Intermittent Fasting & Alcohol | What is Intermittent Fasting | Alcohol Metabolism | Does Vodka or Gin Break a Fast | Impact of Alcohol on Fasting Benefits | Vodka or Gin into Your Fasting Routine | Alternatives to Vodka or Gin when Intermittent Fasting
Does Vodka or Gin Break an Intermittent Fast? Let’s dive in! Intermittent fasting is a much-acknowledged technique that has been put into practice since ages due to whatever reasons including religious practices, numerous health advantages, or to lead a better life. It is indeed a perfect intermedium to attain your much-awaited goals such as weight loss and improvement in health. While intermittent fasting is befitting to the mainstream, one must not forget that it is a regime, not a race. Instead of you getting fit into the fasting schedule, fasting should get fit into your lifestyle.
After all, every human being wants to have relaxation time after an exhausting working day. You must be desperate to have a party with your friends and dear ones with some alcohol breaks during the weekends. But hanging out with friends with having your favorite alcoholic beverages may come as an obstacle when you are intermittent fasting.
You know well that your intermittent fasting pattern should not hinder you from relishing life to the optimum, but can intermittent fasting and alcohol be combined together? Does alcohol affect your fasting regime and negatively impact your fasting results? Let’s find out.
This article will delve deeper into the effects of alcohol on intermittent fasting and does consuming clear spirits like vodka or gin break an intermittent fast. We will also look into the possible safest way to incorporate these drinks into your fasting regime.
Can Intermittent Fasting and Alcohol Coexist?
Intermittent fasting is the practice of being abstained from eating and drinking for a definite period of time. Although it has been practiced in various religions and cultures for centuries, it has become the impetus of the present generation due to its numerous health benefits like weight loss, enhanced cognitive function, improved metabolism, and increased longevity. It has several methods of fasting having its own set of guidelines. People adapt to the various fasting plans matching their lifestyles.
On the other hand, the consumption of alcohol has been a part of various celebrations and social occasions. However, before incorporating any type of alcohol into your schedule while being on an intermittent fast, you must understand how clear spirits like vodka, gin, and rum can influence your fasting regimen. One gram of alcohol provides 7 calories, which can be more calorie-dense than protein and carbohydrates. Additionally, alcohol is quickly absorbed by our body and metabolized by the liver.
What is Intermittent Fasting and its Various Types?
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that restricts ingesting any calories for a specified time window. This pattern of fasting does not allow you to eat or drink any sort of calories during the fasting window. However, you can eat any food of your choice during the eating window. An intermittent fasting plan does not focus on the calorie intake, rather it emphasizes when you eat.
Intermittent fasting can be categorized into different types based on the time duration, frequency, and food restriction level. They are namely:
- Time-restricted eating (TRE): This method involves restricting your eating window to a specified time duration followed by fasting for the rest of the day. Examples of TRE include the 16/8 method (fasting for 16 hours and eating within 8 hours), the 14/10 (fasting for 14 hours and eating within 10 hours) method, etc.
- The 5:2 diet: It includes eating normally for five days of the week and fasting for two non-consecutive days, wherein you may take a maximum of 500 calories per day.
- Alternate day fasting: As the name suggests, it involves fasting on every alternate day and eating on the rest of the days. During the fasting period, you may ingest up to 500 calories daily.
- Prolonged fasting: This method involves desisting food for a longer period of time, which usually lingers from 48 hours to several days at a stretch. However, this should be done under the supervision of a medical professional as it carries a lot of health risks.
The Science Behind Alcohol Metabolism
When you consume alcohol, your liver metabolizes it with utmost priority over any other macronutrients, as alcohol is toxic in nature and the body cannot store it for a long time. There are two enzymes named alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) through which the liver metabolizes alcohol. When alcohol enters into the body, the liver converts it to acetaldehyde with the help of ADH. Acetaldehyde is a toxic compound that is again processed into acetate with the help of ALDH. Eventually, acetate is converted into carbon dioxide and water and gets eliminated from the body.
Alcohol metabolism differs in individuals and is influenced by factors like body size, sex, age, and genetic factors.
Does Vodka or Gin Break a Fast? Analyzing the Study
One of the major concerns in drinking alcohol while fasting is the caloric value it contains. As you know earlier that one gram of alcohol provides 7 calories, which can disrupt your daily intake of calories.
Furthermore, vodka contains 69 calories per ounce (approximately 28 grams), and gin per ounce has 75 calories. Although having small amounts of alcohol do not contribute to significant caloric intake, consuming them multiple times can add up to a substantial amount of calories and can break your fast.
Further, when you consume alcohol during intermittent fasting on an empty stomach, your body prioritizes breaking it down over fat oxidation. This may create a hindrance in your prime objective which is fasting.
