Clean and dirty fasting are terms that refer to what breaks a fast. Some experts promote water-only intake during your fast while others claim that low-calorie drinks, stevia, MCT oil, and even a little bit of coffee creamer are okay.
💚 What is clean fasting?
Clean fasting is when you follow an intermittent fasting protocol and ingest only water or non-caloric beverages like tap water, mineral water, sparkling water, black coffee, and black tea. Sometimes, you’ll find information that says clean fasting must be calorie free. But beverages like black coffee still contain five calories per cup. However, that few calories are negligible.
So, to sum it up: avoid anything that spikes your insulin. Insulin can be triggered by anything that has calories or tastes sweet, or generally by food. This means that artificial sweeteners are a no go, as well as flavoured teas. You can only drink water, unsweetened plain tea, or black coffee.
When should I clean fast?
- If you're fasting for gut rest, you may want to exclude everything but water;
- If you want to maximize the benefits of intermittent fasting.
It’s essential that you stay hydrated during a clean fast. Have lots of water – sparkling, mineral or distilled are all good. However, if you are clean fasting, steer clear of additives like lemon slices, fruits, and herbs. They can add flavor to your water, but they eliminate the purpose of a “clean fast”.
💙 What is dirty fasting?
Dirty fasting allows you to have small amounts of calories (generally under 50), that come from food and beverages. It can be a splash of milk or cream in your coffee, a sip of bone broth, or zero-calorie soda.
Aspartame is a common low-calorie artificial sweetener that is allowed in dirty fasts. The word “artificial” may raise some eyebrows, but aspartame doesn’t affect your insulin levels and blood glucose homeostasis, even if you’re diabetic.
When should I dirty fast?
Dirty fasting can help you deal with hunger and make the weight loss process more stable. It's not likely to interfere with your goals, but be sure to track your progress to analyze your results.
So what should I choose?
Depending on your goals, both types of fasting are fine.
The flavors and fat in dirty fasts may give you the satiety and satisfaction you need to stick with fasting. If the taste is “negligible” for you, and you’re not seeing the results you want, it can be worth trying a clean fast.
Ultimately, you should choose whatever way works best for you – this can be a matter of trial and error, personal choice, progress and goals!
Dirty fasting helps you maintain control, but keeping your fasting clean will help you reach your goals faster. Choose what suits you best or combine both. 😊