In this episode, Dr. Scott and Tommy discuss what really breaks a fast. There is much discussion about what things are allowed and not allowed during your fasting window. We speak anecdotally for the majority of the episode and have some reference points where there is conflicting research. We attempt to keep it simple and define some terminology that creates confusion. The insulin friendly lifestyle has so many health benefits. Let's try to keep it simple and find what works for you! Thanks so much for joining us on this journey and stay tuned for Episode 54. It will be the launch pad into the new year and you do not want to miss it!
Fasting For Life Ep. 53
[00:00:01] Hello, I'm Dr. Scott Watier, and I'm Tommy Welling, and you're listening to the Fasting for Life podcast, and this podcast is about using fasting as a tool to regain your health, achieve ultimate wellness and live the life you truly deserve.
[00:00:15] Each episode is a short conversation on a single topic with immediate, actionable steps. We cover everything from fat loss on health and wellness to the science of lifestyle design.
[00:00:25] We started fasting for life because of how fasting has transformed our lives, and we hope to share the tools that we have learned along the way.
[00:00:40] Hey, everyone, welcome to the Fasting for Life podcast. My name is Dr. Scott Watier. I am here, as always, with my good friend and colleague, Tommy Welling. Good afternoon to you, sir. Hey, Scott. How are you doing? Fantastic. We are rocking and rolling into the Christmas holiday here in the States and it's been fast and furious, pun intended. And I cannot wait to talk about one of the biggest questions that we get. And we figured as we ramp up for twenty, twenty one and you and I have spent a lot of time diving in and planning for what, twenty, twenty one looks like. What breaks the fast, because we're coming up on a year here. So this is the most common question we get. So what better way to do a reset and start the season and prep for the New Year by then talking about one of the most foundational questions and arguments that really exists in the fast world?
[00:01:31] Yeah, I mean, this is this is at the core when you first get started. It's one of those things where you just kind of keep asking and just keep looking for those resources to better define it, kind of hone in. What what can I have? What can I do? What breaks the fast? And there's there's a lot of a lot of discussion points out there, I think. Yeah.
[00:01:52] And some of them are backed and not backed by experiences and research and anecdote and all those different types of things. So today we want to speak purely from the perspective of trying to keep it simple and also setting some basic boundaries and defining some terms that you might hear and some things that might add to the confusion of what it is that breaks the fast. So one of the first things that we will get asked is what about adding citrus fruit or lemon or lime to my water? And the simple answer to that is no. You can add citrus fruit, lemon and lime to your water and add that throughout the entire day and you will be fine. You will not be breaking your fast. And sometimes just that little bit of flavor will be enough to kind of help you push through those little difficult points.
[00:02:45] Yeah, and that's that's a really nice thing because, you know, especially when you first start getting started with fasting, you notice that you're drinking a lot more water. You start to clear out some of the glycogen that's going to drain some of the water.
[00:02:59] You're going to have the diuretic effect. So you're going to notice yourself drinking a little bit more. But also just the fact that since you're not eating, you kind of think about the drinking a little bit more, too. So anything that you can do to naturally kind of make that a little bit more interesting know like just just the natural slices of lemon, lime, orange in there.
[00:03:21] That's really good. Don't eat the orange, but enjoy the flavor that comes along with it.
[00:03:28] So real basic water, black coffee. We'll talk about Cremer in a second green tea, which benefits of having the caffeine of coffee and green tea, which can actually increase the benefit of the fast. We've got our really those are the immediate safe ones that are pretty much on top of the lemon, the lime water that everyone can agree on. Right. So, yeah. Anything that falls in those categories, you're good to go. Now, one of the ones two things, one I just mentioned regards to coffee. And then the second one I don't want to talk about in a second, which is the carbonated sparkling waters and drinks when it comes to coffee in the creamer. There's some terms out that you might hear when it comes to staying under a certain calorie amount will put you in the category of a clean, fast versus very fast or just setting a rule like as long as you stay under 50 calories, you'll remain in the fasted state. I mean, for me, it's OK, you're fasting or not fasting, you're trying to make this a lifestyle or something that you can do habitually so you can get the long term effects right.
