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Do Electrolytes Break a Fast? Rules Explained
Intermittent Fasting

Do Electrolytes Break a Fast? Rules Explained

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on 2022 August 24
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5 min

Success with intermittent fasting requires adherence to several rules. Most surround what will and won’t break a fast. As fasting is by no means easy, many people search for practical solutions to make the experience more comfortable. In this article, we’re looking at electrolytes while fasting.

Do electrolytes break a fast
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If you’re familiar with electrolytes, you will know that they are necessary for countless functions in the human body. We need these essential minerals to survive. Without enough electrolytes, our usual processes become impaired, causing multiple side effects.

Now, you’re practicing intermittent fasting, and it’s been drilled into you that you cannot ingest anything other than water in the fasting period. Depending on how you look at it, that is not entirely true. Electrolytes are essential and may warrant a place in your fasting diet.

Keep reading as we bring you everything you need to know about taking electrolytes.

Do Electrolytes Break a Fast?

Pure electrolytes do not break a fast. They do not contain calories or macronutrients to cause an insulin response. However, many electrolyte supplements contain calories and ingredients that can break a fast, such as added sugar. Sugar increases your calorie intake and causes insulin levels to rise. It interrupts the fat-burning process and hinders your results.

You must choose electrolyte supplementation wisely. Electrolytes are incredibly important and even more so when you’re fasting. Ordinarily, you can get enough electrolytes from your diet, but fasting for extended periods means losing your usual electrolyte intake.

You naturally lose more electrolytes during a fast, too. When your insulin levels are low, your kidneys excrete more sodium through your urine. Your electrolyte levels drop, and the imbalance causes unpleasant symptoms like irregular heartbeat, dizziness, and muscle cramps.

If you can keep your electrolyte levels in check, especially sodium, you can enjoy a more comfortable fast.

What Are Electrolytes?

Electrolytes are electrically charged minerals responsible for the upkeep of almost all bodily processes. They maintain fluid balance, ensure proper hydration, balance blood pressure, and support nerve and muscle function. The main electrolytes are sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, and phosphate.

These naturally occurring compounds are present in your blood, sweat, and urine. You can get electrolytes from lots of foods and drinks. People often use electrolyte supplements to increase their intake and to replenish lost electrolytes quickly.

How to Get Electrolytes While Fasting? 5 Easy Ways

In your ordinary diet, you can get electrolytes from your food. Of course, when fasting, you’re no longer accessing these important minerals. So, to get electrolytes when fasting, you must ensure you get plenty of electrolytes from your diet in the feeding window.

In the fasting window, you can get sodium and other electrolytes from sources other than food that will not interrupt your fasted state. Let’s look at some home remedies you can try to prevent an electrolyte deficiency.

  • Drink water with a pinch of sea salt.
  • Drink water with a dash of Himalayan pink salt.
  • Add citrus fruit to your water, such as lemon and lime, or add a few drops of fresh orange juice.
  • Sip on homemade bone broth.
  • Take an electrolyte supplement.

Electrolyte supplements are ideal for intermittent fasting. They quickly replenish electrolytes and prevent severe electrolyte disturbances. Supplementation can also help mitigate symptoms of keto flu, such as muscle spasms, leg cramps, low energy, foggy brain, and neurological symptoms.

Shopping wisely for fasting electrolytes and other intermittent fasting supplements is essential. Many electrolyte powders and sports drinks have high amounts of sugar and artificial ingredients that raise your blood sugar and break a fast. It is critical to avoid an electrolyte imbalance, but you don’t want to break your weight loss progress.

How to Get Potassium While Fasting?

Potassium maintains fluid balance in all cells. It supports healthy blood pressure and aids muscle contraction. Low potassium levels, known as hypokalemia, are a common electrolyte disturbance that can cause high blood pressure, weaker bones, and an increased risk of kidney stones.

To maintain potassium levels, ensure you eat plenty of potassium-rich foods in the feeding window. Great examples are beans, lentils, sweet potatoes, bananas, and coconut water. If you’re following the keto diet or other low-carb diets, avocado, Brussels sprouts, spinach, and Swiss chard are good choices.

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In the hours when you don’t eat, you can sip on bone broth. Chicken bone broth, in particular, is high in potassium. It’s best to make your own broth from scratch, as many store-bought products are high in calories, sugar, and salt.

How to Make Electrolyte Water for Fasting? Easy Recipe to Try

As said before, electrolyte water is electrolyte-enhanced drinking water. It replenishes your body with fluids and electrolytes, ensuring proper hydration. Electrolyte water has many benefits, from improving exercise performance to rehydrating you when you’re sick.

You can buy pre-made electrolyte water and sports drinks from the store or make your own at home. That way, you can keep a close eye on the ingredients and eliminate added sugar, artificial flavors, and colors.

Try this simple recipe at home:

  • 1/4 teaspoon of pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/4 cup of squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of squeezed lime juice
  • 1 cup of coconut water (unsweetened)
  • 2 cups of fresh, cold water

FAQs

Does salt break a fast?

Unprocessed sea salt will not break a fast. Sea salt does not contain calories or macronutrients capable of triggering an insulin response. It has zero carbs, protein, and fat. In the fasting period, you can add a dash of salt to your water to boost your sodium intake.

Does Gatorade Zero break a fast?

Gatorade Zero is a sports drink containing essential electrolytes to promote hydration. It has zero sugar, but it does contain a low number of calories. While this technically does break a fast, some people continue to drink low-calorie beverages to replenish lost electrolytes from fasting.

Does citric acid break a fast?

Citric acid contains a small number of calories; therefore, it does technically break a fast. However, many people enjoy a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice in their glass of water while practicing intermittent fasting. Citric acid is an organic compound found naturally in citrus fruits.

Can you drink Propel while fasting?

Propel is an electrolyte-water beverage with zero calories. It should not break your fast because it doesn’t contain ingredients or calories that may trigger an insulin response. You can drink Propel water to replenish water and electrolytes lost through sweat and urine.

A Word From Our Nutritionist

Electrolytes are minerals that produce electrically charged ions. They primarily support fluid balance, which affects everything from muscle and nerve function to blood flow and mood. Humans need electrolytes to feel well and, ultimately, to survive. They become even more vital when practicing intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting is a healthy lifestyle choice with lots of health benefits. It can help you lose weight, burn stubborn body fat, balance blood sugar, and improve insulin sensitivity. It also causes a process called autophagy, where the body essentially cleans out damaged cells.

You can get a sufficient dose of electrolytes from eating plenty of whole foods containing electrolytes and vitamins that keep your overall health and immune system strong. During your fast, you can supplement water with sea salt and citrus juices to get your intake.

Supplementation may be necessary if that’s still not enough and your electrolytes fall off balance. Sodium supplementation is especially important because you lose sodium considerably through your urine when insulin levels in the body drop.

Check with your doctor before taking any fasting supplements and make them aware if you are salt sensitive or have any health conditions.

Conclusion

Will taking electrolytes break your fast?

It’s a good question. Thankfully, electrolytes will not break a fast or ruin your weight loss progress. If you are not getting adequate electrolytes in your general diet, you may need to try electrolyte supplementation. Just be sure to check the label.

When you’re feeling sluggish while intermittent fasting, chances are you’re low on electrolytes! Intermittent fasting and electrolytes make a perfect match. With sufficient intake, you can continue your fasting journey comfortably and move closer to your ideal body weight.

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed byRosmy Barrios, MD
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