Will bone broth break a fast, or can you drink as much as you want without worry?
Most know you’re not supposed to eat anything when intermittent fasting, but what is allowed to drink is not so clear. What liquids will or won’t break your fast is more confusing, especially when it comes to autophagy.
The last thing you want to do is ruin your fast by accidentally breaking it by drinking bone broth. It can be hard making it all the way through your fast drinking nothing but water. Adding in a little bit of bone broth makes it much easier to keep fasting for longer.
Depending on your goals, you can drink bone broth while fasting without breaking your fast. But there are a lot of gray areas you need to know about when doing so. Keep reading to discover how drinking bone broth affects your fast.
Can You Drink Bone Broth While Fasting
Yes, you can drink bone broth while fasting, but with some rules.
It is important to know that bone broth does contain calories and will technically break a true fast. So if you’re following a strict water fast, then drinking anything other than water will technically break your fast.
But if your main goal is weight loss, then drinking bone broth could be beneficial for a few reasons. First, bone broth has many health benefits, including anti-aging and enhancing gut health. Bone broth also has the added benefits of reducing inflammation, improving joint health, and helping to boost immunity.1
A cup of bone broth contains around 35 calories. Dr. Fung a famous fasting expert, says you can have some approved beverages when fasting as long as it’s under 50 calories. This form of dirty fasting is much more sustainable for many but still produces weight loss results.
So, depending on your goals, you can drink bone broth while fasting. If your main goal is weight loss, adding a little bit of bone broth won’t break your fast. But if you’re trying to maximize autophagy, then it’s best to stick with strictly water.
Bone Broth Reduces Hunger
Drinking bone broth can curb hunger pangs that can occur during intermittent fasting when you’re feeling deprived and hungry. Bone broth is packed with protein, which helps keep you full for longer, even though it contains calories.2
Adding some bone broth to your fast and making sure not to exceed the calorie limit daily will help prevent hunger pangs from taking over. If your hunger gets too extreme too often, then it’s tempting to give up on the fast and binge.3
The longer you’re able to keep fasting you’ll end up having better results in the long run. Adding in a bit of bone broth may lower some of the fasting benefits, but you’ll win in the long run by fasting for longer since you have crushed your hunger levels.
Plus, it makes intermittent fasting much more sustainable in the long run if you know you don’t have to go through the extreme hunger pangs that come with fasting.
Does Bone Broth Break Autophagy?
Yes, drinking bone broth will, in some capacity, break autophagy. Many fasting experts agree that only a pure water fast for an extended period of time will create the autophagy effect.
The protein in the bone broth is really problematic for autophagy. When you stop intaking foods or drinks with protein, your mTOR pathway goes dormant, activating autophagy.3 So if you’re trying to maximize autophagy, then only a pure water fast with some electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium will work.
But other fasting experts believe autophagy isn’t totally like an on/off light switch. There is some grey area with autophagy, just like there is with fasting in general. So if you’re able to keep fasting for longer by having a little bit of bone broth, you could still get some of the benefits of autophagy.
Also, suppose you’re following an extended multi-day fast, such as 7 days or even 3 days. In that case, having a little bit of bone broth towards the end will be negligible on your autophagy. So the longer you’re fasting, the more leeway you’ll have with taking some bone broth without breaking autophagy.
Does Bone Broth Beak Ketosis?
To know if drinking bone broth will break ketosis, you have to know if it’ll spike your insulin. To stay in ketosis, you have to keep your carb intake low, so you don’t spike your insulin levels. This will effectively break ketosis.4
Bone broth doesn’t spike your insulin, so it won’t break ketosis. Many who follow the keto diet also drink bone broth to get some nutrients while improving gut health, joint health, and electrolyte balance.
Bone broth does contain collagen and gelatin both of which are effective at reducing the signs of aging. But studies have found collagen concentrations are probably too low in bone broth for significant results.5 They recommend taking a collagen supplement instead.
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Just make sure you’re staying hydrated when fasting and in ketosis. It’s easier to dehydrate in ketosis because you’re losing more salt.6 Drinking bone broth can help to replace electrolytes that can become lost or depleted when on the keto diet.
Drinking bone broth can help you keep your calorie intake when dieting. Since bone broth is satiating due to its gelatin, it’ll help you to feel fuller for longer.7 The fuller you feel, the easier it is to curb the hunger pangs that can come with dieting.8
Best Bone Broth for Fasting
First, it’s a good idea to know the difference between bone broth and stock. Stocks are typically made from just meatless bones of animals along with vegetables and cooked for 1-6 hours.
