytes don’t break the fast. But there are some terms and conditions you need to look out for.
What are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are compounds that cause the release of electrically charged ions.
These ions when infused in water or the blood in our body help to send signals to and from the brain. They help maintain fluid balance. This way, you don’t end up feeling dehydrated or experiencing symptoms like leg cramps, fatigue, headaches, etc.
That’s not all! Electrolytes are responsible for regulating our heartbeat too. They are not just essential but a necessity for the body to survive.
Apart from that, electrolytes do various other jobs in our bodies. Calcium is one electrolyte that strengthens our bones. Sodium, potassium, and magnesium help in muscle and nerve function. Calcium also helps in blood clotting.
Zinc is fantastic for healing wounds, breaking down food, and improving our immune system. It is also responsible for our senses like smell and taste.
Thus, maintaining a proper balance of these electrolytes in the body helps you avoid dehydration headaches. You also prevent cramps, muscle spasms, fatigue, and high blood pressure.
Also Read: Sugar-Free Homemade Electrolyte Drinks
No, electrolytes won’t break your fast. Electrolytes play a crucial role in the body and fasting has many benefits too. It helps you lose weight, reduce blood sugar, lower bad cholesterol levels and increase energy, among many other things.
But not consuming electrolytes during your fast may do more bad than good.
That’s because of 3 reasons:
- You are already losing water and electrolytes to burn fat during the fast.
- Fasting reduces insulin levels. Even though it’s a good thing, you need to know that low insulin levels signal the kidneys to release more urine (i.e., water & electrolytes).
- Plus, you naturally lose many electrolytes through sweat all through your day. And more if you do intensive workouts.
So, you lose sodium and other essential electrolytes at double speed during fasting. And it is critical to replace the lost minerals as soon as possible.
But it is as critical to understanding what you can eat or drink while intermittent fasting.
Electrolytes have zero calories. Without calories, anything you consume does not stimulate pro-growth pathways.
What are pro-growth pathways? These (for example mTOR) usually get triggered by carbohydrates, insulin, or branched-chain amino acids.
When pro-growth pathways stay suppressed (untriggered), pathways like activated protein kinase (AMPK) stay active. They make sure to promote autophagy, fat-burning, and other good effects of intermittent fasting.
So, electrolytes do not break your fast. But guess what! They can enhance your fast.
How Do Electrolytes Enhance A Fast?
You see, many people who practice alternate day fasting or intermittent fasting complain of headaches. They also suffer from cramps, tiredness, and low energy during their fast. These are, in fact, some reasons why many people do not get to cherish the benefits of fasting.
But electrolytes can tackle all these obstacles. They help you prevent these dehydration symptoms.
- This means you no longer need to preserve mental energy to fight that headache while you try to handle the craving of eating the cake.
- You do not have to postpone your high-energy tasks for later. Because even during your fast you will have all the energy you need.
- Plus, you will have better exercise performance and improved cognitive function too.
Isn’t that great? It’s time we learn about some electrolyte drinks for intermittent fasting to make sure we don’t break our fast by mistake.
How Can You Get Electrolytes Without Breaking A Fast?
You might wonder, can’t we simply drink lots of water during that period to make sure we get all the essential electrolytes without breaking the fast.
The answer is no.
You see, while water has electrolytes, it doesn’t have enough of them. Also, drinking excessive water can cause overhydration. It can lead to the loss of electrolytes like sodium instead of replenishing them.
So, the correct way to replace your lost electrolytes is to use electrolyte drinks for intermittent fasting. Not the ones that are full of sugar, because such compounds may break your fast.
Which is the best electrolyte for intermittent fasting?
Sodium, potassium, and magnesium are the most essential electrolytes for fasting periods.
Best electrolyte drinks for intermittent fasting?
- Natural coconut water (packed coconut water may have sugar)
- Lemon water (without sugar, honey, stevia, agave nectar, or any sweetener)
- Water (drink it according to your thirst levels – no more, no less)
Related: Does Lemon Water Break Your Fast?
A Final Word
Now you know your answer — will drinking electrolytes break a fast. It doesn’t if your electrolyte drinks have little to no calories.
We also shared why electrolytes are essential for our body and how they can actually enhance your fast.
You also got to know how to get electrolytes while fasting and what are the best sources of electrolytes for fasting.
It’s time for you to use this knowledge and make fasting even more fun and beneficial for yourself.