[00:04:43] Which most people is initially for weight loss. Right. So when we're looking at these different metrics, if you, you know, took in maltodextrin in the form of a artificially sweetened drinks, then that is going to spike your insulin. Did you chew the maltodextrin? No, so we can't really go on the lines of if you chew it, then it breaks a fast much like the whole sugar free gum argument. So when it comes to coffee and land, the plane here, when it comes to coffee and creamer, you know, for me. A little bit like two tablespoons, which is the twenty five calories per of the so delicious coconut milk creamer in my coffee in the morning just starts my day and I can enjoy the rest of the day with that being the starting point. Right. But some people out there would say that is now because it's under 100 calories and it would be a dirty fast because technically I'm taking in some cream. I'd be spiking my insulin. And to that I'm going to say, just pick your poison, man. Just whatever works for you. And however you can kind of kind of get the momentum going.
[00:06:00] Yeah, that coffee is a big deal. I mean, you know, many of us, especially in the West, but all over the world, start our day off with with a cup or two or three of of coffee. Right. So, you know what what goes into it can be at the core of getting our day going and our long term habits. So, you know, if if a tablespoon of cream or two kind of gets your sanity and gets your day going and you feel like yourself and you're able to stick with the rest of the day better because you had that, then I think that the long term that's going to be a win. On the flip side, if if you're very used to, you know, trying to make the coffee just taste very different from how it naturally tastes, and then you start adding to the texture and the flavor profile, and then you start adding in more calories to it and it can get sweeter. And then that has a larger insulin spike. Then you're probably on a slippery slope there, right?
[00:07:00] Yeah, it's so it just comes down to this. This this thought process of what's the end goal, you know, is it sustainable for you, the individual? And there are some guidelines out there like what you said, 50 cars and under. You're probably not going to to break your fast. But could you if like I said, if that was a sweetened sugary maltodextrin laden drink? Yeah, you could. Thirty five calories of creamer has not broken my fast and excuse me. Twenty five or fifty has not either, because I've done the testing pre and post in terms of my blood sugar numbers. So depending on how specific you want to be, your how loose you want to be, the most important thing really that we try to preach is setting the plan. So knowing the basic parameters, if we go over here, but then setting the plan for what, the day, the week, the month is like. And if you've got ten or 12 of these little points every day where you make a concession on creamer and then you make a concession on a handful of almonds and you make a concession on some bone broth, and then you make a concession on insert X, Y and Z right then. Now you're not really I mean, what's the point? Right.
[00:08:14] Yeah. At a certain point you're just snacking and finding opportunities to have things that that taste good or they they're fun to ingest. Right. Like at a certain point, you're not you're not fasting anymore. And I identified a few of those spots, like the creamer for myself, where that became a slippage point for me, even months into the process that I realized when I was when I was just having black coffee in the morning that there was no there was no question about am I still fasting at this point? Am I sticking to my window, that kind of question. But at a certain point, you you put enough flavorings or milk or cream in your coffee and then it can lead you down the path of, well, I kind of just already broke my fast.
[00:09:03] So I guess I'm not fasting when when lunch or when dinner comes around or for me with the kids working from home, it'll be like, all right, I made them lunch. Well, they didn't finish that. So I'll just grab that piece right. For. Making dinner, right, I'm not eating dinner that night, I'm cooking, it's like, all right, well, I'll just taste that. We call that the slippage points, right? So when you get down that, I mean, you're not really sticking to the fast if you're on a longer, fast and you're trying to achieve something you haven't achieved before, really going in with a clear idea of what that outcome and why you're doing it will be helpful. So the coffee thing is, it's not really for us. It's not based on the calorie or the amount. It's it's in the bigger picture. Are we worrying about a papercut in a house fire? So. To transition from coffee into some of the carbonated beverages, you know, you've got your diet sodas, you have all these flavored drinks like the liquid or the Lucroy. Not sure how to pronounce it like Assadi or. I don't know. It's one of them. Right. Does that technically break your fast in some forms out there? You'll see people say that anything that has the natural flavors, even though it's zero calories, will break your fast.
[00:10:19] Well, natural flavors aren't one of the chemicals like the sugar alcohols. Right. Like the submittal little xylitol that will usually bring with it some type of glucose or insulin spike. And then there's the diet sodas that have the aspartame and the sucralose, which depending on how the study was framed and what it was actually processed with, sometimes they do and sometimes they don't. So technically, like a Diet Coke, it's not going to break your fast. Can I drink more than one Diet Coke in a year? No, I can't like I don't like that chemically taste to it, but it's not going to break it. LeCroy Not going to break it. Zero calorie, but those other additional additive chemicals and sugars and maltodextrin, they will break it. So you just have to look at the label and find something that works for you. We had we did a whole conversation, one of our challenges about those water additives like the Mehos. Right. And what's in there that actually will cause your blood sugar to spike.
