When trying to lose weight, prevent illness, or simply exercise control over their eating habits, people often turn to various diets and trendy new lifestyle habits to achieve their goals. Some of these are more effective than others, of course, but some have been around for quite a while and are backed by the wisdom of the ages. Intermittent fasting is one such technique; it involves setting aside part of your day or certain days of the week to avoid foods and only allowing yourself to eat for a specific period of time. Many people around the world use intermittent fasting, but the question of what exactly breaks a fast – in other words, what foods, drinks, and supplements constitute “cheating” – is still a point of some debate. For example, do BCAAs and the fitness supplements that contain them break intermittent fasting? To find out, keep reading as the people at aminoVITAL® discuss this topic.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
It may not be an entirely new practice, but intermittent fasting has recently become a worldwide dietary trend intended to help people lose weight and improve their overall health. This practice can take many forms; in fact, part of what makes intermittent fasting such an attractive option is that it offers a very flexible tool for taking control of one’s diet. The rules are straightforward and easy to follow, and they can be applied in whatever way best suits your lifestyle. Below, you’ll find some of the most common varieties of intermittent fasting:
Perhaps the most popular intermittent fasting regimen is the 16/8 routine. The name of this type of fasting comes from the simple fact that a person on this diet can only eat during an 8-hour window each day and must fast for the other 16 hours. This method of intermittent fasting is widely used because of its simplicity and sustainability, and it can be observed every day or only a few days a week, as needed.
The 5:2 Diet
Another very popular form of intermittent fasting, the 5:2 diet involves eating normally 5 days a week and restricting your calorie intake the other days. Most people on this diet (which is also known as the Fast Diet) cut down to 500-600 calories on their fasting days, which can involve one medium-sized meal or two small meals – whichever works for you.
The Eat-Stop-Eat method of intermittent fasting is essentially a more advanced form of the 5:2 diet. Rather than choosing two days to restrict your calories and eat small meals, you choose two 24-hour periods during the week and stop eating entirely for those periods. This often involves avoiding foods from dinner one day to dinner the next, though you can practice this method however you want. If a full 24-hour fast seems too tough, try starting smaller; a 16 hour fast might be a good place to start.
Breaking an Intermittent Fast
There are two main schools of thought regarding what breaks a fast: that eating any nutrients or calories breaks the fast, or that very small amounts of calories and nutrients are still acceptable, even while fasting.
A strict interpretation of intermittent fasting says that you should only be taking in water during your fasting window. That’s because any amount of calories, carbs, fats, or proteins can interfere with the bodily processes that fasting triggers, namely ketosis (which increases the rate at which the body burns fat) and autophagy (which helps rid your body of unwanted detritus, like excess cells and proteins).
However, there are many fasting experts who say that consuming extremely low-calorie liquids, such as coffee, tea, bone broth, or certain supplements, would have such a small impact on the body during fasting that there is little reason to avoid them. For those engaged in extended fasting, these foods and drinks could even provide some much-needed electrolytes or healthy fats, and coffee’s appetite-suppressing effects can make it easier to stick to your fast as well.
Do BCAA Supplements Break Intermittent Fasting?
Under a more technical interpretation of intermittent fasting, any supplement that has even a single calorie – such as BCAA supplements from aminoVITAL® – would technically break your fast, even if its effects would only be minor. However, there are many people who engage in this type of fasting successfully while still enjoying a daily cup of coffee or sipping on the occasional mug of bone broth.
Whether BCAAs specifically interfere with the effects of fasting is a bit less clear, though. Some research has suggested that BCAAs may have an impact on ketosis, while other amino acids, such as glutamine, may interfere with the process of autophagy. However, there is little clear indication regarding how much of these compounds must be consumed to cause a significant issue, and amino acid supplements from aminoVITAL® contain very few calories and only a single gram of carbs. It’s entirely possible that there is virtually no negative effect when taking BCAAs while fasting, and even if there are, consuming them after a fast has been broken is certainly acceptable.
Top-Quality Amino Acid Supplements Available from aminoVITAL®
Finding ways to improve your athletic performance can be tough under normal circumstances, but incorporating those methods into a period of intermittent fasting can be even harder. Although BCAAs might have an impact on the effects of a fast, they make for lean, efficient fitness supplements between fasting periods, improving gains and speeding up recovery times for athletes and casual gym-goers everywhere. To find out more about amino acid supplements and what they can do for you, visit aminoVITAL® online or call (888) 264-6673 today.