There’s no doubt that fasting can provide a person with several health benefits, from weight loss to improved sugar level, it’s a challenging but also very rewarding practice that involves abstaining from eating any food for a certain amount of time, either for physical reasons or as part of a spiritual or religious belief.
However, while the rules of fasting are very clear when it comes to food, what isn’t always as clear is how much you can drink, and more specifically, what you can drink throughout a fasting period, so it’s always worth doing some research beforehand to ensure you’re not breaking your fast, especially if you’ve already kept up a good routine of not eating for several hours.
When it comes to protein shakes, things can become a little more complicated, but for many people, they are an essential part of their diet that they always need by their side, especially during a workout.
With that being said, let’s take a look at if you can drink protein shakes while fasting, and how you would go about doing so.
Is A Person Allowed To Drink During A Fasting Period?
While this does depend on the fasting plan that you are following, the general rule that applies to the majority of them is that a person fasting is only allowed to drink any fluids that are entirely calorie-free, meaning sugary soft drinks, alcohol, fruit juice, and dairy products are all out of the equation.
On the other hand, water, black coffee, and tea that don’t contain any added sugar or milk are perfectly fine to drink while fasting.
Keep in mind that this can be different depending on the fasting plan, for example, some plans will advise followers to consume a specific amount of unsweetened almond milk for anyone who uses milk regularly in their diet since it is an alternative that contains far fewer overall calories and carbohydrates.
Where Does This Leave Protein Shakes?
No matter which type of fasting plan you are following, a protein shake will not be acceptable to drink during the fasting window, specifically because the protein powder itself will contain calories, and in some cases, extra sugars and carbs too.
Even if you don’t add in any milk and simply use water as your mixer, this still won’t be enough to get rid of the calories entirely.
To put this into perspective, 30 grams of protein will already contain well over 150 calories on its own, so while it might seem like a safe option initially if you choose a variant or flavor that doesn’t contain any sugar or carbs, it’s still going to break a fasting routine.
Can You Drink A Protein Shake During The Eating Window?
As we have explained above, drinking a protein shake during the fasting window is not allowed because you’re going to be consuming too many calories, but what about during the eating window?
The answer is, yes, during this period, which usually lasts between 6-8 hours at the very end of the day, a person will be able to enjoy a protein shake without having to worry about breaking their fasting plan.
Because of this, if you have a habit of consuming protein shakes during, or just after a workout, it can be better to either move your workout into the eating window portion of the day or make it so that you are entering the eating window once the workout ends.
Should You Include Protein Shakes In A Fasting Diet?
Since you will only have a certain amount of time to eat when following an intermittent fasting routine, this means you can’t be too picky with what you eat and will usually need to plan out what meals you’re going to snack on before you reach the eating window, or even prepare a few of these meals beforehand so that you can tuck in as soon as the time arrives.
Protein shakes are especially great additions to include when organizing your food and drink for the eating window because they provide you with essential nutrients and plenty of protein without ramping up the calorie count too high.
A lot of people will practice fasting in order to cut down some weight and to gain better control of their calorie and sugar levels, and since you’re probably going to be getting most of the carbs and calories you need from your meals, a protein shake is a great all-in-one drink that can provide you with an extra dose of protein, especially if you mix it with milk.
Always keep in mind that replacing carbs and fats with proteins is one of the most effective ways to lose weight, so if you are fasting in order to slim down physically, then protein shakes are a great way to facilitate this.
How Much Protein Should You Consume From A Shake?
Fasting is associated with a loss of protein in the muscles because of the lack of calories being consumed in the day, so it’s important to know how much you should ideally be consuming when the eating window arrives.
The general rule of thumb that has been put forward by many health and dietary experts is that a person needs at least 0.36 grams of protein for each pound of body weight, so keep this in mind when measuring out your protein powder.
Remember that milk will add extra protein into the shake, so if you want to land on the correct amount exactly without any excess, it can be better to use water as your mixer and don’t forget that the majority of your protein will most probably come from meals, so a protein shake should just be used to give you an extra boost to reach your desired intake for the day.
While you won’t be able to drink protein shakes during the actual fasting window, due to their calorie content and potentially added sugars and sweeteners, you will still be able to enjoy them as soon as you enter the eating window, just make sure not to rely on them completely for your protein intake, instead, use them as a healthy supplement to your meals.
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