[00:11:26] Well, you know, when we talk about artificially sweetened drinks, just thinking back for me, once I started fasting, it became much more enjoyable to have something like Waterloo is my favorite, like sparkling water. I usually have one on my desk and I usually have one or two in a day. You know, it's just something really interesting to drink. Like it's more interesting than water. I'll have a hundred plus ounces of water, but you don't have a can or two of those. But when when I wasn't fasting. So looking back a few years, I used to have the I used to be the get the diet like diet. Dr. Pepper was was the big one for me. And I don't know how many I drank in my lifetime. But what I what I realized is, I mean, they would actually make me crave something salty and crunchy and and even something more sweet. They have a they have a big dopamine spike that goes along with them. I mean, they're they're hitting the brain in a very potent way.
[00:12:27] So those are those can be a really slippery slope. And even though you're not taking in any calories and they might not technically be breaking your fast, they would make me crave other things.
[00:12:37] So those would definitely be danger points if I was having them while fasting and anecdotal anecdotally speaking, for the individual, for me, we get this question, too. And I think we've we've gone over some of these things when it comes into the quantities that we've done in the past. And when it comes to gum, you know, sugar free gum, technically, if it doesn't have any of those chemicals that will spike insulin or blood sugar, those sweeteners in the case and all those different things that can be added in, then you're fine. But chewing gum for me makes me way hungrier. Yeah, it makes me ravenous. So if I like phase physiologically, whatever it is, we're not, you know. We're speaking just anecdotally here from the individual experience for me, if I chew gum, regardless of who breaks the fast or not, it's going to make me more hungry. So taking it from the perspective of what's the end goal again, what's your plan? And is there something that's sustainable while you're getting results is really where we should be looking at it from?
[00:13:42] Yeah, the the the goal here would be not to remind yourself that you're not eating. You know, it's not to get your get your stomach going and your brain turning in and get you thinking about food all the time, especially during during the longer fast.
[00:13:57] But, you know, even during a twenty two or twenty four hour fast, you know, there's some spots in there where you're going to feel hungry. So find those little trigger points that make that worse and and start eliminating those and you'll have a much easier time.
[00:14:14] And one of the things we hear, too, is the Cairo coffee. Well, Cairo coffee is very high calorie. So I would I would avoid that. The Kremer's where we kind of went into and, you know, there's something that I learned recently about herbal teas, which some of the high end herbal teas actually have, like little dried fruit pieces in them that that are dried fruit.
[00:14:38] If you pick up like a bag of dried cranberries at the grocery store, you'll see it has like, I don't know, 70 grams added sugar to it. All right. So just something to be aware of. Not a lot of people. I've haven't seen a lot of these high end herbal teas, but just something to watch. If you do drink tea. Green tea is typically a safe one. And it's really, again, just figuring out what fits into your day to day and what you can stick with wires, which is why we always go back to the consistency is greater than the perfection.
[00:15:08] Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, even on some of those teas, look at the box, because some of them, they've already they've already pulled the sugars out. So some of them are zero calorie and and some of them are very low. So if they're still zero calories, then then you'll be fine.
[00:15:23] Yep, yep, so, again, if you go start getting on the Google machine and read it and Kaura and all these other different forms or people post questions and whatnot, you can read different viewpoints on both sides of the coin with the majority of this stuff. For us, it's not so much about the the. You know, when it comes to this stuff, comparing the details of the research articles, right, it's looking looking at, again, sustainability, you know, you and I are telling our story resonates. I feel like because we came from the struggle bus like we were year after year after year, not getting the results until we started incorporating fasting. And really looking at it from the from for me, when you show me what you had done and then I started reading the books and whatnot, it was the simplest, most sustainable thing for me. It gave me more time. It gave me more energy. It's freed up time in my day. It simplified my day. So sometimes we like to make things more complicated than they need be. And if we are sitting here slicing hairs, splitting hairs excuse me, over what the actual natural flavors are in the Lucroy, I'm going to go with do what works for you and everyone else can do. It works for them. Right. If they want to be that strict and not and only have the blue container. Lucroy A shout out to the crowd, by the way. Then that's fine, because that's the plain one, but I know I know there's a lot of people out there that have gotten great results by following the basic guidelines and figuring out what fits them.
