Alcohol and Fasting: What You Need to Know

Alcohol and Fasting: What You Need to Know

Fasting is one of the most popular health trends on the planet. 

Not only can it help you lose weight, but research shows that fasting has been linked to many other health benefits like reducing inflammation and improving heart health.

However, a lot of people wonder if alcohol affects fasting at all?

This article explains what you need to know about alcohol and fasting. 

How Alcohol Affects Fasting

If you use fasting as a way to lose weight, alcohol can slow it down. 

For starters, studies show that alcohol can reduce your body’s ability to burn fat for as long as 5 hours after eating. Also, alcohol can make you hungrier and possibly overeat (1, 2).

Alcohol isn’t calorie-free — It’s one of the more calorie-dense macronutrients. 

1 gram of alcohol has 7 calories, so a standard drink can easily contain more than 100 calories to your daily intake. If you have a few drinks here and there, it can quickly add up (3).

Not to mention, drinking too much alcohol frequently can promote inflammation, overwhelm your liver, and counter many health benefits from fasting (4, 5, 6).

Outside of health reasons, it’s worth noting alcohol has calories and will break your fast. 

Summary If you’re using fasting to lose weight, alcohol may slow down its progress. Not to mention, drinking too much alcohol can increase inflammation and affect your health.

How Alcohol Affects Fasting

It’s important to note, drinking alcohol isn’t entirely bad.

In fact, small amounts of alcohol, especially from a glass or two of red wine, can be healthy.

If you want to drink alcohol while you’re fasting, you should only drink it during your fasting period and limit your alcohol intake to 1–2 standard drinks at most per day. 

Although fasting doesn’t have strict rules for watching your calorie intake, it’s a good idea to choose healthier alcohol options like red wine or hard spirits as they have fewer calories. Not to mention, avoid using mixers packed with sugar as they are packed with calories.

Summary If you’d like to drink alcohol while you fast, try and limit yourself to 1–2 standard drinks per day, and only drink during your fasting period — not outside of it.

Blog written by
Ryan Raman MHSC, RD

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