Last Updated on September 27, 2021 by Lori Geurin
What should you eat after intermittent fasting? After fasting, people have been without food for a few hours and are excited to end their fast. There are many different thoughts in regard to what the best way is to break a fast and what kind of foods you should eat post intermittent fasting. But there are some general principles that apply to most intermittent fasters. So is there a correct way to break your fast after fasting?
In this blog post, we’ll cover the best foods to eat after intermittent fasting and answer several other questions related to what to do after your fast.
What Intermittent Fasting Is and Why It’s Important
Intermittent fasting is a dietary approach that many people have been using for years. It involves going without food and fluids for a set period of hours or days, then eating to restore the body’s energy reserves once the fast comes to an end.
Intermittent fasting has gotten a lot of attention lately, but it’s been around for centuries.
This approach follows what we call an intermittent fasting schedule, and it can have some profound benefits over continuous calorie restriction.
In intermittent fasting, you may eat a big meal or small meals within an 8-hour window. You’ll also go for long periods of time without food; typically 12 hours to 48 hours.
The intermittent part is really what makes intermittent fasting effective in the first place. After all, our bodies were designed to endure periods of feast and famine, and intermittent fasting is a natural way to emulate this lifestyle.
Intermittent fasting isn’t a diet, it’s an eating schedule that can benefit almost anyone who is looking to get in shape. And it doesn’t have to mean going without food altogether; you can still feast on healthy whole foods during the eating periods.
The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
There are so many impressive benefits of fasting. I used intermittent fasting to lose weight and it was one of the most powerful tools I’ve used. It even reversed the severe hypoglycemia symptoms I was having!
If you’re a regular reader, then you know intermittent fasting is not about starving yourself. It’s simply eating your normal meals in a smaller time frame. This provides benefits for people of all body types and lifestyles. People use intermittent fasting for many different reasons.
Some fast to lose weight, others do it to stay healthy and live longer.
(If intermittent fasting is something that interests you, then I encourage you to check out our beginner’s guide on intermittent fasting. It covers the basics of intermittent fasting and gives some solid examples of how to go about intermittent fasting for health purposes.)
Get the FREE Intermittent Fasting ebook + access to my FREE Resource Library.
Then there are people who intermittent fast because it helps them “tap into” their body’s ability to burn fat as fuel. This is why intermittent fasting isn’t specific to losing weight—it also has amazing effects on repairing the human body and improving health!
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The Magic Process Called Autophagy
Another amazing benefit of fasting is autophagy. This is the process of the human body rejuvenating itself. Through this process, our bodies repair and clean out all the junk in our cells. This benefit is truly awesome and allows you to come back from intermittent fasting feeling like a brand new person!
Some of the other impressive benefits of fasting include increased insulin sensitivity, reduced blood pressure, and improved triglyceride levels.
Knowing about these benefits if encouraging, but let’s take a quick look at the sciency stuff behind fasting.
How Intermittent Fasting Works
In intermittent fasting, you cycle between periods of eating and periods without food for a specific duration. For example, intermittent fasters might skip breakfast and eat their first meal around noon or dinner time.
When you’re fasting several things are happening in your body. First, intermittent fasting naturally suppresses your appetite. This helps you eat less during the day and maintain a healthy weight.
When intermittent fasting, you also experience what’s known as gluconeogenesis. Gluconeogenesis is when your body converts stored fat into glucose, the fuel that cells use to function properly. This basically means that intermittent fasting helps your body burn fat for energy.
Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor and Fasting
Another thing that fasting does is increase your body’s production of a protein named brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF ).
This is important because BDNF helps repair your brain, improve memory and protect you from neurodegenerative diseases.
Now that we visited all the technical info about fasting, we’re moving on to the burning question: What do you eat after a fast?
What To Eat After Intermittent Fasting
Now that intermittent fasting has helped your body break down and use stored fat, you might be asking what should you eat to break your fast?
When you break a fast it’s important to eat foods that are gentle to your system. Also, avoid overeating because your body needs time to adjust to food again.
Eating foods that are high in sugar, fat, or fiber can cause digestion issues. It’s usually best to eat something light and nutrient-dense, often containing protein.
Below are some eating suggestions for breaking your fast.
- Yogurt. Most yogurt contains live probiotic cultures, which are beneficial to gut bacteria. Yogurt is also easy on the stomach and can be helpful in easing digestion.
- Fruit. Fresh, ripe fruit is a great post intermittent fasting option. Eat it alone or with yogurt. If you choose to eat fruit after a fast, go for low-sugar options such as apple, pear, or berries.
- Ginger Tea. Ginger tea is both soothing and calming on the digestive system. It’s also full of antioxidants, which help purify the blood.
- Vegetables. Gentle, cooked vegetables like potatoes, carrots, or sweet potatoes are usually well-tolerated.
- Fruit smoothies. A smoothie made with yogurt or kefir and fresh fruit is easy to digest, gentle on the stomach, and full of nutrients.
After you’ve had some time to eat this first small healthy snack or meal, your body will be better prepared to tolerate something a bit more substantial. Here are a few foods you can introduce at this point.
- Nuts and seeds
- Oatmeal and other whole grains
- Meat, eggs, and nut butters
- Whole fruits
If you only fasted a short time you’ll likely feel well with this method. But if you’re just coming off a long fast – like a 36-hour or more fast – you’ll want to re-introduce foods more slowly.
Let’s take a look at some of the different fasting schedules you may be doing.
More Blog Posts About Intermittent Fasting
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Different Intermittent Fasting Schedules
- The 16:8. This popular schedule is where you eat in an 8-hour window and fast for 16 hours.
- Alternate day. Alternate day intermittent fasting means you eat normally one day and don’t eat the next.
- Meal skipping. Like the name suggests, with this method you simply skip a meal (or 2) whenever you choose.
- The 5:2. This schedule is where you eat normally on 5 days of the week and then only eat 500 calories or less on 2 days of the week.
You can read more about this in22 Intermittent Fasting Schedules To Skyrocket Your Fasting Success.
The Importance of Hydration and Electrolytes
It’s important to stay hydrated during your fast as well as consume electrolyte-rich foods afterward. This will help maintain optimal hydration and prevent the risk of low blood sugar, headaches, or dizziness.
Great Options for Drinks
1. Coconut water. Coconut water has been shown to be a great source of potassium which replenishes electrolytes.
2. Green (or herbal) tea. Green tea contains more than 4x the antioxidants of other teas.
3. Lemon water. Lemon juice is a great detoxifier.
4. Homemade bone broths. Sodium and potassium-rich broth will aid in hydration and replenish electrolytes.
5 Natural mineral water. These contain high levels of minerals like magnesium, calcium, and other trace elements that the body needs to function optimally.
Conclusion: What To Eat After Your Fast
I hope this article helped to answer some questions about what to eat after intermittent fasting. Remember, intermittent fasting is just one of many tools in the toolbox. I find intermittent fasting to be an effective way to lose fat and gain muscle but it is not the only way. Experiment with intermittent fasting and eat what your body tells you it wants!
Have you ever tried intermittent fasting before? If so, what did you think? Share below!
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Thanks for reading!