Intermittent fasting is the practice of not eating for periods of time, then resuming a normal eating pattern. This method hails back to our ancestors who could eat only when food was available and now is a good way to lose weight, according to Brad Pilon, author of "Eat Stop Eat." The theory behind intermittent fasting is that your body stores fat for later use, allowing you to skip meals for up to 24 hours, sometimes longer. Many people fast for religious reasons as well. Some no- or low-calorie drinks are recommended for a fast. Always talk with your doctor before beginning a fast to be sure it is safe for you.
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Coffee & Tea
Pilon recommends drinking tea while fasting because it contains few calories and won't derail your weight loss. This means you cannot add sugar, cream or milk to your tea; drink it plain. Pilon's plan does allow artificial sweeteners if you prefer your tea sweetened. Both hot and cold tea are acceptable.
You also can drink coffee during intermittent fasting, but it must be black -- no sugar, milk or cream, which contain calories. Use artificial sweeteners for flavor if you like. Avoid the coffee drinks in coffee shops, because most contain some type of syrup, milk product or sugary add-in.
Fasting might be healthy for some people, but avoiding water for extended periods of time can be dangerous. Your body needs water to stay hydrated, and skipping it for too long could result in health problems, including brain swelling, heat stroke, seizures, kidney failure and even death. Dr. Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ International recommends adding lemon juice and maple syrup to your water for a dose of energy and flavor. You also can boil vegetables in water, remove them and then drink what is left. This mixture contains some nutrients and gives your water some flavor.
Juice is not calorie-free and would not fit in with Pilon's intermittent fasting program. However, for longer fasts, you will need some nutrients to keep your strength up, according to Campus Crusade for Christ International. You must choose 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice, the best options in terms of nutrition. They contain vitamins A and C, potassium and iron and offer your body energy to get through your fast. They also provide you something to put in your mouth, motivating you to complete your fast.
Before practicing an intermittent fasting regimen, talk with your doctor. She can help you create a diet plan that will allow you to fast while ensuring that you receive the nutrition you need to maintain good health.