Fasting is a great way to burn fat and improve mental clarity. It works like a charm, but it can be a struggle if your stomach starts growling before you get to eat.
A hot drink can soothe the savage munchies, but just a few calories are enough to sabotage your efforts.
Sipping different types of teas while fasting provides many benefits from suppressing your appetite and increasing fat burning to boosting energy levels.
And the most important thing is that, if you do it right, drinking tea does not break a fast.
What Exactly is Fasting?
Fasting is abstinence from food and some drink — the main idea is to avoid consuming any calories. An ancient practice, it has scientifically proven benefits.
Humans were once hunter-gatherers. Before learning to farm, we endured alternating periods of feast and famine.
Thus, our bodies adapted to days without food, so the abundance of steady calories in our modern diet wreaks havoc with our metabolism.
When we fast, our bodies are forced to produce their own energy by converting fats and proteins into sugar.
Fasting is actually very natural and can provide many benefits including:
- Helps with losing weight and burning fat
- Balances blood sugar
- Boosts brain functions
- Enhances memory
- Reduces inflammation
- Lowers the risk of heart diseases
- Improves sleep quality
I recommend that you watch this short video about how intermittent fasting works:
While intermittent fasting means that you fast during certain hours every day, often 16 hours, there are also other ways to fast. The fasting period can last anywhere from one day to several days or longer.
But fasting is a battle when you’re surrounded 24/7 by food and drink — even our social customs encourage grazing. It’s also easy to get dehydrated unless you consume enough calorie-free beverages to meet your fluid needs.
Does Tea Break a Fast?
When water gets boring, tea is the perfect option. Most teas contain close to zero calories when enjoyed plain and don’t break your fast.
I like to have a cup of black tea, matcha, or herbal tea first thing in the morning while fasting. This is a great way to start the day with more energy and vigor!
There are, however, dos and don’ts when fasting:
- Avoid adding any milk or creamer to your tea
- Don’t use sweeteners that contain calories or might otherwise disturb fasting
- Be careful with teas that contain dried fruits or berries as they might have sugars
Teas are generally calorie-free, but our favorite additions, like milk, honey, and sugar, are not. And while some alternative sweeteners are safe, most contain enough carbohydrates to ruin a fast.
Monk fruit, for example, may stimulate insulin production and scuttle the metabolic advantages of fasting.
Stevia is among the few options that don’t break a fast. Studies show that in modest amounts it may even enhance blood sugar control and contribute to your weight loss efforts.
You could also use xylitol or aspartame to add a bit of sweetness to your cup.
Still, the safest way to drink tea while fasting is to enjoy it plain, and for that, you need plenty of flavor. So, let’s explore the tastiest and healthiest brews.
5 Best Teas for Fasting
As mentioned earlier, drinking tea can make fasting easier and enhance the benefits.
However, you should avoid teas like:
- Chai and chai latte
- Matcha latte
- Iced teas and sweet teas
- Milk tea and bubble tea
Instead, choose one or more of these five options:
1. Black Tea
Black tea is derived from the tea plant (Camellia sinensis). Grown globally, we chug nearly 300 billion liters of it annually!
More oxidized than green tea, it was once thought to have fewer nutritional benefits. But new research suggests it may be just as effective for weight loss without the grassy flavor.
A preliminary study shows that drinking three cups per day can help you shed pounds and reduce waist circumference. Research also indicates that long-term, people with a higher intake of flavone from vegetables and drinks like black tea have a consistently lower Body Mass Index (BMI).
Black tea can also help enhance your cognitive performance and memory.
Widely available at restaurants in regular or decaf, drinking black tea is a good choice if you’re fasting on the road or in a social setting.
2. Green Tea and Matcha Tea
Packed with antioxidants, green tea ranks among the world’s healthiest beverages. Made from the same plant as black tea, its weight loss benefits have been extensively analyzed.
Green tea extract has been shown repeatedly to ramp up fat burning during exercise, so why not make your workouts count more?
