Last Updated on February 26, 2021 by Lori Geurin
You’ve probably heard of intermittent fasting. Though it’s been around for ages, fasting has gained popularity recently. From weight lifters to those with chronic illnesses, many have discovered the power of fasting to improve their health, lose weight and reverse and prevent diseases. A common question I hear is, what is clean fasting?
Breaking down the clean fasting rules and comparing clean and dirty fasting is the focus of this post.
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I’ve been fasting for a few years and have experienced so many health benefits. In the past few months, I’ve done some experiments on the effects of clean and dirty fasting. Below I’ll share what I’ve learned using myself as a guinea pig.
Hopefully, the results of my experiment will help you get the most out of your fasting journey!
What Is Clean Fasting?
Clean Fasting Rules
When I started fasting years ago I’d never heard of clean or dirty fasting. But to say clean fasting is not important would be an understatement.
Clean fasting creates the ideal fasting environment – one without any insulin spikes.
And one of the biggest benefits of clean fasting is that it makes your body a fat-burning machine. In truth, clean fasting is the way to go if you want to see the most success for your fasting efforts.
It includes only unsweetened, calorie-free beverages. But keep reading for all the details!
Clean Fasting Foods / Clean Fasting Drinks
Wondering what clean fasting foods are? Well, I’m going to list them for you here. Below are the only foods and/or drinks proven safe to include during your clean fast.
This means that they won’t spike your insulin and they’ll keep your fat-burning in overdrive, which is ultimately what we want.
- unflavored black coffee
- unflavored water
- sparkling water, mineral water, and club soda
- unsweetened teas, (not fruit-flavored) – includes green tea and black tea
- salt and electrolytes
- medications, prescribed by your doctor
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What Is Dirty Fasting?
Dirty fasting is when you consume foods or beverages that break your fast. Many experts will tell you dirty fasting is fine. And to be honest, for years I didn’t know there was a difference because much of what I read said you were still fasting as long as you keep your calories under 100 during your fasting window.
I would have my bulletproof coffee most morning and still experienced the benefits of fasting, including better mental clarity, improved energy, complete elimination of my reactive hypoglycemia, and effortless weight loss of 20+ pounds.
But once I started practicing clean fasting I experienced a noticeable boost in benefits and additional weight loss (bringing my total weight loss to 35+ pounds). So, if you’re fasting for weight loss and haven’t lost anything for a while I’d recommend clean fasting for the best results.
Try it for a couple of weeks and see what you notice.
Dirty Fasting Foods / Dirty Fasting Drinks
Technically any food will break your fast, but the ones listed below are commonly referred to as dirty fasting foods.
They’re well-known culprits that people often add to their clean fasting foods that will spike your insulin and stall your weight loss, especially if you consume them every day. Even in small amounts.
Here are the dirty fasting foods and drinks:
- coffee creamer
- flavored coffees
- flavored water
- sweet or fruity teas
- almond milk or other plant-based milk
- artificial and natural sweeteners
- lemon slices
- collagen powder
- protein powder
- bone broth
- coconut oil, MCT oil, and butter
- sugar-free sodas
- sugar-free breath mints
- sports drinks
- some nutritional supplements are sometimes okay, depending on what they are, but it’s usually best to avoid them completely within the fasting window, if possible
- supplements including exogenous ketones, collagen, and BCAAs
- sugarless gum
Now for an experiment…
My Clean Fasting Vs Dirty Fasting Experiment
First of all, I’ll offer up this disclaimer to anyone who’s interested: I’m not a scientist and I don’t play one on T.V. I’m just a girl who loves intermittent fasting and occasionally geeks out over research, facts, and figures that might be helpful to others. Take this information with a grain of salt. The only test subject was me. However, this fact does not make the results any less compelling.
My experiment was simple and conducted over the course of a couple of weeks. When comparing the results of clean and dirty fasting I looked specifically at:
- my symptom relief and the benefits of fasting
- my ketone levels (how quickly I got into ketosis with fasting alone, not via a keto eating plan) or level of fat-burning
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Now to the good stuff.
The Results And What I Learned…
- Symptom relief and benefits of fasting – With clean fasting, the benefits I’d already experienced (with the prior dirty fasting) were heightened. I felt even more clear-headed, had better energy (something I continue to struggle with due to chronic Lyme), and felt absolutely no hunger. My brain was sharp and I was more efficient. My body was clearly seeing the fasting benefits of autophagy, the recycling of old cells.
- I used a fasting app to accurately track the time I was fasting and measured my ketone levels in the afternoon before breaking my fast using these Keto Strips. On the days I did clean fasting I entered ketosis earlier in the day and was in deep ketosis, shown by the deep purple color on the Keto Strips. On the dirty fasting days, if I entered ketosis, it was always in the trace to small ketone amounts. This showed me that clean fasting put me in fat-burning mode faster and at a deeper level than dirty fasting.
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Now let’s take a closer look at how fasting can help you.
Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Here are some of the impressive benefits of fasting.
- improves weight loss
- increases belly fat loss
- regulates hormones
- repairs cells through a process called autophagy
- lowers your risk of type 2 diabetes
- increases longevity
- reduces LDL cholesterol and triglycerides
- may help prevent cancer
- may help prevent neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of fasting, check out 9 Health Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting.
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Summary – Clean Fasting Vs Dirty Fasting
I hope you enjoyed reading about my experiment with clean and dirty fasting. Hopefully, this information will help you on your fasting journey, especially if you’re wanting to lose weight and feel better.
Understanding the difference between clean and dirty fasting foods and drinks is crucial for you to get optimal results from your fasting efforts.
The intermittent fasting lifestyle has given me much freedom in life. One of the things I love most is that my focus is no longer on restricting particular foods but on living a healthier life.
I used to spend hours a day thinking about food, craving sweets and carbs, and eating to prevent another hypoglycemic episode. It was as though my life revolved around food…out of necessity.
But no more – thanks to fasting!
Thankfully, now that I’ve discovered fasting, I’m not a slave to my next meal (or the scale). My body is healing and healthier and I’m grateful for this natural practice that I plan to continue the rest of my life.
What are your thoughts about clean and dirty fasting? What questions do you have about fasting? Personal experiences you can share?
Please comment below.
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