As of recently, fasting has risen in popularity as a form of dieting to lose weight. I can say this confidently because I myself have jumped on the fasting bandwagon…as of two years ago. Different fasting patterns like intermittent fasting, which I’ve personally tried, water fasting, or even dry fasting all exist. In today’s article, I’d like to answer a question that many people have in terms of their fasting and beloved protein powders. Can I drink a protein shake while fasting? As an essential piece in many workout regimes, it’s a question that has to be answered. The answer and more in today’s article!
How Does Fasting Work?
The practice of fasting has been around for a long time, and I mean, a long time. It’s said to be created by the Greek philosopher Hippocrates in the 5th century BCE. It’s incredible to think that it still exists today, in 2020, and is practiced consistently around the world.
The purposes of why people fast vary. Many people fast on their religion/culture, such as Ramadan, the famous fasting period for followers of the Islamic faith. They do this based on their beliefs and community.
Then there’s fasting based on health benefits which I, and many other individuals, practice. The main goal with a lot of these types of fast is to lose weight or build muscle. You may be asking yourself, “you can fast and build muscle?” Absolutely! Check out the video below that shows you exactly how.
Can I Drink Protein While Fasting?
Now, how can we implement our favorite dietary supplement, protein powders, into our fasting pattern? As a matter of fact, is it even possible? Well, the truth of the matter is, during a fast, absolutely no calories should be consumed. That’s just the definition of a fast, nothing edible should be eaten/drinking during the time of the fast.
With that, it should be clear that a protein shake cannot be drunk during a fast. Even though a protein shake doesn’t contain that many calories, typically between 150-250, it’s still enough to break a fast.
On some fasting patterns, certain things can be consumed during the actual fasting window. All the foods/drinks must have zero calories to not break a fast. Some of the things that are consumed during an actual fast include the following…
- Black Coffee
- Bone Broth
- Carbonated Water
However, this is not to say that protein shakes cannot be drunken during the eating period. The time to be eating is before or after the fasting period. Which is also the optimal time for drinking a protein shake. Let’s see how they can be incorporated into the three different types of fasts I mentioned before.
For those of you who don’t know, intermittent fasting is my jam. I’ve achieved remarkable success with intermittent fasting. Starting intermittent fasting is a decision that, quite literally, changed my life. If you’re on the edge of trying intermittent fasting, go for it and stay committed, you won’t regret it.
That’s enough praising, for now, let’s get back to our topic at hand. Protein shakes fit very nicely into an intermittent fasting diet. The goal of intermittent fasting is to get you to eat less during your eating period, and not during the fasting window. Protein is the most filling macronutrient we have at our disposal.
Consuming protein fills us up faster and for an extended period of time. The addition of more protein in one’s diet lowers the number of calories they consume since they don’t feel hungry as often. I have an article here that explains exactly how to incorporate your protein shake with intermittent fasting. It’s the same strategy I used when trying out IF.
A water fast is similar to intermittent fasting but also very different. With water fast, the only thing you can consume is water for a certain period of time. With intermittent fasting, your only fasting window can differ depending on how well you can handle fast. Some people fast for up to 24 hours and then eat the next day in a cycle called alternate day fasting.
With water fasting, your only means of food is water for 72 hours or 3 days. Going over the 72-hour mark without any medical supervision is dangerous and should not be tried. If performed correctly, water fasting can provide you great health benefits, such as weight loss and “detoxification.”
Also known as absolute fasting, a dry fast consists of consuming absolutely nothing during a fast, not even water. It does not allow any foods or liquids, even if they are zero calories. This is a more extreme type of fasting that cannot appeal to just anyone.
This type of fast can’t go for very long, either. The human body can go a while without food, so water fasting and intermittent fasting come off as a safer approach. However, the absence of water makes us die after about 3 days. You run a lot of risks when not drinking water, let alone for 2 days straight.
Symptoms of dehydration, tiredness, irritability, poor focus, and especially headaches all show their ugly face when on a dry fast. It’s crucial to contact your doctor when dry fasting to know all the side effects and dangers. A protein shake wouldn’t really fit here because, well, you can even drink anything. Maybe when it’s said and done, you could enjoy your shake.
In conclusion, can I drink a protein shake while fasting? Well, during the actual fast, you cannot, but anytime before or after is perfectly fine. There are several types of fasting that I actually did not even cover in this article, but I hit the main ones. Intermittent fasting is fast in intervals. Water fasting is a fast consisting of the consumption of only water. Dry fasting is fast with absolutely no food or drink, not even water. If you’d like to try a fasting pattern, I’d say intermittent fasting is the way. It’s safer and still has the same benefits.
Got any questions? Leave them down below, along with any comments you may have!