Additionally, alcohol can induce increased hunger which can make you overeat and possibly cause weight gain. Considering these circumstances, we can say that excessive drinking of vodka, gin, or rum can definitely break a fast.
The Impact of Alcohol on Fasting Benefits
It is no secret that intermittent fasting has a myriad of benefits including better fat oxidation, weight management, improved insulin sensitivity, enhanced autophagy or cellular repair, combating chronic inflammation, etc. Excessive alcohol consumption can adversely affect these factors.
1. Impairs Insulin Sensitivity
Excessive consumption of alcohol hinders insulin sensitivity and increases insulin resistance. Increased insulin resistance may lead to high blood sugar levels and the risk of developing type II diabetes.
2. Impedes Fat Burning
Intermittent fasting encourages fat burning process, thus helping in decreasing body fat. But too much alcohol consumption increases appetite, resulting in overeating and eventually may lead to weight gain.
Studies show that excessive alcohol consumption may compel your body to alcohol metabolism on priority and inhibits fat oxidation and hence leading to increased levels of body fat. This can hamper weight loss efforts during fasting.
3. Affects Autophagy
Intermittent fasting induces a process called autophagy in which the body cells repair themselves and get rid of waste.
Autophagy helps promote longevity and protects against neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Consuming excess alcohol may inhibit the process of autophagy so as its beneficial effects.
4. May Weaken Your Immune System
Studies suggest that excessive alcohol consumption can damage immunity. When the toxins in alcohol enter your bloodstream, your body tries hard to get rid of the toxins and struggles to function efficiently.
This could lead to a lowered immune function, and eventually, the overall functionality of the body is compromised.
Other short-term and long-term effects of alcohol consumption on fasting may include:
- Dehydration: Alcohol can increase urine production which may lead to dehydration. This can impact your fasting benefits as already you may be having less water than required.
- Poor sleep: Alcohol leads to poor sleep quality. Sufficient sleep is an important factor of intermittent fasting in order to optimize the benefits of fasting.
- Increased hunger: Consuming excess alcohol increases hunger and makes you overeat. This can impede the fasting goals.
- Impaired liver function: Prolonged consumption of alcohol can damage the liver by causing inflammation. This may impair the liver’s capacity for metabolism, detoxification, filtration, digestion, protein synthesis, and storage of vitamins and minerals.
How to Incorporate Vodka or Gin into Your Fasting Routine Safely?
If you wish to have vodka, gin, or whiskey while intermittent fasting, you must incorporate it safely with utmost responsibility.
1. Use in Moderation
Adapt to moderate alcohol consumption or occasional drinking, and avoid binge drinking. You can have one standard drink (approximately 1.5 ounces or 44 ml) or even less than that to have less impact on your fasting.
2. Drink Liquor During the Eating Window
If you want to have a drink, waiting until the eating window is always a good idea. But prior to having a drink make sure to have a good meal containing enough carbs, protein, and fats.
This will enable the alcohol to get absorbed more slowly. On top of that moderate drinking during the eating window will not hamper your fasting schedule.
3. Avoid Energy Drinks with Alcohol
Studies say that mixing energy drinks with alcohol can make you drink more alcohol than normal and end up having loads of extra calories, which will have a detrimental effect on your health like breathlessness, seizures, vomiting, and confusion.
Hence, refrain from mixing alcohol with energy drinks. Instead, you can choose to have non-caloric beverages like club soda or sparkling water.
4. Stay Hydrated
Staying adequately hydrated while consuming alcohol can help you counteract the diuretic effects of alcohol and maintain balance in the body during your fasting period.
Alternatives to Vodka or Gin when Intermittent Fasting
Consider the following when you look for alternatives to vodka or gin in order not to break your fast.
- Water: Plain water is considered the best option for maintaining hydration while on intermittent fasting. Moreover, water is free from calories!
- Black coffee: Without added cream or sugar, black coffee is one of the best options to have during your fasting periods.
- Herbal tea: Unsweetened, flavored herbal tea is another zero-calorie drink that can replace alcohol, additionally providing many health benefits.
- Sparkling water: It is a refreshing drink and is one of the best alternatives to alcohol. If you crave carbonation, you can opt for unsweetened sparkling water.
The Final Words – Does Vodka or Gin Break an Intermittent Fast?
To sum up, vodka, gin, or any other clear spirits can break your intermittent fasting if consumed excessively. Since alcohol is calorie dense, it can be destructive to your fasting benefits and can impact fat oxidation, insulin sensitivity, and autophagy negatively.
Still, if you wish to include alcohol in your fasting regime, do it with moderation and utmost caution. However, choosing other calorie-free beverages as alternatives over alcohol to support your fasting objectives is always recommended. In the end, it is your body, and you should understand its requirements and adjust your lifestyle to achieve optimal results.
For more beverages while fasting check out What can you drink while intermittent fasting?