However, bone broth is slowly simmered from bones with meat still attached for long periods (24-48 hours) to extract minerals and collagen from the bones.
Stocks are usually clearer and thicker, while bone broths are lighter but have more flavor. You can find bone broth in most health grocery stores next to the stock. But they are definitely not the same.
The best bone broth for fasting will be under 50 calories, low in carbs and sugars, and satiating.
Stock is actually higher in calories, carbs, and fats. It’s also higher in nutrients like collagen than typical bone broth. For example, one cup of stock has about 85 calories, surpassing the 50-calorie rule when fasting.
On the other hand, bone broth contains only around 35-40 calories per cup, keeping you under the 50-calorie target. And the slow cooking of bone broth allows more collagen, gelatin, calcium, and glucosamine to come out of the bones.
So it’s best to go with a bone broth instead of a stock. You can make it yourself easily if you have a slow cooker like a Crockpot. If buying one in the store, make sure it specifically says “bone broth” and not just “broth.” Also, avoid brands that have added any fillers or artificial ingredients.
When Should You Drink Bone Broth When Fasting?
If you’re going to use a bone broth fast, it’s best to time it near the end of your fast. Wait until you feel hunger pangs; this will be the ideal time to drink the bone broth since it will be filling.
Allowing yourself to go longer when fasting without eating or drinking will maximize the benefits of intermittent fasting, including autophagy. However, having some bone broth will also curb hunger and make it easier to continue with your fast for longer.
If fasting for multiple days at a time, it’s best to drink bone broth near the end of your fast. The longer you can go without eating or drinking when fasting, then the better the results will be. Try to save bone broth for when you really feel hungry and need it to fight off the hunger pangs.
Many people also like to break their fast with bone broth since it’s easily digested and contains essential nutrients for your body when fasting. The bone broth’s electrolyte content can help maintain fluid balance and prevent muscle spasms.
Also, the most important macronutrient your body needs when fasting is protein. The pre-broken-down forms of proteins in bone broth (essential amino acids) can be beneficial in preventing muscle loss.
How Much Bone Broth Should I Drink While Fasting?
It’s important not to overdo it by drinking too much brown broth when fasting, or you could start to lose more of the benefits. One cup contains 35 to 40 cal, so you should keep it at about one cup. If you have to have more than one cup, then wait a while before doing so.
Bone broth can be a valuable tool if your goal is weight loss. You can curb hunger while keeping calories low and a higher protein intake. If your goal is weight loss, you can also drink bone broth in the evenings to curb hunger, which can come from dieting.
It’s a lot easier to sleep when you’re not feeling hungry. You should sleep better after having some bone broth in the evening. With proper sleep you’ll have more self-control to stick with your fasting and diet the next day.
What Foods Don’t Break a Fast
When dirty fasting is less than 50 calories and doesn’t spike up your insulin, it won’t break your fast. This allows coffee, green tea, yerba mate, sparkling water, lemon water, psyllium husk, and bone broth.
You have to be careful not to overindulge, as it’ll be easy to surpass the 50-calorie rule. It would help if you mostly were drinking water during your fast. Staying hydrated is key to lowering hunger, and water is your best choice.
Following the 50-calorie rule, you can add a little coffee creamer to your morning cup of coffee. I know many can’t stand the taste of black coffee, so this is good news for coffee drinkers.
Coffee is a natural thermogenic since it contains caffeine that will boost your metabolism.8 Make sure you know what to add to your coffee when fasting. Sugar definitely is off the approved list. I recommend using a keto coffee creamer to kickstart your body into ketosis and a fat-burning state.
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So does bone broth break a fast? No, consuming bone broth and only bone broth won’t break a fast unless you’re following a pure water fast.
Bone broth contains powerful nutrients like essential amino acids that your body can use to prevent muscle breakdown loss when fasting. Bone broth can improve your digestive system and heal a leaky gut.
Drinking bone broth can also strengthen your immune system since 70% of your immune system is in your gut.9 Insulin resistance is also improved when you consume bone broth adding to weight loss.
A bone broth fast is a smart way to curb hunger so you can keep fasting for longer. With a bone broth fast, you can get better results in the long run by allowing your body to fast for a more extended period. And the longer you can stay fasted, the better results you’ll get.
Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and he’s a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) by American Council on Exercise. He’s worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the high school and college levels. He has over 15 years of experience as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He is also the author of The Flat Belly Formula. He strives to bring inspiration and results for people to live healthier lives through smart diet and exercise.