And it boosts your metabolic rate by 3%-8%, helping you burn more calories and fat per day even without exercise.
Matcha, a green tea powder favored in Japan, has similar benefits but it contains more catechins and caffeine — substances shown to enhance weight loss. Both types of green tea are delicious hot or iced.
3. Yerba Mate Tea
Yerba mate is an herbal tea made from the leaves and branches of the South American Ilex paraguariensis plant. Fire-dried, they’re slowly steeped into a pungent brew.
The bitter, herbal taste isn’t for everyone, but the health benefits alone make it worth a try. Yerba mate contains seven of the nine essential amino acids plus nearly every vitamin and mineral the body needs.
Used by athletes to improve physical and mental performance, Yerba mate gives fasters a boost.
Research also suggests that yerba mate is one of the best teas for suppressing appetite and boosting metabolism. Human studies show it promotes fat burning and weight loss.
High in caffeine, it’s an excellent substitute for coffee if you need a morning kickstart without cream and sugar.
4. Ginger Tea
Ginger tea isn’t really tea — it’s fresh ginger root steeped in hot water. Aromatic, the taste ranges from mild to spicy depending on how much you use.
Touted worldwide for its medicinal properties, it can help you lose weight and keep it off without caffeine. Studies show it reduces body fat and promotes a healthier waist-to-hip ratio.
A squeeze of lemon is nearly carbohydrate-free and won’t break your fast while adding an extra dimension of flavor. Together, they may also help suppress your appetite so that you feel less hungry until your next meal.
5. Peppermint Tea
Peppermint is a naturally sweet, spearmint-watermint hybrid from the Lamiaceae family. Calorie-free and brimming with essential oils, it has a powerful and comforting fragrance.
Loaded with antioxidants, its health benefits are well-established. Better yet, it supports fasting by increasing physical and mental energy.
Peppermint oil has been shown to boost exercise performance among athletes by improving gas exchange. In another study, people felt less fatigued during cognitive tests.
And the scent alone may reduce hunger and daytime sleepiness, giving you the edge you need to power through busy days with fewer calories.
Tea and Fasting FAQ
Does green tea break a fast?
Green tea contains very few calories so you can drink it without breaking a fast.
Just remember not to add any milk, sugar, honey, or other ingredients that contain calories.
Does matcha tea break a fast?
Matcha tea is a type of Japanese green tea that has been ground into fine powder. Just like regular green tea, it contains very few calories and does not break a fast.
Does black tea break a fast?
When you drink your black tea without milk, cream, or sweeteners, it will not break your fast.
If you must sweeten your black tea, add a bit of stevia.
Do herbal teas break a fast?
Herbal teas can contain anything from dried and fresh herbs and flowers to fruits and berries.
Almost all herbal teas contain very few calories and can be consumed while fasting. Some great options include yerba mate, ginger tea, peppermint tea, chamomile tea, and hibiscus tea.
Just avoid blends that have dried fruits or berries as they might have enough carbs to break your fast.
Does yerba mate break a fast?
Yerba mate is a herbal tea that does not break a fast but can actually help you boost the positive outcome of fasting. I have found that when I drink yerba mate while fasting it makes me feel more energetic and less hungry. There is also scientific research that supports these facts.
Final Thoughts on Drinking Tea When Fasting
Fasting is a proven way to slim down and improve your overall health — but it’s not always easy in our food-everywhere world.
When the hunger hits you, a cup of tea can be a powerful ally. Choose one or more of the teas recommended in this guide to help you with fasting and get additional benefits.
Or why not mix them up a bit?
While doing intermittent fasting, I often mix yerba mate, ginger, and peppermint for a refreshing and energizing drink full of healthy antioxidants and nutrients. Peppermint also goes nicely with green tea.
However, I like to drink my matcha and black tea without adding anything.
But there are also some interesting options that have more flavor. For example, Earl Grey tea has many benefits and the Bergamot oil gives a nice citrusy twist. This makes it one of my favorite drinks while fasting.
Go ahead and experiment with different options to find your favorite fasting teas!
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