[00:17:05] Yeah, I think that's that's a powerful thing that you said to and not getting caught up in the perfection. Sometimes it's easy to hide behind that perfection, especially when we're coming from the realm of calorie tracking and macros and those things where you don't really have much wiggle room because you kind of get used to the fact that the results don't come or that they're not sustainable unless you're kind of achieving that that perfect level. And even then you might be seeing results. So, you know, kind of dropping some of that perfection facade as we as we get into fasting and as you get more comfortable with it, I think is a natural part of the process because you realize how effective it is and you don't necessarily have to split those hairs, but at the same time, finding those sustainable boundaries that work for you, setting the expectations and then being clear about them so that you don't find yourself asking a question like, did I already break my fast? You know, as I was trying to do a forty eight hour fast here, did I already break it? Once you start asking yourself that question, you're pretty much you've kind of lost the battle at that point because it's easy to just stop, fully break the fast and then you have to start back over which which is OK. But if we can avoid that from the beginning, then that's that's better.
[00:18:24] So what are some things here? So in true fasting for life fashion, I want to make sure that we we kind of round out the conversation, which probably was a little bit gray, which by design, it's not black and white, it's more of a gray area. Now, if you go ahead and take a bite your kid's hamburger, then, yeah, that's black and white. But we we're talking about these zero calorie things and clean fasting versus dirty fasting and all of those different types of stuff. Don't you really don't eat? And there's a couple of tips and tricks that that that we like, that if we're going by the hard core fasting rules would break a fast. But we're going to give you some first off things you can do to help you if you're new to the game would be drink coffee and tea, stay super hydrated. The carbonated zero calorie water is that we just talked about. Let's make sure there's no artificial sweeteners or additives or all that kind of stuff in them. Those meals can have some those water enhancers can have some additional stuff that might break it and really just stay busy. Like that's the simplicity of fasting in the beginning. Stay hydrated, drink coffee and tea if you need to, and then all the other stuff in regards to chewing of the gum and and whatnot. I mean, figure it out and figure out what works for you. But tell me your life back in terms of getting through the longer, fast or the hard sticking points for me is when the stress is high is simply a pickle spear. Right. And what's that? Three calories. Five calories?
[00:19:52] Yeah, something like that. It's basically just a small piece of cucumber with with some vinegar. So, yeah, it's, it's, it's just a few calories if any. And but I'll only do that like one one at a time here.
[00:20:08] So you know, we're talking about, you know, talking about a really tough sticking point that you don't always need, but especially on my first couple of seven day fast and then finding that that spot where I was just having some some nausea, it was like just this just really empty stomach. And that was probably near the kitchen while somebody else was cooking, too, and had this phase. And but, you know, that helped me push through and keep going and make it to the end of the fast that I plan with, with only ingesting a couple of calories. So. So was it perfect? No, maybe not. But I bet I still got ninety nine point nine percent of the the effectiveness and and the fat burning that I was looking for and and just just proving that I could do it. And then the next time I did it, it made me want to do it without a pickle spear a little bit more. So sometimes I did and and a couple of times I didn't. But it's definitely helped on some some tougher spots. Yeah, I'll say this too.
[00:21:10] It gets easier if you're new to fasting. It gets easier. And just think of it in this way. It's either fasting is when you're not eating and feeding is when you're eating right. Like super simple. And the benefit is that you give your body the opportunity to allow the insulin to come down and switch over from sugar to fat burning. So simply stated, fasting is in your eating feeling is when you're not eating. Stay busy, work on your sleep, try to manage your stress. These are all things that are included. But when it comes to the conversation of what truly breaks a fast the take home message from us is figure out what works for you within reason. And if you're not getting results, then it's probably time to make a change or. Have an honest look in the mirror of what's going on, is there those slippage points in there? And honestly, if we can help in any way. Shoot us a message at info at the fasting for life dotcom. You can go to the website and grab the Fast Start guide, which is a one page PDF on how to put one meal a day fasting into your day to day life. And then there's also a mini master class video series that comes with that. If you have questions, you need some help. Tommy, that can reach out to us would be more than happy to respond. And as we kind of wrap up the incredibly fun and crazy year of twenty twenty, I'm really it's going to be cool to kind of go back and continue to have these conversations and see how they evolve. And one of the best places to start, we agreed, was with what breaks the fast. So anything else add there sir. If not, we'll call it an episode and we'll keep rocking and rolling.
[00:22:52] Yeah, I know. I think it's great. I think it's a great place to start and to to wrap up the year too. So thank you. Thanks for your talk.
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